After a less than inspiring start to the new campaign, Rovers came away from the Abbey Stadium on Saturday with a lot more to be positive about.
Fans possibly feared the worst going away to the early season pace-setters Cambridge, especially given last week’s dismal showing against Cheltenham. However, whatever Mike Jackson was working on in training last week seemed to work as his team put in a commanding performance and undoubtedly deserved all three points.
Instead, they had to settle for a point in a goalless draw after James Vaughan had a goal controversially ruled out for offside.
Here are five big positives we can take from the game though.
- Rovers looked strong defensively
After last week’s 45-minute horror show at the back against Cheltenham, the prospect of trying to shutout a team that scored give goals away from home last time out was a bleak one.
However, led by the outstanding Peter Clarke, Rovers looked pretty solid and limited the hosts to a couple of half chances only. Clarke and Monthe towered above ex-Tranmere man Paul Mullin and dealt admirably with anything thrown their way.
- The midfield bossed it
Anyone who has plundered cash into the iFollow platform over the last few weeks will have witnessed a pretty weak midfield display in every outing. Soft-centred and with no creativity, we were outplayed by Port Vale, Harrogate, Mansfield and Cheltenham in that area.
Yesterday was a huge change. Banks and Spearing appear to have gelled into something quite promising in the middle of the park. Spearing was everywhere while Banks added the finesse with a great range of passing, often coming to collect the ball from the defence. Otis Khan also looks a threat and you have to think there is so much more to come from him. His first touch was outstanding yesterday, for the most part.
- Kaiyne Woolery got some minutes
There was much excitement when Woolery signed for Rovers a week or so ago, but he was sadly lacking match fitness. He made the bench yesterday and looked a handful when he came on for the closing stages of the game. He could be a real asset.
- Liam Feeney has genuine quality
Another new face recently was Liam Feeney. Feeney showed some glimpses of real quality against Cheltenham last week and was handed a start at Cambridge yesterday. He looks like one of those players who loves having the ball at his feet. He never seems to sprint away from his man, but instead strides around him and gets a cross into the box more often than not. As his fitness grows, so too will the threat he offers.
- We went there to win it
One thing which really did come across loud and clear yesterday was that Tranmere went to Cambridge to try and win the game. At no point were there signs that a point would do, in fact it was the home team replacing forwards for defenders in the closing stages.
So, all in all, a much-improved display from Tranmere. As fitness grows and the team gels, hopefully performances like that will be the norm rather than the exception. Fingers crossed that the goals will start flowing shortly as well.