MX23RW : Wednesday, June 23 14:21:03| >> :120:75854:75854:
May 13, 2019 at 7.45pm UK
Attendance: 4,492
Forest GreenForest Green Rovers
TranmereTranmere Rovers
Mills (12')
Winchester (67')
FT(HT: 1-1)
Norwood (27')

Mellon: Norwood's winning goal "an absolute cracker"

Norwood's strike was his 32nd goal of the season.

Tranmere manager Micky Mellon praised the quality of James Norwood's strike that took his side to their third successive Wembley final.

Leading Forest Green 1-0 from the first leg of the semi-final, the striker's first-time volley midway through the first half at The New Lawn cancelled out an early header from home skipper Joseph Mills to clinch a 2-1 aggregate win, and set up a May 25 showdown with Newport.

"It's an unbelievable goal, an absolute cracker," said Mellon of Norwood's 32nd goal of the season.

"It's a great little move and a good little knockdown and he's just concentrated on the contact, making sure he hit the target and burying it in the bottom corner for a fabulous goal."

Assessing his team's achievement overall, Mellon added: "It's fantastic that we get to go to the last stage of the play-offs.

"We will enjoy this evening because you have to enjoy getting to Wembley – it's everyone's dream to get there – but we have to get ready to go again.

"It's a fantastic achievement for us but we need to go and seal the deal now and that's what we will work very hard to do."

Mellon feels his side cannot be faulted for the effort they have put in this season.

"We'd said about letting nothing affect us and to keep plugging away as a group," said Mellon. "The reasons why we're here at this stage is that we have got an awful lot right.

"We knew we had to be professional as we were up against a very good side, and we've had tight games in the past.

"Mark Cooper and his team deserve a lot of credit for the way they have played this season and to get themselves to this stage."

To add to Forest Green's misery they had Carl Winchester sent off for two bookings with 25 minutes to play. It followed the red card for striker Gavin Gunning in the first leg at Prenton Park.

Disappointed Forest Green manager Mark Cooper said it was not his side's year.

"We've played half the tie with 10 men and I don't think it's fair," he said.

"Good luck to Tranmere – they played well tonight – but just when we were getting on top we're reduced to 10 men and I don't think it's fair the way that a little club has been treated.

"Winchester's first tackle gets a yellow card and then there's absolutely nothing in the sending off. "

Reflecting on the match overall, Cooper said: "We got off to a good start and then our centre-backs chose to leave the best player in the league unmarked and if you do that in the box you're in trouble.

"We froze a little bit but just as we started to create we were reduced to 10 men.

"It seemed that it wasn't meant to be our time.  I have to be careful with what I say but I don't think they wanted us to be in the final if I'm brutally honest.

"It feels really unfair, and anyone who witnessed the two games could say we didn't have a fair crack of the whip."

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Tranmere Rovers boss Micky Mellon pictured on December 17, 2018
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