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Rovers pass the College exam; Victory over Marine for Tranmere.

Byline: NICK HILTON

MARINE............. 1 TRANMERE ........ 2 TRANMERE fielded their strongest side of the summer so far and were rewarded with a first win in four pre-season outings at College Road.

Goals by Lucas Akins and Andy Robinson inside two minutes early in the first half put the visitors in command on a grey, chilly night in Crosby.

Rovers played some composed and measured football in the first half but were less dominant after the interval and non-league Marine pulled a goal back on 78 minutes through substitute Paul London.

Tranmere's starting line-up included eight players who figured in the first team last season together with first-year professionals Andy Coughlin and Max Power. David Raven, the former Liverpool and Carlisle defender who has been training with Rovers through the pre-season, played at centre-back.

Trialist David Buchanan, a full-back, was given a 45-minute run in the second half to follow his outing at Prestatyn last Saturday.

The home side might have sneaked ahead in the fourth minute when goalkeeper Coughlin scrambled out a close range shot from Neil Harvey. But the visitors quickly asserted their authority.

Centre-forward Akins started and finished the move that brought the 15th minute opener. He swept out a pass to Adam McGurk on the left, then climbed above the pack in the box to head the well flighted return cross into the net via the underside of the bar.

Two minutes later McGurk fired in another dangerous ball from the left and Robinson forced his way in front of goalkeeper Ryan McMahon to nod the ball home from close range.

Tranmere might have added a third on 27 minutes when Akins met a neat chip on the turn by midfielder Joss Labadie with a header that dropped just wide of the right hand post.

Marine, on the back foot for much of the first half, made a couple of dangerous breaks when Dave Roberts saw his shot deflected over and Henry put another effort just wide of the target.

Robinson was withdrawn after 40 minutes, as a precaution, after feeling a twinge in a thigh muscle. Trialist Buchanan was then introduced as a half-time substitute for Zoumana Bakayogo.

Coughlin produced a fine acrobatic save to keep out a well flighted chip shot from James Thomas after 62 minutes as Tranmere found themselves being forced to defend for longer periods in the second half. When the visitors broke they wasted some promising situations with a slack final ball.

Coughlin put his body behind a low shot from Thomas Moore that was heading for the bottom corner on 75 minutes.

But there was very little the young goalkeeper could do about keeping out a deft chip shot from London that curled into the top corner of the net 12 minutes from time.

Tranmere protected the single goal advantage without further alarms.

CAPTION(S):

PRE-SEASON TEST: Tranmere Defender David Brown attempts to cut out a cross
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jul 20, 2011
Words:487
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