Tranmere came returned to Wirral late on Saturday evening and with nothing to show for their endeavours in a tough match at Ipswich Town.
Rovers travelled to Portman Road to face the unbeaten league leaders with little expectation from fans. But as is so often the case, the team gave us plenty to be positive about, especially during the first half.
If we’re being honest, this early in our return to League One we weren’t travelling to Suffolk expecting us to win. Ipswich are a club with vast resources and a lot of experience whereas Rovers are still very much finding their feet after a magnificent couple of years and back-to-back promotions.
That said, an excellent first half saw Tranmere probably edge it and go in to the second period with a genuine chance of winning the game. It wasn’t to be though as a quick-fire double soon had Micky Mellon’s team chasing the game.
Here are a few positives we took from the game:
- We’re competing well for long periods of games
Very few teams will leave Portman Road with points this season and it’s highly likely that the Tractor Boys will secure automatic promotion, you’d have thought. However, despite that, Rovers were fearless in the first half and took the game to their hosts.
There was no sitting back trying to pinch a draw here, Micky Mellon as always believes his team can win football matches and always sets them up to do just that. It took a worldie to put Ipswich ahead before Stefan Payne levelled it up. The second half probably hinged in a sloppy second (from our perspective) and from there on in it was an uphill task.
We’re 10 games in and we’re looking more competitive every week.
- We’ve got tonnes of character
We saw last week that being a goal down doesn’t faze this squad. We nearly got a point from 3-0 down against Rochdale, came from behind to draw at Rotherham (1-0 to 1-1) and at home to Gillingham (2-0 to 2-2), and rallied from behind to beat Burton last weekend. We went a goal down at Ipswich yesterday and immediately went on the attack and equalised. We can never be counted out of a game.
- We’re starting to score goals
The goals are starting to come a little easier than they were earlier in the season. We’ve scored five in the last three games and if we can begin tightening up at the other end, then the points should follow.
- We’re nowhere near full-strength
It seems that every season we’re fighting a huge injury list. At the moment we have Perkins, Miller, Ferrier, Maddox, Wilson, Gumbs, Woods, Ray and Ellis all missing. That’s nine first team players, at least eight of which you’d think would be in contention for a starting place. As these players begin to come back to fitness, it can only make Rovers stronger.
So, while the result yesterday wasn’t ideal, there is still plenty to be optimistic about. Next week’s game at home to Shrewsbury is a huge one for both teams.