Tranmere Rovers v Southend United : Match report.

‘A poor performance under the Friday night lights of Prenton Park’

Micky Mellon’s side continue their unbeaten run with a disappointing 1-1 home draw with Southend United. There was a few changes to the side that were victorious at Coventry, with Sundays 1-0 ‘smash and grab win’ : Hepburn-Murphy replaced the injured Mullin and Danns, first game back from international duty with Guyana, replaced the injured Potter.

There was also a return for Jennings (from suspension) and Wilson (from the treatment table) as they take up a place on the bench. 

There was nothing much to separate the two sides from kick off, as both sides performed with an attacking urge. George Ray making an excellent slide tackle to stop a left-winged attack and , at the other end, Hepburn-Murphy whipped in a dangerous cross that the opposition headed away. However, it was the visitors that opened the scoreline. Gary Waddock’s chosen attacker, Hopper, racing clear to lift the ball over Davies. 

Blackett-Taylor, similar to previous performances, continued to ‘toy’ with the opposing defenders. He drove the ball from the wing into the box to eventually be awarded with a corner. The corner, taken by Morris, reached Ray at the back post who tried to nod it down for a white shirt but it unfortunately found no-one. 

Just previous to the half-hour mark, Southend United nearly doubled their lead. ‘The shrimpers’ attacker, Cox, missing a great chance as he heads wide from six yards.

Scott Davies awarded the opposition with a good chance to double their lead, after he dropped the ball in a none-pressurised location. The ball fell to Cox, who had previously missed a header, who attempted to ‘lob’ Davies but fired agonisingly onto the roof of the net. 

An attack fell to Tranmere midfielder, Perkins, who failed to level the scoreline after his shot was dragged well wide inside the box. 

The second half was very much dominated by Mellon’s side, evidently there were rallying words at half time. 

The first attack of the second half came after a great link up on the left hand side, through Perkins and Ridehalgh. The link up play ended with a throw-in deep inside the Southend half. Nothing came of the throw-in but the next few minutes was a time in which Tranmere should’ve levelled the scoreboard. Danns setting up Morris to strike from inside the box but his goal-bound effort was cleared. After that, Payne’s work-rate nearly contributed to a goal. The striker closing down the Southend goalkeeper and the goal-kick ricocheted off him and narrowly goes over the bar. If the ball ended up in the net, it would’ve been reminiscent of Max Power’s goal in the FA Cup against Swansea City (03/01/2015).

Mellon’s first substitution came mid-way through the second-half, Connor Jennings replacing Hepburn-Murphy as Tranmere looked to require more energy for the needed goal. 

The first booking of the game came straight after the first substitution, Monthe  taking down opposing striker , Humphrys, after a poor touch. 

Tranmere soon came agonisingly close to a levelled scoreline, Rays effort from the back post being cleared by Waddock’s defence.

Mellon then made his sides second substitution, Mullin replacing the injured Blackett-Taylor.

The following attacks came from the visitors, as they looked to make their lead comfortable. Two counter attacks ended with : Davies palming Cox’s goal-bound attempt around the post and McLaughlin curling over from 18 yards.

‘PENALTY TO ROVERS!’ Mullin dragged down inside the box whilst performing with the urge to level the scoreline. 

‘GOALLLL!’ Mullin hammered the ball into the roof of the net to eventually level the scoreline. With five minutes left, Tranmere’s new aim was to put the scoreline in their favour. 

However, the aim wasn’t reached. Connor Jennings with the final attempt as his shot deflected for a corner, the corner came to nothing.

Final result : Tranmere 1 Southend 1.

Attendance : 7066 (290 visitors)

Team line-up : 

Tranmere – Davies, Ridehalgh, Monthe, Ray, Caprice, Hepburn-Murphy (Jennings),  Perkins, Danns, Morris, Blackett-Taylor (Mullin), Payne. 

Southend – Bishop, Ralph, Milligan, Shaugnessy, Bwomono (Dmetriou), McLaughlin, Dieng, Hamilton, Hutchinson (Acquah), Hopper, Cox. 

What were Mellon’s thoughts on the game? 

We had a problem, and we had to try and fix it at half-time, and I think that we created the tempo then without being brilliant with the football, I felt we upped the tempo and looked more aggressive and in terms of spirit and desire. We keep going and we keep battling.

 “We eventually got that equaliser, and the only thing that beat us was time, but we know where we need to improve on moving forward.

 “I didn’t think that we started anywhere near the tempo that the game asked of us, that we didn’t for some reason want to meet or go above those levels, you sometimes get that and I don’t know why.

“You’ve got to try and make the tempo of the game, the running power of the game, the knockdowns of the game, we came out as the home team and we never really did that today, we gave away a really poor goal.

 “It is a really poor goal and you would have to say that, I’m just trying to make sure that I stand here and never make excuses.” 

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