The Non-League Football Paper - - FRONT PAGE - By DAVID RICHARD­SON

VERDICT: Tran­mere de­servedly took home the points to move into fifth while Wok­ing re­main in freefall, hav­ing won just once in their last 13 league games or twice in 19 across all com­pe­ti­tions

THEY made hard work out of it, but ten-man Tran­mere Rovers claimed a cru­cial vic­tory over sorry Wok­ing to get their pro­mo­tion hopes back on track.

This was the type of match that Rovers had been con­spir­ing to lose a few months ago yet in the face of ad­ver­sity, when cap­tain Steve McNulty suf­fered a nasty gash on his shin in the first minute and goalscorer Andy Cook was sent off with ten min­utes re­main­ing, they de­servedly held on.

Had it not been for Wok­ing’s goal­keeper Nathan Bax­ter, on loan from Chelsea, Tran­mere boss Micky Mel­lon would have had a much more re­lax­ing af­ter­noon.

“It’s a dif­fi­cult place to come,” he said. “We’ve had a hell of a lot of chances here and we’re dis­ap­pointed we haven’t made it more com­fort­able for our­selves.

“I think the best gauge of a missed chance is if who­ever did it puts their face in their hands – I think I did that about five times to­day!”

Wok­ing’s De­clan Ap­pau was for­tu­nate not to have seen red af­ter less than 60 sec­onds for his chal­lenge on McNulty, which Mel­lon could only agree with.

He added: “I’m not here to get peo­ple sent off. I love foot­ball, I love ev­ery­thing that foot­ball is about, but you have a re­spon­si­bil­ity to your team­mates and your op­po­si­tion that you can’t go mak­ing chal­lenges like that be­cause you can end peo­ple’s ca­reers.

“That’s how se­ri­ous that was. I could see his shin bone. It can’t be al­lowed to hap­pen.”

Ap­pau was only booked and that early sub­sti­tu­tion rocked the vis­i­tors as Wok­ing’s Fabio Saraiva had sev­eral early sights of goal.

His chance from close range in the 22nd minute, that the Tran­mere de­fence some­how man­aged to block, proved a turn­ing point.

Rovers’ Adam Bux­ton, who en­joyed a fine game at right­back, volleyed nar­rowly wide and then Cook had a header tipped over by the ex­cel­lent and re­silient Bax­ter.

Min­utes later, the 19-yearold could do lit­tle about Tran­mere’s opener, as the striker got his head on a corner, which landed at the feet of Con­nor Jen­nings in the six-yard box and, with his back to goal, he laid the ball off for Cook to slot home.

Bax­ter again de­nied a Cook header and then Nor­wood man­aged to poke wide when it looked eas­ier to score.

It should have been two for Cook and Tran­mere on the hour mark, but the Wok­ing goal­keeper pro­duced his best save from point-blank range.

Wok­ing sub Reece Gre­goCox, mak­ing his de­but fol­low­ing his re­lease from Queen’s Park Rangers, had the home side’s only shot on tar­get in the sec­ond half fol­low­ing Bax­ter’s dou­ble save from the im­pres­sive Nor­wood.

The re­sult should have been done and dusted by the time Cook was shown a sec­ond yel­low card for an in­nocu­ous trip. It prompted a late Wok­ing bom­bard­ment and An­thony Cook, drafted in on loan from Ebb­s­fleet to re­place the Peter­bor­ough-bound Joe Ward, struck the wood­work with a free-kick.

An­thony Lim­brick’s side have taken seven points from a pos­si­ble 39, and he ad­mit­ted that things aren’t go­ing their way at the mo­ment.

“The dif­fer­ence in the game was that they had a lit­tle bit more qual­ity in both boxes,” he said. “We’re get­ting into some of those po­si­tions, but the fi­nal cross or ball isn’t there at the mo­ment and we need to be more clin­i­cal.”

On Ap­pau’s chal­lenge, he added: “The ball was there to be won. It was quite high, their player went in high as well.

“I don’t think he meant to catch him, Dec is not that sort of lad.

“I’ll have to look at it again but I think it looked worse be­cause their player ended up get­ting in­jured from it.”

STAR MAN: Nathan Bax­ter (Wok­ing) ATT: 2,115 EN­TER­TAIN­MENT: ★★★★★ REF­EREE: Adrian Quelch 5/10

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