Tranmere’s return to League One didn’t exactly go according to plan as they were beaten 3-2 by Rochdale at Prenton Park on Saturday.
That said, despite some negativity on social media from fans, there were positives to take from the game. It’s likely to take Rovers some time to adapt back to League One, especially with a raft of new faces and already a couple of crucial injuries.
So, we’re going to look at those positives! Here’s our five:
1 – A solid first half
While Rovers came in one-down at the break, even the Rochdale manager stated he felt the first half was even and it was a tough match for his team. If we think about it, we created a handful of chances in the first period as well – two shots from Stefan Payne, a chance for Connor Jennings and a golden opportunity for Ponticelli from Perkins’ cross. We did okay, and on another day could have gone in to the break leading.
2 – Morgan Ferrier
New boy Morgan Ferrier was introduced as a half-time sub and most definitely livened the front line up. A big concern going in to this season was replacing James Norwood, and while Ferrier will have to go some to replicate Nors’ goal tally, his running and movement will certainly help the team. He looked lively, sharp and enthusiastic, and a constant danger to the Rochdale defence. He could be a real asset.
3 – David Perkins still going strong
A few fans may have had a slight concern at the back of their minds about whether Perks would still be as sharp this season. Afterall, we all remember Mark Rankine who was exceptional in his mid-30s during the 2014/15 season, only to struggle considerably the following year as age caught up with him. Perks was brilliant again on Saturday, arguably our best performer and the man who was trying to organise the team, win back possession and move forward with the ball.
4 – They showed spirit
3-0 down and being passed off the park, it would have been easy for Rovers to completely throw the towel in. However, even in the 89th minute we were still pressing to try and win the ball back. It was that pressure – by Rushian Hepburn-Murphy – that forced the Rochdale defender in to scoring an own goal. A few moments later, we had another. Whose to say that with another five minutes we wouldn’t have taken a point. One thing is for sure – we should never rule this team out of anything. Time and again they have overcome adversity over the last few seasons.
5 – The SWA
Finally, a huge positive has to be the fans. The SWA turned up in force to welcome the team back to League One and the atmosphere, particularly early on, was brilliant. If we replicate that every week between now and May, it’s only going to help the team.