Tranmere recorded their first league win of the season on Saturday with a confident 2-0 victory over Scunthorpe, and it was a performance that rightly generated a lot of positivity.
After a slow, low-scoring pre-season and opening few competitive fixtures, Rovers fans were understandably concerned at how the team was looking as we go into a new era.
However, three weeks on from the opening day stalemate at Mansfield, victory over Scunthorpe will have left many supporters in a much more positive mood. Despite missing four of the team’s biggest attacking threats through injury and being up against it in the opening 20 minutes, things turned in the right direction.
A brace from James Vaughan – including his 100th career league goal – handed Tranmere the points.
Here’s just some of the positives to take from Saturday’s game:
As Scunthorpe dominated the early exchanges at Prenton Park, there was some concern that Tranmere could have ended up on the losing side again. However, as we all watched things transpire through iFollow, Mike Jackson made a telling change. Just 25 minutes in, he sacrificed striker Stefan Payne in favour of another midfielder.
It was a brave and bold move for the new manager to make, but it was incredibly effective. Rovers almost immediately started to control the game and Lewis – the man who replaced Payne – assisted Vaughan’s opener shortly before the break.
Jackson has a very tough job in following Micky Mellon as Rovers boss but being able to identify changes early on in games like this and being brave enough to make the changes required bodes well. Full marks to Jacko on Saturday.
It could (should) have been more than 2-0
Once Vaughan had doubled his and Tranmere’s tally, there was only going to be one winner. Rovers were dominant, using possession well when they had it and counter-attacking when they’d won it back in their own half. We struggled to create any chances in the games against Harrogate, Mansfield and Port Vale, however, we created plenty on Saturday. With Vaughan having a shot cleared off the line and Manny Monthe missing an absolute sitter, the visitors got away lightly with only a 2-0 defeat.
Lots of attacking options still to return
Another really encouraging aspect of Saturday’s performance was that Rovers created lots of chances despite being without four of their most dangerous players. Morgan Ferrier, Corey Blackett-Taylor, Liam Feeney and Kaiyne Woolery all missed out through injury. These four players have pace and attacking threat in bucket fulls, so to be so potent going forward with that quartet still to return is impressive.
James Vaughan is scoring goals
Securing the services of James Vaughan on a permanent basis could prove to be one of Tranmere’s most significant signings for some time. The experienced frontman has looked a threat since he first signed on loan last season and he already has five goals to his name this campaign. His form and fitness will be key to the team this season.
Banks and Spearing partnership looks encouraging
Retaining Ollie Banks and signing Jay Spearing over the summer looked like great business, but it’s possibly fair to say that the pair hadn’t exactly hit the ground running to begin with this season. However, as they undoubtedly get fitter and understand each other’s playing styles, their performance improves. They look superb alongside each other in the heart of midfield on Saturday with Spearing tasked with winning back possession and Rovers putting most of the play through Banks for his range of passing. Very encouraging signs.