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Tuesday, 14 December, 1999, 22:40 GMT
Rovers claim another prize scalp

Andy Parkinson Parkinson destroys the Boro defence for Tranmere's second

Tranmere 2-1 Middlesbrough

Tranmere made it two Premiership scalps in four days as Middlesbrough crashed out of the Worthington Cup after an excellent quarter-final clash at Prenton Park.

It was just a throw from the keeper that caught them on the break and I managed to sneak in and score
Andy Parkinson plays down his solo goal
Quicksilver winger Andy Parkinson was the hero for the First Division team, making the first goal for David Kelly and then settling matters in sensational style after the break with a wonderful solo effort.

German international Christian Ziege gave Boro some hope with a fine strike late on - but there was no way back for Bryan Robson's men.

Bryan Robson Bryan Robson starts to feel the strain
Tranmere knocked West Ham out of the FA Cup on Saturday and John Aldridge's side continued their giant-killing exploits on Tuesday to reach the last four of the league cup for the second time in six years.

But the result completes a nightmare few days for Boro, who were turfed out of the FA Cup by Second Division Wrexham at the weekend.

And manager Robson will be cursing his side's luck, after a combination of refereeing decisions, goal-line clearances and the woodwork prevented his team from at least taking the tie to extra time.

Elleray intervenes

Middlesbrough twice had the ball in the Tranmere net within the first five minutes - but on both occasions the effort was ruled out for infringements.

Match facts
39: Kelly gives Tranmere the lead
71: Parkinson scores a superb second for Rovers
79: Ziege sets up a frantic finish
In the opening few seconds of the game, Boro stormed into opposition territory and Robbie Mustoe finished with style. But referee David Elleray brought a premature end to the visitors' celebrations after spotting a handball.

Five minutes later and it was a case of deja vu, as Hamilton Ricard's strike was cancelled out for offside. Boro, though, were more concerned that they should have had a penalty, as Deane seemed to have been chopped down by Reuben Hazell.

Rovers, with Dave Challinor's enormous throws always a danger, battled back and Gary Jones, sent a low shot just wide of the near post.

David Kelly David Kelly's opening goal sends Tranmere's players wild
A minute later Juninho should finally have put Boro in front, but rather than hit his shot first time, Juninho chose to control the ball and that allowed Hazel to race in and thump it off the line.

And it was to prove a costly miss when Kelly put Tranmere in front. Parkinson, who was a constant threat on the right flank, curled the ball into the box and the 34-year-old frontman produced a classy side-footed finish.

The goal clearly rattled Boro and a minute before the break they almost conceded another - but, as the impressive Scott Taylor went down in the area under Robbie Stockdale's clumsy challenge, referee Elleray again turned down the penalty appeals.

Defensive hiccups

Despite being in front, Tranmere still did not look secure at the back - and Juninho sliced a shot that thudded against the bar.

Boro felt they should again have had a penalty when Tranmere keeper Joe Murohy collided with Ricard. As a result of the clash Murphy suffered a rib injury and had to be replaced by reserve keeper John Achterberg.

Juninho and Parkinson Juninho jinks away from Tranmere hero Parkinson
The home fans thought they had gone 2-0 up after 59 minutes but, with Kelly seemingly certain to convert Taylor's cross, Steve Vickers somehow cleared the danger with a superb covering tackle.

Tranmere were given a two-goal cushion after 71 minutes thanks to a simply stunning strike.

Achterberg played a key role, launching a huge throw up to the half-way line for Parkinson, who collected the ball and twisted and turned Michael Owen-style through the Boro defence before sending a low shot wide of keeper Mark Schwarzer to the delight of the Prenton Park faithful.

By now Boro were desperate and Achterberg did well to smother Ziege's free-kick.

But the German revived his team's flagging hopes 10 minutes from time as he sprinted up the left and beat Achterberg at the near post with a sharp shot that the keeper should have saved.

Five minutes of injury time gave Boro one last chance - but Deane crumpled in the box when he should at least have got a shot in.

It summed up Boro's night and leaves the Riverside outfit facing a long season with little to play for.


Tranmere: Murphy, Morgan, Challinor, Hazell, Roberts, Parkinson, Jones, Henry, Mahon, Kelly, Taylor.
Subs: Achterberg, Koumas, Frail, Allen, Hume.

Middlesbrough: Schwarzer, Stockdale, Vickers, Festa, O'Neill, Mustoe, Juninho, Ziege, Stamp, Deane, Ricard.
Subs: Beresford, Gavin, Maddison, Armstrong, Campbell.

Referee: D Elleray (Harrow-on-the-Hill

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Links to other Football stories are at the foot of the page.