Elford Alliyu strikes twice in away win
A brace from Lateef Elford-Alliyu and a late goal from Enoch Showunmi sent Tranmere on their way to an impressive win away to Peter Reid`s Plymouth Argyle.
The winger rewarded Rovers boss Les Parry for extending his loan spell at the club with goals in each half, with former Bristol man Showunmi adding a third on 79 minutes.
Joe Mason prevented the visitors from picking up a clean sheet, but the goal proved too little too late for Argyle, as Rovers moved up into 17th position.
There was one change made to the side that trudged onto the waterlogged pitch at Prenton Park last week with Andy Robinson- who picked up a knock in a behind closed doors friendly against Liverpool in midweek- making way for Lucas Akins on the wing. Dale Jennings, who was also thought to have picked up a minor injury in the game against the Reds, had his place on the bench taken up by Tim Cathalina.
There was an early scare for Rovers when Chris Clark`s corner curled into the six-yard box and fell to Rory Paterson in space, only for the Argyle frontman to scoop the ball over Tony Warner`s crossbar to save the visitors` blushes.
Tranmere`s first attack came on six minutes in the form of a break down the right-hand side which presented Elford-Alliyu with space to cross. The West Brom loanee found Joss Labadie in a decent position in the home sides` penalty area, but the former Brom midfielder was unable to carve a chance out of the opportunity, and the ball was eventually cleared.
Labadie had a free-kick that hit the wall on 12 minutes as the Whites looked to take the chances they were given, and after several moves failed to materialise at both ends, it was indeed the away side who were the most decisive 10 minutes later. A looping ball from Ash Taylor found Showunmi, who headed down for Elford-Alliyu to slot his finish past David Button to give his side the lead.
Akins had a goal disallowed for offside after John Welsh`s ball across the six-yard box saw the striker bundle the ball into the net on 26 minutes, and Akins almost did it again onside five minutes later with a diving header that was well saved by Pilgrims stopper Button, as the Whites pushed on.
Aaron Cresswell`s cross that appeared to be just creeping into Button`s right corner forced another save out of the keeper, while Kari Arnason went close at the other end with a shot that brushed past Warner`s post. But a good spell of possession upfield by Rovers saw them going into the tunnel at half-time on top of proceedings.
After Peter Reid`s half-time team talk, the home side came out looking the more energetic after the break. Mark McChrystal was at the centre of a Tranmere defence who were looking to weather the storm caused by crosses from either side, with the Irishman`s clearances appearing to be vital.
Warner did well to save Mason`s low shot at the Tranmere goal on 57 minutes, but the visitors were gifted a second minutes later thanks to a keeper error. Elford-Alliyu, who had been troubling the Plymouth defence all afternoon, tried his luck with a shot from just outside the area that curled through Button`s grasp and into the net on 63 minutes.
The hosts almost replied immediately when Mason`s shot from outside the box beat Warner to hit the post just a minute after the goal, with the veteran stopper saving from the midfielder moments later.
With 20 minutes to go, Rovers boss Parry pulled his players back into their own half in an attempt to hold onto their lead. Shaping into a 4-5-1, the Whites best chance of adding a third came in the form of Showunmi chasing down a bad backpass and almost nicking the ball from Button, who only just managed to clear.
But the target man was rewarded for his efforts when a misplaced header from Marcel Seip failed to reach Button and fell to Showunmi, who slotted under the keeper on 79 minutes for his first goal since November. Akins was replaced by Robinson straight after the goal.
Elford-Alliyu also left the field to a well deserved round of applause on 87 minutes as he was replaced by Zoumana Bakayogo. The left-back almost made an impact straight away with a cross that bounced through the home side`s penalty area on its way out for a goal-kick.
Rovers` hopes of a clean sheet were dashed by Mason`s finish deep inside the box from Chris Clark`s cross in the first minute of injury time, with a shot from Arnison providing a nervy last few minutes for Whites boss Parry. But despite the late scares, Tranmere held on for a win which saw them move three points away from the drop zone.
Goals: Plymouth- Mason (90+1)
Tranmere- Elford Alliyu (22, 63), Showunmi (79)
Plymouth: Button, Zubar, Nelson, Seip, Duguid (N'Gala 40), Fletcher, Clark, Arnason, Mason, Fallon, Patterson (Young 62). Substitutes not used: Larrieu, Stephens, Peterlin, Timar.
Tranmere: Warner, Kay, Goodison, McChrystal, Cresswell, Labadie, Taylor, Welsh, Akins (Robinson 82), Showunmi, Elford-Alliyu (Bakayogo 87). Substitutes not used: Collister, Wood, Cathalina, Mahon, McGurk.
Referee: Graham Horwood
Yellow cards: Arnason (51), Labadie (68), Fletcher (71)