Tranmere Rovers picked up their first point on the road when they drew 1-1 with Rotherham United at the New York Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Stefan Payne’s 95th minute equaliser gave Rovers a share of the spoils and sent the Super White Army delirious (check out the various videos available on social media to see what I mean).
Coming off the back of a disappointing 2-0 defeat away at Bristol Rovers, it was important that Tranmere responded the right way and got a positive result, and they did just that against a side which is tipped to be there or thereabouts come the end of the season. And the performance merited taking at least a point from South Yorkshire.
So, what have we learned from the latest game?
We fight until the end
If there’s one thing which can be said about Tranmere teams of late, it’s that they keep on going for the entire 90-odd minutes of a game.
Rovers have scored plenty of crucial late goals over the past few seasons. Remember Barrow away in 2016, Chester away a year later, oh, and Wembley last May of course!
It’s good to see that that trait still remains in the ranks despite a host of changes to the squad over the summer.
Before Saturday, we saw a late comeback (albeit not enough to gain a point) against Rochdale on the opening day of the campaign with a couple of late goals, and it was there for all to see once more this weekend.
After a strong performance and going a goal behind, it would perhaps be easy to feel sorry for yourselves and allow the game to peter out. But Micky Mellon’s side kept believing that an opportunity would arise, and thankfully Payne took it with both hands five minutes into stoppage time to give Rovers a point to bring back to Wirral.
The team spirit and togetherness was shown within the celebrations after the goal, with substitutes sprinting off the bench to join in.
It doesn’t matter how they go in
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. If we’re completely honest, the equaliser wasn’t the prettiest goal you’ll ever see, but that didn’t matter.
The ball was scrambled home by Payne after pinball around the Rotherham penalty area, but it ended in the back of the net which was the all important thing.
It sparked some incredible scenes from the 1000 or so of the Super White Army who were situated behind that goal, joining in the celebrations with the players.
We are a passionate bunch and that goal was celebrated as much as Connor Jennings’ winner at Wembley to secure us promotion last May.
A goal to secure a point away at Rotherham may not sound all that important, but it was a really valuable goal.
You don’t want to go back-to-back defeats, and after such a strong display by the team, it would have been harsh for that to have happened. So when the ball goes in with so little time left, you have to celebrate it!
Perhaps things went a little too far, but football is an emotional game. We love the game, we love our club. Take that away, and football is a rather dull environment.
Two up front away from home
For those of you who read my preview articles here last week building up to the game, you’ll know that I was expecting a 4-2-3-1 formation with a sole striker.
Pack the midfield area, make it difficult for the home side and try to frustrate them and stop them playing how they want to play.
However, Micky Mellon decided to go for two strikers in Paul Mullin alongside Payne and make Rotherham worry about the threat those two were going to cause to their defence.
It was a bold move, but Micky is not shy to make those types of brave decisions, and he got his just rewards in the end.