Tranmere sink County in shoot-out
Tranmere won their first penalty shoot-out victory in more than 19 years as a Peter Gulacsi save saw the Whites into the third round of the Johnstone`s Paint Trophy.
There were two changes to the side that beat Walsall 4-1 at the Bank`s Stadium last Saturday with left-back Zoumana Bakayogo and striker Sam Morrow coming in for Aaron Cresswell and Enoch Showunmi.
Stockport came into the clash as outsiders, but were determined to put their opponents under pressure from the start. County`s young midfielder Jake Simpson forced a save out of Rover`s keeper Peter Gulacsi just three minutes in as the away side tried to grab an early goal.
The energy of Paul Simpson`s young side prevented the Whites from getting a stranglehold on possession, but Bakayogo`s run and eventual cross caused a mix-up at the back, with the ball just eluding Ian Thomas-Moore.
Wes Fletcher shot over the bar before Stockport`s best chance of the half fell to George Donnelly who after being played through for a one-on-one with Gulacsi hit his finish straight at the keeper on 11 minutes.
The Hungarian U-21 international was tested once again seven minutes later by Anthony Pulis whose long-range shot brought out a fine save while on the counter, Bakayogo bombed forward to curl a left-footed shot just wide of the post.
Stockport were handed another good opportunity to go ahead after Scott Wootton`s slip put Fletcher through on goal, only for the young striker to slice his shot wide in the last action of the half.
Max Blanchard headed wide six minutes into the half from a John Welsh corner, with the resulting counter forcing Gulacsi to race out of his goal to clear the lines.
Stockport then enjoyed a decent spell with Pulis continuing to try his luck from range. His shot on 55 minutes was held well by Gulacsi with Paul Turnbull`s 25-yard drive also falling into the Liverpool loanee`s grasp.
Joss Labadie`s shot proved too powerful for Matt Glennon with the ball rebounding off the keeper`s chest to Thomas-Moore, only for the veteran striker to head agonisingly wide on 65 minutes.
Tranmere tried to up the anti going forward with the attacking-minded Ryan Fraughan replacing Liam Darville with Blanchard moving to right-back and Morrow moving to right midfield as Rovers switched to 4-4-2.
The change was forced right into action as a rapid counter by Dale Jennings ended with Fraughan shooting straight at Glennon in the area and Labadie firing the eventual second attempt into the side netting.
Jennings then sprung into action following the move as he weaved his way through three tackles before failing to get a shot on in a packed County box.
Rovers eventually did get the ball into the net on 78 minutes when Wootton headed in a Thomas-Moore flick only for the defender to be flagged for offside.
Jennings looked liked the most likely to score for the home side as the young winger glided past a defender before seeing his shot deflect past the post on 83 minutes with Labadie lifting the ball over the bar from the resulting corner. But the game fizzled out towards the end as County looked determined to take the game to a shoot-out.
Stockport (Williams) 0-1
Tranmere (Thomas-Moore) 1-1
Stockport (Donnelly) 1-1 Missed (over)
Tranmere (Labadie) 2-1
Stockport (Turnbull) 2-2
Tranmere (Wootton) 3-2
Stockport (Tansey) 3-3
Tranmere (Morrow) 4-3
Stockport (Rowe) 4-3 Saved
Tranmere: Gulacsi, Darville (Fraughan, 66), Goodison, Wootton, Bakayogo, Welsh, Blanchard, Labadie, Jennings, Thomas-Moore, Morrow. Subs not used: Collister, Cathalina, Mendy, Akins.
Stockport: Glennon, Lynch, Williams, Turnbull, Assoumani, Donnelly, Pulis (Tansey 77), Griffin, Rose, Simpson (Rowe 81), Fletcher (Darkwah 75). Substitutes: Fon Williams, Halls.