Football: Barnsley rally to Bassett call

Barnsley 3 Tranmere Rovers 0
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The Independent Online
AFTER THREE years at Tranmere life is getting hard for John Aldridge ,who manages on a shoestring. The way things are shaping up this season, it threatens to become all the more arduous.

If Barnsley are no great shakes they still mustered enough passion and purpose to inflict another worrying defeat on Aldridge's Tranmere, who have lost four of their opening six fixtures.

This time they were undone by goals from Mike Sheron, Bruce Dyer and Sean McClare, who bolstered the hopes of their manager, Dave Bassett, that Barnsley may develop into credible promotion challengers. While they may have to play more fluently than this in order to become one, at least they look a side who can stay the course.

On the basis of their first half energy levels, Barnsley could reasonably have expected to have collected more than just Sheron's goal, which arrived eight minutes before half-time. It scarcely helped, though, that doubts about the fitness of Neil Shipperley were quickly confirmed. The promise of his front-line partnership with Sheron disintegrated within 15 minutes when the recurrence of an injury forced him to give way to Eric Tinkler. By that time John Achterberg, the Tranmere goalkeeper, had already been forced to make important saves from Shipperley.

In the main, Tranmere played in the manner of a team who know they have to stop leaking goals, but do not really know how.

Barnsley's extra zest always suggested they were more likely scorers and so it proved after 37 minutes. Robbie Van der Laan used his bulk and veteran's guile to beat Clint Hill, one of three Tranmere players who have already been sent off this season, before playing Sheron through the middle. Sheron may not be the most natural of finishers but he ran on to register his third goal of the season.

Aldridge, clearly believing it was time for new brooms, had brought in Wayne Allison, a pounds 300,000 buy from Huddersfield, and Tony Grant, on loan from Everton, for their debuts. He went further early in the second half by throwing on his free-transfer recruit from Arsenal, Michael Black, to no avail. The closest Tranmere came to equalising was when Tinkler almost headed into his own goal, attempting to clear Andy Thompson's cross.

In the final quarter hour the match was put beyond them by Barnsley substitutes. First, Dyer capitalised on defensive chaos, then McClare rounded it off.

Barnsley (4-4-2): Miller; Moses, Tuttle, Jones, Barker; Eaden, Hignett, Van der Laan (Dyer, 70), Appleby (McClarem, 84); Shipperley (Tinkler, 14), Sheron. Substitutes not used: M Bullock, T Bullock (gk).

Tranmere Rovers (3-5-2): Achterberg; Challinor, Yates, Hill (Parkinson, 80); Allen, Grant, Santos, Henry (Black, 52), Thompson; Allison, Kelly (S Taylor, 69). Substitutes not used: Frail, Black, Murphy (gk).

Referee: A Butler (Sutton-in-Ashfield).