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Last Updated: Friday, 14 March, 2003, 22:31 GMT
Tranmere 3-3 Cardiff

Robert Earnshaw scored a hat-trick as promotion rivals Tranmere and Cardiff produced a thriller at Prenton Park, with two goals coming in the last two minutes.

Robert Earnshaw is congratulated by Peter Thorne
Robert Earnshaw's late third goal earned Cardiff a point

It seemed the Merseysiders would sneak the points when Gary Jones put them in front for the first time in the 89th-minute from a cross by former Bluebird Simon Haworth.

But Cardiff struck back through Earnshaw, who fired home from Peter Thorne's flick-on in stoppage-time.

Earnshaw had put Cardiff ahead in the 35th-minute with a neat lob over keeper John Achterberg, after Ian Sharps failed to cut out a through-ball from Willie Boland.

Tranmere drew level two minutes after the break with Haworth heading in his 16th goal of the season from a Sean Connelly cross.

But the Bluebirds regained the lead on 67 minutes with a neat finish by Earnshaw, but Tranmere, just outside the play-off zone, refused to lie down.

Teenage striker Iain Hume rifled home a tremendous goal in the 78th minute, with Connolly again the provider, before the last drama saw both sides leave with a point.

Tranmere: Achterberg, Connelly, Allen, Sharps, Roberts, Price (Taylor 75), Loran, Jones, Nicholson, Haworth, Hume. Subs Not Used: Mellon, Barlow, Howarth, Hay.

Cardiff: Alexander, Croft, Prior, Young, Barker, Bonner, Kavanagh, Boland, Mahon, Earnshaw, Thorne. Subs Not Used: Gordon, Jenkins, Legg, Bowen, Margetson.

Att: 9,637

Ref: A Butler (Nottinghamshire).

Cardiff striker Rob Earnshaw
"In the end it was a great point"

Cardiff skipper Graham Kavanagh
"Pleased to get back into it"



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