Late Tranmere winner sees Lincoln City fall to a third straight defeat

A late Adam Mekki goal saw Tranmere Rovers condemn ten man Lincoln City to their third successive defeat in a thrilling encounter at Prenton Park.

Bradley Wood was sent off for a handball which denied Jeff Hughes’ goalbound effort and James Norwood converted the resulting penalty to give Tranmere the lead. A George Maris header saw the Imps level almost instantly but Tranmere retook the lead in first half stoppage time through Jake Kirby.

Subsitute Robbie McDaid’s header saw City equalise again with 20 minutes remaining but three minutes from time Adam Mekki’s deflected shot found the back of the net to give Tranmere the three points.

The Imps' playoff hopes this season appear to be over after this defeat. Photo Credit: James Williams

The Imps’ playoff hopes this season appear to be over after this defeat. Photo: James Williams

Following last weekend’s disappointing home defeat to Kidderminster, Imps manager Chris Moyses demanded a response from his players and they responded with a performance full of determination and fight despite the result.

After a cagey opening 20 minutes, Tranmere created the game’s first real opportunity when Paul Farman couldn’t hold Jay Harris’ shot from 20 yards out but the Imps goalkeeper redeemed himself by smothering Gary Taylor Fletcher’s follow up.

On the half hour mark, Jeff Hughes’ neat interchange with striker James Norwood opened up the Lincoln City defence but his shot across the face of goal was inches wide of the right hand post.

However, the game really came to life on 37 minutes. Taylor Fletcher’s flick on sent Harris through on the Lincoln City goal. His shot was parried by Paul Farman but only to Hughes, whose volley was destined to hit the back of the net until Bradley Wood blocked the ball with his outstretched arm.

Referee, Adrian Holmes, showed no hesitation in pointing to the penalty spot and consequently sent Wood off. James Norwood stepped up to convert the penalty into the bottom left hand corner and give Tranmere the lead.

Knowing his side needed to win to keep their faint playoff chances alive, Imps manager Chris Moyses chose not to make changes to bolster his side defensively and instead continued playing two men up front.

And only four minutes later, he was rewarded for his bravery when the Imps equalised.

Terry Hawkridge was allowed time on the right hand side and his curling cross picked out an unmarked George Maris at the back post. The midfielder making his first start for City since he made his loan move from Barnsley in February, made no mistake arrowing a header back across goal and into the bottom right hand corner.

However, in first half stoppage time, Tranmere went back in front. Neat build up play on the edge of the box saw Harris release Hughes down the right hand side of the penalty area. His ball across the six yard box found Taylor Fletcher who touched the ball back to Kirby and he poked the ball into the back of the net.

The second half was an open affair as Tranmere looked to extend their lead while the Imps searched for an equaliser.

On 50 minutes, Gary Taylor Fletcher’s pull back found Jeff Hughes who was arriving late into the penalty area. With Paul Farman stranded, Hughes looked set to score but his shot was cleared off the line by City defender Chris Bush.

A minute later, James Norwood’s shot from the angle was parried by Farman into the danger area but Lee Beevers was on hand to block Kirby’s follow up.

With 54 minutes played, Lincoln City should have equalised. Once again, Terry Hawkridge was allowed time to deliver a cross from deep. Jack Muldoon flicked the cross goalwards with his head but the ball dropped just wide of the left hand post, much to the relief of Tranmere goalkeeper Scott Davies.

Just before the hour mark, it was Davies who started a quick Tranmere counter attack. His long ball found Taylor Fletcher who flicked the ball over the Imps defence releasing Jake Kirby. Paul Farman was on hand to deny the Tranmere forward, and Hughes saw his follow up blocked on the line again, this time by Alan Power.

Lincoln City substitute Robbie McDaid, on for Matt Rhead who picked up an ankle injury, had a volley brilliantly saved, but with just under 20 minutes remaining, he wasn’t to be denied.

After George Maris was brought down 30 yards out from goal, Terry Hawkridge’s floated free-kick picked out McDaid at the back post who powered a header into the top left hand corner.

The Imps looked set to hold on to a point, but with three minutes remaining, Tranmere found a winner. Harris showed quick feet on the edge of the penalty area to find substitute Adam Mekki. He fired in a shot which deflected off Lee Beevers outstretched leg and past the helpless Imps goalkeeper Paul Farman into the back of the net.