Following Saturday’s defeat at Oxford United, there were more than a couple of Tranmere fans who probably feared the worst heading in to Tuesday night’s clash with Peterborough United at Prenton Park.
However, if there is one thing that Tranmere have been able to rely on over the past couple of years, it’s the Prenton Park atmosphere. Especially under the floodlights.
Micky Mellon had called on his team to up the tempo following the defeat at Oxford. We looked slow and sluggish. Last night, Rovers were like caged animals and couldn’t wait for the game to get underway.
While Peterborough showed glimpses of the quality they undoubtedly have, and arguably created openings easier than Tranmere did, it was the home side who pressed, harried and probably had the lion’s share of first half possession.
The early signs of encouragement from the team sparked the SWA in to life, and how. The diabolic officiating was also helping to build an increasingly intimidating atmosphere. The players were given a clear signal of how much the Prenton Park faithful appreciated their efforts on the half-time whistle as they left the field to a rousing standing ovation.
The second half was better still.
Rovers flew at the visitors again and piled on the pressure. Mullin and Payne upfront were tireless, chasing down Peterborough defenders at every chance. The home fans reacted to it and spurred them on.
Tranmere looked to be on the verge of forcing the ball home to take the lead only for a devastating counter-attack to stun Prenton Park as Posh took a 54thminute lead. Shortly afterwards, they scored again. 0-2.
All was not lost.
Despite the harsh scoreline, the SWA did not throw the towel in. The volume increased and the players fought hard even harder.
On 65 minutes, an exceptional run by Liam Ridehalgh saw the full-back find himself perfectly positioned to produce a stunning diving header in to the top corner. Rovers were back in it.
The atmosphere was at fever pitch. You only had to look at the reaction and body language from the Posh players – they knew they had landed in a battle and would have to dig in to get anything out of this.
The team and fans pushed as one. And then Ollie Banks stepped-up to the plate.
His unbelievable volley was a contender for Goal of the Season and got Rovers on terms. The Kop was shaking like the old days as all three home stands increased the volume.
Rovers went for the jugular. Aside from the odd counter-attack, there only looked like being one winner from here on in. While that winning goal didn’t materialise, it was a timely reminder of just what an impact we – the fans – can make on games.
The players gave us the encouragement early on and we took hold of the place and carried them forwards. Make no bones about it, it had to be intimidating for opposition players. Keep this up and we will give anyone a game at Prenton Park.
Well done to all.