Game of two halves as Rovers held at Macclesfield Town


Tranmere put in an excellent first half display before being dragged down to the level of the hosts after the break in a draw at Macclesfield.

Micky Mellon changed things up in the starting line-up as Manny Monthe, Jonny Smith and Adam Buxton came in for Steve McNulty, Ritchie Sutton and Cole Stockton. It allowed Jake Caprice to play more of a right-wing role as Rovers adopted something closely resembling a 4-4-2 with Connor Jennings playing just off Norwood upfront.

The formation worked during the first half as Tranmere came out confident and dominated the game. They were too good for Macclesfield whose defence was made to look slow and sloppy and their midfield was out-fought by Harris and McCullough.

Rovers came close to taking the lead with a couple of Adam Buxton free-kicks, the first one forcing the Macclesfield keeper in to a smart save down to his right as the ball bounced up in front of him.

Macclesfield goalkeeper Kieran O’Hara saves Adam Buxton’s free-kick during the Sky Bet League Two match between Macclesfield Town and Tranmere (Richard Ault/Tranmere Rovers)

Tranmere had missed a couple more great chances before they did eventually get the breakthrough on 32 minutes, a lovely run and curling finish by Connor Jennings who celebrated the opener with gusto.

Rovers really should have gone on to build on the lead, but somehow ended the half level. The first time Macclesfield had really attacked the Tranmere defence culminated in Koby Arthur somehow finding himself one-on-one with Davies at close-range. He beat the keeper to it and poked the ball home.

Given the first half dominance, you’d have been confident of a second half of quality, but instead the hosts changed something and managed to drag Tranmere down to their scrappy and untidy level.

Norwood went close from a tight angle early in the second period while the referee slowly lost control of the game as he made a succession of poor calls, not least booking Manny Monthe for protesting an abysmal free-kick decision given against him in the Macclesfield area.

James Norwood fires over during the second half of the Sky Bet League Two match between Macclesfield Town and Tranmere (Richard Ault/Tranmere Rovers)

Mellon introduced Larnell Cole to try and inject some creativity in to a game which was now devoid of quality, while Jake Caprice tormented up the right without ever producing a quality ball in. Norwood was isolated, and Rovers became increasingly frustrated.

There were a few worrying moments late on as Macclesfield broke and won a corner or two, but they didn’t have the quality to harm Rovers.

It ended all square, with Rovers desperately needing just a little bit of quality and freshness in January just to kick the team on again.

All eyes now turn to Friday’s mouth-watering FA Cup tie against Tottenham.

Happy New Year!

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