Photos: Tranmere Rovers 1, Burnley 2
Midfielder Dean Marney added another in spectacular fashion in the second half to double the away side’s advantage before Rovers substitute James Rowe scored a late consolation.
Sean Dyche’s side were dominant throughout, knocking the ball about intricately and positively from back to front, but it was the hosts who registered the first shot on goal when striker Ryan Lowe touched the ball past Danny Lafferty on the edge of the box before flashing a half-volley across Tom Heaton but wide of the far post.
Heaton had to be alert soon after to beat Rovers’ skipper Andy Robinson’s stinging drive away before reacting quick enough to get a fingertip to Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro’s follow up and turn the close range effort over the bar.
But after that opening spell the visitors asserted themselves and took control of the game, fully dictating the pace. However, the only chances of note saw Danny Holmes throw himself at Charlie Austin’s strike from inside the area before Owain Fon Williams gathered Austin’s shot on the swivel following an exquisite, one-touch passive move that involved Kieran Trippier, Junior Stanislas and the impressive David Jones.
The closest the home side came to finding the net arrived just moments before the deadlock was broken when a delightful turn from Robinson took Trippier out of the game but his low, left-footed effort cannoned back off the inside of the far post.
As the half looked like ending goalless, Ings grabbed yet another goal in what’s been a fruitful pre-season for the forward. Trippier latched on to Marney’s superb, sweeping pass down the right and the full-back’s cross was cushioned in to the path of Ings who volleyed home spectacularly on his birthday to make it four goals in three pre-season friendlies.
In the second half Heaton - who never stopped communicating with his defence - was outstanding again, denying Evan Horwood, Lowe and Joe Thompson at various points. But the talking point of the half, and the game, was Marney’s incredible netbuster that arrived on the hour.
The move started with a sublime, measured pass to Wallace from Stanislas and ended with the former Hammer allowing the ball to roll through to Austin who in turn teed up Marney to thump the ball in to the roof of the net from 25 yards. It was such a sweet connection that Fon Williams was only able to react once the ball had rattled the net.
Possession continued to be dominated by the away side from that point, though the hosts found pockets of space to test Heaton. Akpa Akpro squared the ball for Lowe with 25 minutes remaining and the striker but his laces through it only to be denied by the Clarets stopper at his near post.
That prompted wholesale changes from Dyche as Sam Vokes, David Edgar, Luke O’Neill, Joseph Mills, Brian Stock, Keith Treacy and Scott Arfield were all introduced at intermittent points in the half. Vokes went close immediately when touching the ball on to his right foot before lashing a shot just wide of the post from 20 yards, despite the best efforts of Ian Goodison to thwart him.
The home fans did finally have something to celebrate in the final minute when Robinson’s persistence down the left saw him cleverly craft an opening for Horwood who pulled the ball back from the byeline and in to the path of substitute Rowe to coolly slot past Heaton. And in the final seconds Joe Thompson’s effort from distance was palmed to safety by Heaton who plunged to his left to keep the Clarets’ lead in tact.