A win is a win, as they say, and although the EFL Trophy doesn’t quite capture the imagination of many supporters, Tranmere picking up a victory against Aston Villa Under-21 will hopefully boost the team’s confidence going into some important games.
Despite greatly reduced admission prices, the game attracted a crowd of only 978.
Rovers defeated the Young Villans 2-1 at Prenton Park, but yet again, had to come from a goal behind to do so.
Conceding the first goal has been a bad habit for Rovers so far this season, and Villa opened the scoring less than two minutes into the game as Cameron Archer fired past Luke Pilling.
From there on, Tranmere improved and got back on level terms when defender George Ray, back following a hamstring injury, netted his first goal for the club from a Corey Blackett-Taylor cross.
Rovers had to wait until 13 minutes from time to find themselves ahead. It was Blackett-Taylor who was the provider once more, impressing against his former employers. His corner was turned home by Connor Jennings, turning himself from villain to hero in the space of three days, to give Tranmere the victory.
Victory is enough to see Rovers progress into the next stages of the competition alongside Salford City, with the two sides to face off to see who tops the group next month.
Micky Mellon will be pleased with a number of things from tonight’s game.
Firstly, winning the game. No matter what competition, winning breeds confidence. And although there were a few changes to the side, and it will have a different look on Sunday at Coventry, the squad can take that confidence into an important league game now.
Secondly, with all the injury problems the squad has had to endure so far this season, are we beginning to turn a corner on that front? George Ray returned to action this evening and played 80 minutes, and hopefully one or two others will be returning to full fitness in the coming weeks. Light at the end of the tunnel? Fingers crossed.
It was also an opportunity to give game time to the likes of Cameron Borthwick-Jackson, Harvey Gilmour and Corey Blackett-Taylor. Those three players in particular have been on the fringes of the first XI of late, and the match sharpness they will have gained from tonight will help them going forward.