Iconic people, records and moments from the history of Tranmere Rovers

The Timeline

Every promotion. Every relegation. Every important event.


Club is formed under the name Belmont Association Football Club.

15th November 1884

Club plays first match, a 4-0 victory over Brunswick Rovers Second XI.

16th September 1885

Name is changed to Tranmere Rovers Football Club.

19th September 1885

Club plays first match under Tranmere Rovers name, drawing 1-1 with Birkenhead Argyle thanks to an own goal by a player named Atherton.

26th September 1885

First recorded 'home' match as Tranmere Rovers ends in 10-0 victory over Liverpool North End.


Club enters Liverpool and District Challenge Cup for the first time.


Club secures its own home stadium, becoming tenants on a site now housing Devonshire Park School.


Club enters West Lancashire League.


Club introduces new home colours of maroon and orange halves, with navy shorts and socks.


Club enters the Combination league.


First season tickets sold for the cost of five shillings.


Club reverts to original home colours, wearing blue shirts, white shorts and blue socks.

25th April 1908

Trophy Artwork

Club wins the Combination title, defeating Connah's Quay 4-0 to secure their first championship.


Club enters Lancashire Combination Division Two

27th October 1911

Club's Special General Meeting votes to turn the Club into a limited company, with 600 shares sold by 9th December 1911.

9th March 1912

Prenton Park is officially opened before league match against Lancaster City.

May 1912

Promotion Artwork

Club promoted to Lancashire Combination Division One.


Club produces match programmes for the first time, replacing the previous 'match cards',at a cost of one penny each.

May 1914

Trophy Artwork

Club wins Lancashire Combination Championship with a record 54 points.


Stan Rowlands becomes Club's first international player, selected to play for Wales after scoring 32 goals in 1913-14.


Football interrupted by World War One. Rovers compete in Lancashire Combination Wartime League.


Trophy Artwork

Club wins Lancashire Combination Liverpool Section 1918-19.


Club successfully applies for membership to the Central League, taking the place of the expelled Leeds City.


Club becomes founder-member of Division Three North.


Bert Cooke Artwork

Bert Cooke appointed Tranmere Rovers Secretary-Manager.

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27th August 1921

Club plays first match in Football League, a 4-1 win over Crewe Alexandra.

27th August 1921

Tom Stuart becomes first player to score a Football League goal for Tranmere Rovers.

15th October 1921

Charlie Cunningham scores Rovers' first Football League hat-trick in 7-0 win over Rochdale.

14th November 1921

Fred Groves sold to Stoke City for Club record £1,000.

5th June 1922

Bob Thompson Artwork

Bert Cooke reverts to Secretary. Bob Thompson appointed Player-Manager.

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May 1923

Bob Thompson sacked as Player-Manager.

July 1923

Harold Hilton Artwork

Harold Hilton appointed Player-Manager.

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May 1924

Bert Cooke Artwork

Harold Hilton sacked as Player-Manager. Bert Cooke returns as Secretary-Manager.

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William Ralph 'Dixie' Dean sold to Everton for Club record £3,000.

7th January 1928

'Pongo' Waring scores six goals in 11-1 victory over Durham City.

13th February 1928

'Pongo' Waring sold to Aston Villa for Club record £4,700.


Tranmere score 111 goals in a single season, which remains a Club record.


The Cowshed stand is born after a roof is erected over the old Town End.

16th September 1933

Club plays its 500th League match in a 2-2 draw at Accrington Stanley.

14th April 1934

Club scores its 1000th Football League goal in 3-1 win over Carlisle United (the second goal).

30th April 1935

Bert Cooke sacked as Secretary-Manager.

28th May 1935

Jack Carr Artwork

Jack Carr appointed Manager.

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23rd November 1935

Billy Woodward becomes first player to receive a Football League dismissal, sent off in the 3-1 win over Chester City.

26th December 1935

'Bunny' Bell scores nine goals in Tranmere's 13-4 win over Oldham Athletic, the Club record win.

22nd October 1936

Jack Carr sacked as Manager.

1st December 1936

Jim Knowles Artwork

Jim Knowles appointed Secretary-Manager.

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7th May 1938

Trophy Artwork Promotion Artwork

Club wins Third Division North title and is promoted to the Second Division for first time.

26th December 1938

Club loses 3-9 against Manchester City, the Club record defeat.

18th January 1939

Jimmy Moreton Artwork

Jim Knowles sacked as Secretary-Manager. Jimmy Moreton appointed Trainer-Manager.

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29th April 1939

Relegation Artwork

Club is relegated to Third Division North after finishing bottom of Second Division.


Outbreak of World War One sees Football League suspended for seven years.

28th February 1942

Jimmy Moreton Artwork

Trainer-Manager Jimmy Moreton passes away after a stomach operation.

1st March 1942

Bill Ridding Artwork

Bill Ridding appointed Trainer-Coach.

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16th July 1946

Bill Ridding resigns as Trainer-Coach, taking up a position at Bolton Wanderers.

10th August 1946

Tommy Jones Artwork

Tommy Jones appointed Trainer-Coach.

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16th September 1946

Ernie Blackburn Artwork

Ernie Blackburn appointed Secretary-Manager. Tommy Jones reverts to a trainer's role.

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10th January 1953

FA Cup third round replay ends in 9-1 defeat at Tottenham Hotspur — the Club's worst-ever FA Cup defeat.

11th April 1955

Club plays its 1000th Football League game with a 3-1 win over Scunthorpe & Lindsey United.

30th August 1955

'Bunny' Bell sets appearance record of 401 consecutive appearances, missing the 402nd game against Gateshead on 30th August.

13th December 1955

Noel Kelly Artwork

Ernie Blackburn reverts to Secretary. Noel Kelly appointed Player-Manager.

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12th November 1956

Ernie Blackburn Artwork

Noel Kelly sacked as Player-Manager. Ernie Blackburn reinstated as Secretary-Manager.

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24th November 1956

Phil Gwatkin scores Club's 2000th Football League goal, the third in a 4-1 win over Scunthorpe & Lindsey United.

20th March 1957

Club plays first full match under floodlights; the Cheshire Bowl Final against Stockport County.

5th October 1957

Peter Farrell Artwork

Ernie Blackburn reverts to Secretary. Peter Farrell appointed Player-Manager.

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12th October 1957

Club records 500th League defeat, a 1-2 loss to Mansfield Town.

23rd November 1957

Club records 500th League victory, a 4-1 win over Bradford City.

30th April 1958

Club record Football League attendance of 19,615 at home to Wrexham.

30th April 1958

Promotion Artwork

Club qualifies for newly created 1958-59 Third Division.

29th September 1958

First floodlit game at Prenton Park, versus Rochdale in the Third Division.

26th October 1959

First European opponent at Prenton Park. Tranmere draw 2-2 with Viktoria Berlin of West Germany.

3rd September 1960

Nigerian international Elkanah Onyeali makes debut at home to Bournemouth & Boscombe Athletic, becoming both the first overseas player and first black footballer to play for Tranmere Rovers.

3rd December 1960

Club loses 9-2 at Queens Park Rangers, the Club record Football League defeat.

12th December 1960

Peter Farrell sacked as Player-Manager.

7th January 1961

Walter Galbraith Artwork

Walter Galbraith appointed Manager.

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29th April 1961

Relegation Artwork

Club relegated to Division Four, 21st in Division Three.


Rovers concede 115 goals, a Club record.

13th September 1961

Alan Arnell scores Club's first hat-trick in the League Cup in 6-3 defeat to Middlesbrough.

25th November 1961

Walter Galbraith walks out of Club and resigns position as Manager.

15th December 1961

Dave Russell Artwork

Dave Russell appointed Manager.

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18th August 1962

Club changes colours to an all-white home kit, debuted against Lincoln City.

20th August 1962

First official Club crest unveiled.

20th April 1963

Club plays 1500th Football League match, a 4-0 defeat at Chesterfield.


Club produces a record 27 League wins.

23rd August 1965

Jack Lornie becomes Club's first-ever substitute, replacing the injured 'Mandy' Hill in 1-0 victory over Chester City.

12th May 1967

Promotion Artwork

Club promoted to Division Three, 4th in Division Four.

19th August 1967

Gerry Casey becomes first player to be sent off on Tranmere debut, dismissed away to Torquay United.

30th July 1968

Main Stand officially opened in 3-0 friendly defeat to Liverpool.

22nd November 1969

Derek Smith scores Club's 3000th Football League goal in 2-2 draw at Halifax Town.

23rd December 1969

Jackie Wright Artwork

Dave Russell moved to General Manager position. Jackie Wright appointed Manager.

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5th February 1972

Club record home attendance of 24,424 recorded in 2-2 FA Cup fourth round draw against Stoke City.

9th April 1972

Jackie Wright sacked as Manager.

10th April 1972

Ron Yeats Artwork

Ron Yeats appointed Player-Manager.

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Club celebrates 50 years in the Football League.


Cowshed Stand demolished and removed.

2nd October 1973

Tranmere beat Arsenal 0-1 at Highbury in League Cup second round.

17th February 1974

Club plays 2000th Football League match with 0-0 draw at Blackburn Rovers.


Cowshed Stand rebuilt with iconic three peak structure.

4th April 1975

Ron Yeats sacked as Manager.

13th April 1975

John King Artwork

John King appointed Manager.

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7th May 1975

Relegation Artwork

Club relegated to Division Four, 22nd in Division Three.

22nd November 1975

Club loses 0-2 to non-League Coventry Sporting in first round of FA Cup.

26th April 1976

Promotion Artwork

Club promoted to Division Three, 4th in Division Four.

2nd October 1976

Les Parry earns Tranmere's first yellow card in 1-1 draw at Oxford United.

27th December 1976

Steve Peplow earns Tranmere's first red card in 2-2 draw at Shrewsbury Town.

28th April 1978

Club records 500th Football League draw in 1-1 tie against Chesterfield.

August 1978

Hugh McCauley becomes Club's most expensive purchase, making a £20,000 transfer from Charlton Athletic.

February 1979

Ronnie Moore sold to Cardiff City for Club record fee of £130,000.

16th March 1979

Lowest-ever home League attendance of 984 in 2-2 draw against Exeter City.


Club signs first-ever shirt sponsorship deal with local company Storeton Motors.

30th September 1980

John King sacked as Manager.

1st October 1980

Bryan Hamilton Artwork

Bryan Hamilton appointed Player-Manager.

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Club survives the 'Closure Crisis'.

20th February 1984

Lowest-ever home attendance of 937 recorded against Halifax Town in the Associate Members' Cup.

20th March 1984

Rovers win their first-ever penalty shootout 4-3 over Crewe Alexandra in the Associate Members' Cup Northern semi-final.

12th May 1984

Club collects its 2,500th Football League point after beating Stockport County 1-0.

July 1984

Bruce Osterman purchases the Club.

14th September 1984

Ray Mathias makes last of his Club record 637 appearances in 0-2 loss to Swindon Town.

7th February 1985

Ray Mathias Artwork

Bryan Hamilton sacked as Manager. Ray Mathias appointed Acting Manager.

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9th July 1985

Frank Worthington Artwork

Frank Worthington appointed Player-Manager.

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Club enters administration.

11th February 1987

Ronnie Moore Artwork

Frank Worthington sacked as Manager. Ronnie Moore appointed Player-Manager.

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20th March 1987

Peter Johnson purchases the Club.

13th April 1987

John King Artwork

John King reappointed Manager. Ronnie Moore stands aside.

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8th May 1987

Gary Williams' header secures 1-0 victory over Exeter City that keeps Tranmere in the Football League.

28th August 1987

Kenny McKenna scores 4,000th Football League goal in 2-1 win over Stockport County.

4th March 1988

3-0 victory over Wolverhampton Wanderers is Club's 1,000th Football League win.

16th April 1988

Club's first appearance at Wembley in the Mercantile Credit Centenary Football Festival.

13th May 1989

Promotion Artwork

Club promoted to Division Three as 1988-89 Division Four runners-up.

20th May 1990

Trophy Artwork

Club wins first Wembley trophy, defeating Bristol Rovers 2-1 in the Leyland-Daf Associate Members' Cup.

27th May 1990

Club loses Division Three Play-off Final 0-2 against Notts County.

26th May 1991

Club loses Leyland-Daf Associate Members' Cup final 2-3 to Birmingham City.

1st June 1991

Trophy Artwork Promotion Artwork

Club beats Bolton Wanderers 1-0 after extra time to win the Division Three Play-off final and secure promotion to Second Division for first time in 51 years.

11th July 1991

John Aldridge signs from Real Sociedad for a Club record £250,000.

11th November 1992

Club plays first European away game, drawing 0-0 at Italian side AC Reggiana in the Anglo-Italian Cup.

8th May 1992

Club records highest-ever League placing of 4th in Second Division.

16th and 19th May 1992

Club loses 4-5 on aggregate to Swindon Town in Second Division Play-off semi-finals.

16th and 27th February 1994

Club loses 4-5 on penalties in League Cup semi-final against Aston Villa.

15th and 18th May 1994

Club loses 2-1 on aggregate to Leicester City in Second Division Play-off semi-finals.


Prenton Park redeveloped to all-seater stadium, increasing capacity from 14,200 to 16,587.

11th March 1995

Ian Muir makes final appearance against Grimsby Town, leaving as the Club's all-time record goalscorer with 180 goals in 393 games.

7th May 1995

Record attendance at all-seater Prenton Park set at 16,377 in final league game of season against Middlesbrough.

14th and 17th May 1995

Club loses 3-1 on aggregate to Reading in Second Division Play-off semi-finals.

9th August 1995

Defender Sean Teale signed for Club record £450,000 from Aston Villa.

12th September 1995

Club plays its 3,000th Football League match in 2-2 draw at home to West Bromwich Albion.

12th April 1996

John Aldridge Artwork

John King moves to Director of Football position. John Aldridge appointed Player-Manager.

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30th June 1996

Club declare record loss of £1.96m for year ending 30th June 1996.


Alan Rogers transfers to Nottingham Forest for Club record £2m.

3rd May 1998

John Aldridge's final game as a player comes in 2-1 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers, where he scores both of Rovers' goals.

September 1998

Steve Simonsen sold to Everton for a reported £3.3m fee. The fee is subject to add-ons and therefore does not break Club record.

27th February 2000

Club plays in first-ever major cup final, losing 2-1 to Leicester City in League Cup final.

15th April 2000

Iain Hume becomes Club's youngest-ever player at 16 years, 169 days old.

27th January 2001

St. Yates' Day. Rovers defeat Everton 0-3 at Goodison Park in FA Cup fourth round.

20th February 2001

Oh my word…they've got a fourth! Tranmere come from 3-0 down at half-time to beat Southampton 4-3 in FA Cup fifth round replay at Prenton Park.

17th March 2001

John Aldridge resigns as Manager.

18th March 2001

Ray Mathias and Kevin Sheedy Artwork

Ray Mathias and Kevin Sheedy appointed Caretaker Managers.

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6th May 2001

Relegation Artwork

Club are relegated to Division Two, finishing bottom of Division One.

20th May 2001

Dave Watson Artwork

Dave Watson appointed Manager.

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17th February 2002

Rovers lose 0-4 at home to Tottenham Hotspur in FA Cup fifth round.

30th July 2002

Lose 0-7 in pre-season game against Birmingham City.

1st August 2002

Dave Watson sacked as Manager.

10th August 2002

Ray Mathias Artwork

Ray Mathias appointed Manager.

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Club's 75th season in the Football League.


Jason Koumas sold to West Bromwich Albion for Club record £2.25m.

12th April 2003

Gary Jones scores Club's 5000th Football League goal in 1-0 victory against Wycombe Wanderers.

26th April 2003

Game against Mansfield Town abandoned with Rovers 2-0 up after fan climbs onto Cowsheds roof.

3rd May 2003

Rovers end season on 80 points, a Football League Club record.

29th September 2003

John McMahon Artwork

Ray Mathias sacked as Manager. John McMahon appointed Caretaker Manager.

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12th October 2003

Brian Little Artwork

Brian Little appointed Manager.

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16th March 2004

Club's best-ever FA Cup run. Starting in first round, Rovers reach sixth round before losing 1-2 to Millwall in a replay.

13th and 17th May 2005

Club loses 5-6 on penalties to Hartlepool United in League One Play-off semi-finals.

22nd April 2006

A 0-3 loss at home to Bristol City is the Club's 3,500th Football League match.

5th May 2006

Brian Little leaves position as Manager.

9th June 2006

Ronnie Moore Artwork

Ronnie Moore reappointed Manager.

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10th November 2007

Club's 200th FA Cup tie ends in 2-1 win against Chesterfield.

2nd May 2009

Club miss League One Play-offs by two minutes against Scunthorpe United, drawing 1-1 after leading 1-0 until 88th minute.

5th June 2009

Ronnie Moore sacked as Manager.

14th June 2009

John Barnes Artwork

John Barnes appointed Manager.

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9th October 2009

Les Parry Artwork

John Barnes sacked as Manager. Les Parry appointed Caretaker Manager.

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8th May 2010

Club survives relegation on final day of 2009-10 season after 0-3 win at Stockport County.

4th March 2012

Les Parry sacked as Manager.

5th March 2012

Ronnie Moore Artwork

Ronnie Moore reappointed Manager.

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13th October 2012

Club posts best-ever Football League start, with 9 wins and 3 draws from first 12 matches.

17th February 2014

John McMahon Artwork

Ronnie Moore suspended. John McMahon appointed Caretaker Manager.

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9th April 2014

Ronnie Moore sacked as Manager.

3rd May 2014

Relegation Artwork

Club relegated to League Two after 1-2 defeat at home to Bradford City.

27th May 2014

Rob Edwards Artwork

Rob Edwards appointed Manager.

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11th August 2014

Club is purchased by Mark and Nicola Palios.

13th October 2014

Rob Edwards sacked as Manager.

16th October 2014

Micky Adams Artwork

Micky Adams appointed Manager.

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19th April 2015

Alan Rogers Artwork

Micky Adams leaves role as Manager. Alan Rogers appointed Caretaker Manager.

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25th April 2015

Relegation Artwork

Club relegated to non-League after 94-year tenure in Football League following 3-2 defeat away to Plymouth Argyle.

May 2nd 2015

Club plays final match in Football League, losing 0-1 at home to Bury.

5th May 2015

Gary Brabin Artwork

Gary Brabin appointed Manager.

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8th August 2015

First non-League match for 94 years ends in 1-0 home victory over Woking.

18th September 2016

Gary Brabin sacked as Manager.

19th September 2016

Paul Carden Artwork

Paul Carden appointed Caretaker Manager.

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7th October 2016

Micky Mellon Artwork

Micky Mellon appointed Manager. Paul Carden leaves role.

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29th April 2017

Club ends season second in National League with Club record 95 points.

14th May 2017

Tranmere lose 2017 National League Play-off final 3-1 to Forest Green Rovers.

12th May 2018

Trophy Artwork Promotion Artwork

Tranmere win 2018 National League Play-off final, beating Boreham Wood 2-1 despite playing with 10 men for 89 minutes. Club is promoted to League Two.

4th August 2018

First game back in the Football League, away to Stevenage in League Two. Game ends in a 2-2 draw.

11th August 2018

A thirteenth-minute James Norwood goal gives Tranmere a 1-0 home win over Cheltenham Town, their first since returning to the EFL.

14th August 2018

Rovers return to the League Cup after a three-year absence. They lose 1-3 at home to Walsall in the first round.

4th May 2019

Tranmere qualify for League Two play-offs, finishing 6th in their first season back in the EFL.

10th May 2019

Goal-line Technology Artwork

Goal-line technology used for first time at Prenton Park in Tranmere's 1-0 League Two play-off semi-final first-leg victory over Forest Green Rovers.

10th May 2019

Goal-line Technology Artwork Ollie Banks Artwork

Ollie Banks scores the first Tranmere goal confirmed by goal-line technology, scoring from distance in the 26th minute of the League Two play-off semi-final first-leg win against Forest Green Rovers.

25th May 2019

Trophy Artwork Promotion Artwork

Rovers win 2019 League Two Play-off final, Connor Jennings scoring a 119th-minute winner to beat Newport County 0-1 after extra time. Club is promoted to League One.

25th May 2019

Promotion Artwork Promotion Artwork

Tranmere secure back-to-back promotions for the first time in Club history, promoted from the fifth tier to the third tier in successive seasons.

4th January 2020

VAR Artwork

Tranmere's FA Cup Third Round tie at Watford is the first match in the Club's history to implement a Video Assistant Referee (VAR). Andrew Madley was named VAR, with Daniel Robathan assisting in a 3-3 draw. Tranmere came from 3-0 down to earn a replay with thier Premier League opponents.

4th January 2020

VAR Artwork Connor Jennings Artwork

Connor Jennings becomes the first Tranmere player to score a goal that is confirmed by VAR. His 65th-minute header was initially ruled out for offside before the VAR overturned the decision and confirmed the goal that made the score 3-1.

4th January 2020

VAR Artwork Paul Mullin Artwork

Paul Mullin's successful 87th-minute penalty is the first spot-kick awarded to Tranmere by VAR. A foul on Corey Blackett-Taylor was originally ruled as a free-kick for Rovers before VAR indicated the challenge had taken place in the penalty area. The goal completed a stunning 3-goal comeback for the SWA.