Football: Morrissey's tasty chips

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The Independent Online
Tranmere Rovers. .3

Oldham Athletic. .0

TRANMERE held their nerve in the face of another resurgence to complete the mission which proved beyond them at Oldham. John Morrissey created the first goal in this replay and superbly converted two more in the second half to secure Tranmere a place in the fourth round of the FA Cup for the first time in 21 years.

Tranmere, who relinquished a two-goal advantage in the original meeting, subjected Oldham Athletic to an early bombardment. But John Aldridge, sent off at Boundary Park, again found Craig Fleming in his path. Fleming's partner, Richard Jobson, however, was a little too determined for the liking of the referee, Robert Hart. When he prevented Chris Malkin breaking free, Jobson was booked and made to pay a heavier price still from the free-kick.

Neil McNab played a short pass outside the defence, Morrissey chipped in a centre and the defender Steve Vickers headed the First Division side into the lead.

Yet the goal stiffened Oldham's resolve. Tranmere's defender Steve Mungall denied Ian Marshall after Ian Olney created the opening and, when Marshall returned the compliment, the goalkeeper Eric Nixon saved splendidly from Olney.

Oldham introduced Steve Redmond for Nick Henry at the start of the second half, pushing up Gunnar Halle and the Norwegian almost swivelled on to an instant chance. Pat Nevin's spin and shot ended the siege and Oldham's goalkeeper, Paul Gerrard, was required to make a fingertip save.

Suddenly the tie had changed direction again and, on the hour, Morrissey delivered Tranmere a second goal from 40 yards. Gerrard was stranded after his attempted clearance merely set up the opportunity for Morrissey to demonstrate once more his exquisite chipping ability.

Nine minutes from the end Morrissey jinked through and went round Gerrard before sliding in Tranmere's third.

Tranmere Rovers: Nixon; Higgins, Nolan, Irons, Mungall, Vickers, Morrissey, Aldridge, Malkin, McNab, Nevin. Substitutes not used: Muir, Martindale.

Oldham Athletic: Gerrard; Halle, Barlow, Bernard, Jobson, Fleming, Henry (Redmond, h/t), Olney, Marshall, Milligan, Brennan (Sharp, 64).

Referee: R Hart (Darlington).