Game of two halves as Tranmere pick up a point


Tranmere Rovers produced a spirited fightback to come from two goals down to draw 2-2 with Gillingham at Prenton Park.

Unsurprisingly, Rovers went in unchanged from last time out against Rotherham United, with new signing Cameron Borthwick-Jackson named among the substitutes.

Rovers were a lick of paint away from taking the lead with the first attack of the game. Paul Mullin cut inside from the left and curled a delightful effort around a defender only to see it bounce back into play off the far upright.

It was a bright start from the hosts, but Gillingham showed their threat from set pieces. A big, physical, strong side, as you may expect from a team managed by Steve Evans, they capitalised from a left wing corner to open the scoring.

Scott Davies parried away a header on goal, but first to react was Gills striker Alex Jakubiak who tapped home at the back post ahead of a flat-footed Rovers rearguard.

Tranmere tried to keep playing but they lacked the final killer ball to cause the Gillingham backline too many problems.

Then an individual error awarded the visitors with a simple second goal.

Former Tranmere loanee Ben Pringle floated a high cross into the box. Davies went for the ball at the back post but could only palm it into the path of Alfie Jones who had the simple task of side-footing into an empty net.

The Rovers captain doesn’t make many mistakes, indeed he had earlier made an excellent save to deny Mikael Mandron after a poorly placed back-pass by Kieron Morris.

Morris and Sid Nelson were withdrawn from the action at the break, with Ollie Banks and Calum Woods taking their places.

The changes gave the side a better balance and, straight away, you could see such a positive impact as Rovers looked to go in search of a way back into the game.

Pressure was building on the Gillingham goal with plenty of goalscoring chances being created.

Goalkeeper Jack Bonham made a couple of decent saves while a number of efforts went narrowly off target, but it appeared only a matter of time before Tranmere made a breakthrough.

They were given an ideal opportunity to do so midway through the second half when Mullin, who was a constant threat all afternoon, did well on the left before he was felled inside the penalty area.

The referee had no hesitation and pointed to the spot. Mullin dusted himself down, took a deep breath and fired a powerful effort towards the bottom corner only for Bonham to produce an excellent save to turn the ball around the post.

The goal did come, from the resulting corner in fact. The left wing set piece was headed against the crossbar before pinball inside the six yard box, the ball breaking nicely for Connor Jennings who steered home with the outside of his right foot.

Momentum was well and truly on Rovers’ side and the equaliser came shortly afterwards.

A good move down the right saw good link up play between Stefan Payne and Mullin, the former laying the ball to the latter who stroked a lovely left footed shot into the far corner.

With 20 minutes remaining, and noise levels increasing inside the stadium, there was only one team looking likely to win the game.

Rushian Hepburn-Murphy came on for the excellent but shattered Mullin, and the on-loan Aston Villa man caused one or two problems for the Gills defence, but it wasn’t quite enough to get the all-important winning goal.

After going two goals down, and in the manner they were conceded, Rovers responded in the perfect manner and thoroughly deserved at least a point.

The half time changes worked a treat and it was a very dynamic second half performance.

Calum Woods, in his first real action in a Tranmere shirt, came on and did well down the right. He offered a more natural option in the right-back position and defended and attacked to equal good effect.

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