Semi Final Round up and Final Preview
Tranmere having finished 2nd in the National league this season had the luxury of the home draw in the new playoff system which brought them straight through to the semi-final stage of these 1 legged ties. Their opponents Ebbsfleet, who had to see off Aldershot Town on penalties in the playoff quarter final to book themselves a visit to Prenton Park before the final that would await either side.
Rovers went on to win the game in extra time after trailing twice to a Luke Coulson glancing header and by being gifted a goal due to an goalkeeping error by Rovers shot stopper Scott Davies to leave Myles Weston an open net. Each time Tranmere replied with a goal, firstly James Norwood to level after 33 minutes and then a superb effort from outside the box by loanee Josh Ginnelly to level the tie again going into full time.
James Norwood’s 23rd goal of the season will not be one he’ll forget as a thunderous 25 yard free kick sent Tranmere ahead for the first time in the match in the 101st minute, before 5 minutes later Larnell Cole saw Ebbsfleet off with 14 minutes remaining. Tranmere although a shaky start shown their class to see themselves through to a 4-2 win in front of a bumper crowd of 8898, sending 348 visitors home for another season in the National League.
Only 24 hours later there opponent was confirmed as Boreham Wood took on 3rd place finishers Sutton United, after defeating AFC Fylde 2-1 at home in the quarters. The Wood took the league late in the first half through Angelo Balanta and then doubling their lead on the 53rd minute. Sutton closed the deficit late on with a nice bit of play but Boreham Wood were quick to restore their 2 goal lead, which should have surely secured the match for the visitors but moments later Sutton United scored again to shock the visitors on the 88th minute to set up a frantic finale closing minutes at Sutton’s Gander Green Lane. As the old saying goes, you’re most likely to concede when you just score a goal, this game a perfect example of that , but it was not to be for Sutton as Boreham Wood saw out a 3-2 win, and cemented there place at Wembley for the first time in their history.
Last year’s playoff runners up Tranmere will not want a repeat of last year’s upset against Forest Green Rovers. Micky Mellon will have the extra day advantage in preparing his side for Saturdays visit to Wembley, Tranmere’s 8th visit to the national stadium.
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