Robinson pays back fans' faith

Tranmere Rovers 2 Millwall 0
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The Independent Online

If football ever needed a heartwarming reminder, that even in this sanitised age supporters are still its heartbeat, then Tranmere Rovers are providing that example this season.

Earlier this year, the Tranmere and Wirral Footballers Supporters Trust urged fans to raise £10,000 to sign Andy Robinson, a Leeds United player, in their bid to stave off relegation.

In the end, and in the blink of an eye, £12,000 was found, Robinson was brought to Prenton Park on loan from Elland Road and yesterday he scored with a fine second-half finish to ensure Rovers still have a chance to save themselves from relegation with a game to go.

If that was not a good enough story on its own, Robinson's goal also helped his parent club Leeds stay above Millwall in second place despite the fact Simon Grayson's side lost against Charlton Athletic. To top all that off, Robinson is a Tranmere fan. Hollywood scriptwriters would not dare make this stuff up.

"I'm speechless really," said Tranmere's manager, Les Parry, of his midfield player. "I tried to bring him in at Christmas but I didn't have the money. His wages are paid for by the £12,000 they managed to raise If someone said before the game that £12,000 would get us a goal then I would have paid it myself.

"He is a Tranmere supporter, but the problem with that is trying to get him tickets for games because he has got about 400 family members.

"We are not there yet by any means but it was a fine victory and a great performance. I thought every last one of them did us proud today. If we win next week and go down then we will go down with 51 points and that would be very unlucky."

Tranmere were looking as good as relegated just before half-time because Exeter City and Gillingham were both winning, meaning that only a ludicrous double-figure scoreline against Stockport County next week – plus favourable results elsewhere – could have kept them up.

However, Ian Thomas-Moore's dubious penalty, after Millwall's captain Paul Robinson fouled him in the box, gave Tranmere the lead and punished some woeful Millwall finishing with Steve Morison the biggest culprit.

After the break, the tempo rose but the quality did not until Robinson looked up after 66 minutes and unloaded a ferocious dipping effort over David Forde's head to double the home side's advantage.

Millwall continued to look poor, despite news filtering through that Leeds were losing, as Lewis Grabban steered a golden opportunity wide of the post while also forcing Peter Gulacsi into his only real save of the match. Late pressure by the visitors failed to materialise and they did not look like they wanted it enough. If only they had the desire of Tranmere's fans; then anything would be possible.

"It was a poor day for us, we did not play particularly well and we can do better," said Millwall's manager, Kenny Jackett. "But it won't be that hard picking the players up, they will respond next Saturday. The captain said he didn't touch him when he went down and I didn't get a good view of that, and you have to finish your chances as well."