Walsall 1-4 Tranmere Rovers
John Welsh`s 40-yard chip sent Tranmere on their way to a 4-1 win over fellow strugglers Walsall.
The captain also scored the Whites fourth from outside the area, with Enoch Showunmi and Ian Thomas-Moore giving the Rovers their second and third goals respectively.
John Macken pulled one back for the home side after Showunmi`s on 58 minutes, but Rovers went on to dominate the game and record their second win over the Saddlers this season.
Whites boss Les Parry made three changes to the side that slumped to a disappointing 3-0 defeat at home to then bottom side Brentford last Saturday. Joss Labadie was a surprise selection after only training for two days prior to the game- coming in for midfielder Arnaud Mendy- with Ian Thomas-Moore shaking off an injury to take the place of Lucas Akins up-front. Frenchman Maxime Blanchard was also brought in for the injured Paul McLaren.
Both sides failed to get hold of possession early on as passes skimmed across the damp surface on their way out for throws. But Walsall registered the first shot of the game in the form of Steve Jones` drive from outside the box which went wide of Peter Gulacsi`s goal.
Tranmere`s Aaron Cresswell and Scott Wootton were both victims of a couple of strong tackles that brought bookings for Steve Jones and Martin Devany as the away side tried to stamp their mark on proceedings. Reuben Reid`s shot was well saved by Liverpool loanee Gulacsi before Ian Thomas-Moore`s snapshot forced a vital block from Richard Taundry.
The game then slowed down and endured a dull 10 minutes up until the away side`s opener. Saddler`s keeper John Brain dashed off his line to meet a cross destined for target-man Showunmi, only for his punch to fall to Welsh whose first-time strike from 40-yards out soared over the defence on its way into the top right-corner.
Tranmere almost made it two just minutes later with young Dale Jennings shot from outside of the box which was held well by Brain. Walsall had a couple of half-chances towards the end of the half, but the away side defended well to go into the break with their lead still intact.
Cresswell carried on the trend of shooting from range straight after the restart, only for his strike to be brilliantly saved by Brain, who was getting annoyed with his defence`s inability to push out of the box.
As Walsall were getting more and more pinned back by the energetic visitors, Tranmere struck while the iron was hot with their second on 58 minutes. Andrew Davies` poor back pass gifted Showunmi with a clear space to run his way into to a one-on-one with Brain, with the striker shooting underneath the keeper for his sixth of the season.
But the goal spurred the home side onto a racing the ball forward to gain a corner from Macken`s long-range shot. And although they failed to capitalise from the set-piece, Macken pulled one back on 65 minutes by racing past Ian Goodison to tap-in from six-yards out.
Although young left-back Cresswell had to come off for Zoumana Bakayogo on 70 minutes due to an injury, his 17-year-old teammate Jennings just kept going. The winger that signed his first professional contract with Rovers this week rewarded boss Parry by running past Aaron Lescott on his way to being fouled inside the box. The resulting penalty was dispatched by Thomas-Moore who sent Brain the wrong way- keeping up his 100% record from the spot for the Whites.
Ryan Fraughan was brought on for Jennings to inflict even more damage on a beaten looking Walsall, which he did by playing a pass to captain Welsh who side-footed in from the edge of the area. Bakayogo tried to add a fifth late-on, but the traveling fans had to make to with just the four goals to lift Rovers off the bottom of League One.
Tranmere: Gulacsi, Darville, Wootton, Goodison, Cresswell (Bakayogo 70), Labadie (Mendy 89), Blanchard, Welsh, Thomas-Moore, Showunmi, Jennings (Fraughan 82). Subs not used: Collister, Cathalina, Akins, Morrow.