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Pete Wild unhappy with Barrow for failing to respond to Tranmere’s plan

Pete Wild was unhappy (Martin Rickett/PA)
Pete Wild was unhappy (Martin Rickett/PA)

Barrow manager Pete Wild accused his team of failing to stand up to the physicality of Tranmere following the Bluebirds’ one-goal defeat at Prenton Park.

Josh Hawkes’ first-half effort settled the game in favour of the hosts, whose dominance was not reflected in the narrow scoreline.

Tranmere closed within four points of the League Two play-off spots following a third win on the spin.

But Barrow must seek to arrest a mini-slide after following last week’s home defeat by Leyton Orient with a tepid display on Merseyside.

It is the first time this season Wild’s side have lost twice in succession and they slipped from two places to sixth at full-time.

“It was a typical League Two game, hustle and bustle, and no real quality in the whole game,” said Wild.

“Tranmere made it difficult for us, their gameplan was to rough us up and get among us and put us off our game and they did it fantastically well.

“We must have more quality in those situations and I thought we lacked that quality against a team that came after us.”

Hawkes’ goal came after Kane Hemmings won a high ball in Barrow territory. Kieron Morris was unchallenged as he collected the knockdown to feed fellow winger Hawkes for a clinical strike beyond Paul Farman.

Barrow mustered only a muted response and the visitors’ solitary attempt on target, a low drive from Ben Whitfield, was easily gathered by home goalkeeper Ross Doohan.

“I don’t think we threatened their goalkeeper enough and then [we received] a sucker punch from something we are normally good at,” a added ild.

“It has been a great start to the season, with 21 points from 11 games, and we have to stay positive and carry on picking up points.

“But that was a missed opportunity… there are highs and lows in football and it was a low today.”

Tranmere manager Micky Mellon, meanwhile, was able to reflect on arguably his side’s finest display this term.

Hawkes’ strike had the effect of unlocking Tranmere’s attacking adventure and Mellon’s side really should have won by a margin of three or four.

That the game was still in the balance in the closing stages had a lot to do with Barrow goalkeeper Farman.

He superbly denied Elliott Nevitt and Dynel Simeu after half-time, flashing out a hand to repel Nevitt’s crashing drive, then employing tremendous reflexes to thwart Simeu.

Nevitt hit a post from distance and had another attempt swiped off the line by defender Tyrell Warren.

Tranmere aimed 12 shots in all but found the net only once, relying on a defence that has recorded three successive clean sheets to secure maximum points.

“It was a really good team performance – but we should have put more chances away,” said Mellon, who is optimistic over Hawkes’ fitness after an injury forced off the goalscorer towards the end.

“We won’t bat it off [frustration of missed chances] because we won, we will be killjoys, because we want to keep this group improving all the time.

“You have to be good enough to take those chances and if we had, we’d have given ourselves a more comfortable afternoon.

“It was tense… we knew we had to back up two really good away results with a win.

“But the players handled the pressure really well, their game management and composure were superb.”

It has been a profitable fortnight for Tranmere, who were languishing in the lower reaches of League Two after only two wins from their opening eight games.

Mellon’s team ground out away victories at Salford and Walsall. And as they completed a hat-trick of successes against Barrow, the manager’s name was loudly chorused by the jubilant locals.

“We are here to try to produce football a group of supporters and the community want to represent them,” added Mellon.

“We had it in flashes at the start of the season but not at the levels we are now.

“The support was great, we deserved it – it gave the players an extra spring in their steps and the satisfaction that the fans are happy with what they are doing.

“There is a good connection between everybody.”