It was a dream debut for Jacob Ramsey as his brace helped Rovers on their way to a 3-0 victory over Tranmere Rovers in Sky Bet League One.
Fejiri Okenabirihie’s 85th minute goal sealed three goals and three points for Rovers who put in a blistering second-half performance to see off Tranmere in difficult conditions.
Moore made two changes to his side that fell short against Fleetwood Town on the previous weekend. Ben Sheaf and Jon Taylor dropped to the bench in favour of Ramsey and Devante Cole who were both making their first starts in red and white hoops.
Micky Mellon made four changes to his team who were beaten 2-0 by fellow league strugglers Bolton Wanderers. Liam Ridehalgh, Manny Monthe, and Andy Cook all came into the team. Former Rovers player Luke McCullough was the final additional, the midfielder making his first league appearance since picking up an injury in March 2019.
It was a scrappy opening first 30 minutes and while Mellon would probably be the happier of the two managers, his side had not created much besides a James Vaughan shot from the edge of the box which was blocked behind for a corner and Kieron Morris’ half-volley which was skewed well wide of the target.
Rovers took some time to adapt to the heavy conditions. Their first half-chance fell to Tom Anderson who headed wide from a free kick while Kieran Sadlier looked set to get his twelfth of the season from Niall Ennis’ cross but some excellent defending prevented him from toeing the ball past Scott Davies.
The visitors finished the better of the two sides as Ben Whiteman began to pull the strings in the centre of the park. Rovers had two big opportunities to take the lead in the remaining 15 minutes.
The first came just before the half-hour mark when Ramsey had two shots blocked from close range after a scintillating passing move ended with a clever cut-back by Madger Gomes to find the Villa loanee’s run from deep. Ramsey’s first shot was blocked off the line before he fired the rebound into the keeper.
The second chance came from Sadlier’s cross into the box which was headed straight at the keeper by Devante Cole.
Tranmere’s Alex Woodyard probably should have done better with his half-volley from the centre of the Rovers box - he sent the ball spinning high and wide into the 400 Rovers fans and Cameron John made an important block to deny Vaughan from close range.
The second half picked up where the first had ended and Rovers had a few early chances to take the lead. Ennis put the ball the wrong side of the post after Gomes’ defence-splitting pass sent the striker through on goal, and Sadlier’s thunderbolt strike from just inside the box was met with an excellent save by Davies.
Ramsey gave Rovers the lead just ten minutes later when he arrived later into the box and fired home first time from Sadlier’s cut-back. The no.7 did excellently to push beyond his marker and drive along the by-line before picking out his man with a perfectly weighted pass.
John could have made it two moments later – his attempt to pass the ball inside the far post was a whisker wide.
Rovers had to weather some pressure in a period which saw Cameron John, Brad Halliday and Joe Wright all pick up yellow cards but Tranmere failed to create anything of real note with their best chance coming from a free kick which Kane Wilson played low under the wall. He didn’t get much power on it and it dribbled through to Seny Dieng for his first save of the game.
Ramsey rounded off his debut to remember on the 75th minute when he headed beyond Davies from Ennis’ cross to get his and Rovers’ second.
Substitute Fejiri Okenabirhie killed the game off with just 5 minutes remaining when he capitalised on a mistake at the back by Monthe – he picked the defender’s pocket and fired beyond Davies.
There was plenty of huff and puff from the home side and both Wright and Anderson were called upon to block shots but the defensive partnership stayed resolute to earn themselves another clean sheet.