Norwood strikes again as Rovers held at Prenton Park


Tranmere Rovers were forced to settle for a solitary point at Prenton Park against Colchester United after a 1-1 draw.

It was that man James Norwood once again who netted for Rovers, making that seven goals in seven matches in League Two, one of the reasons he was named the division’s Player of the Month.

Micky Mellon made one change from the side which started at Northampton Town in the league last week. Zoumana Bakayogo returned to the starting line-up with Mark Ellis dropping down to the bench, with Manny Monthe shifting across to his preferred position of centre back.

Tranmere began the game well, on the front foot and taking the game to the opposition.

In the early stages, Jonny Smith forced the U’s goalkeeper to make a smart save after cutting inside from the right and striking a low left footed shot goalwards.

James Norwood reacts to a disallowed goal during the Sky Bet League Two match between Tranmere and Colchester United (Richard Ault/Tranmere Rovers)

Rovers had the ball in the back of the net shortly after when a cross from the left was met by the head of Norwood who sent a brilliant header into the far corner of the net. Unfortunately, though, the offside flag was raised, much to the disgust of the Rovers number 10, who later tweeted this.

You cannot let the disappointment affect you in a negative manner and Rovers kept playing good football and pressing the Colchester defence so they were unable to play out.

Luke McCullough and Ollie Banks were running the game in the middle of the park, and the Northern Ireland midfielder almost created a chance for Norwood with a diagonal pass which was a foot too far ahead of the striker.

Smith forced another save from the goalkeeper with Rovers in control of the game.

Midway through the first half, a calamitous moment almost cost Tranmere a goal. A dangerous ball forward was bouncing high. Steve McNulty was there to deal with the danger but it was a difficult bouncing ball to attempt to pass back to Scott Davies, and he underhit it, seeing the Colchester forward Luke Norris have a shot charged down by Rovers’ number before Ben Dickenson fired wide from the rebound.

That was a warning sign but Rovers continued to be the more threatening at the other end. Banks and then Cole Stockton went close before the deadlock was broken.

Good work by Stockton and Smith saw the ball out to the right edge of the penalty area with Norwood and he continued his rich vein of form in front of goal by firing a lovely low shot inside the far post and into the back of the net.

Seven goals in seven League Two matches, not a bad way of showing the Football League what you’re all about in your first season back at this level for some time.

The second half was a scrappy affair. The ball retention wasn’t quite so good for Rovers and Colchester came back into it.

There was a chance from a right wing corner which had to be expertly cleared away by Connor Jennings, ahead of the onrushing Harry Pell who would have had a simple task to head home from close range had it reached him.

It didn’t and he ended up in the net after tangling with the Rovers rearguard, getting patched up and returning with a tissue up his nose.

On the hour mark, the visitors from Essex equalised and it was Pell who was the man on the spot to capitalise this time.

A cross from the right wing was punched clear by Davies, but only as far as Pell, 12 yards out, who just nodded the ball back towards goal and in at the top corner.

Unperturbed by his error for the goal, Davies made a good save to deny a low shot from Sammie Szmodics before McNulty completed the clearance.

Davies came out and caught a few more high balls into his area, arguably what he could have done for the cross which led to the goal.

Stockton and Smith were replaced by Paul Mullin and Dylan Mottley-Henry as Micky Mellon rang the changes to regain some impetus.

And it almost made an immediate impact as Norwood crossed from the right, the ball found Jennings at the back post and his header was well saved by Dillon Barnes. The rebound found Mullin who had to take an extra touch before firing goalwards only for Barnes to make it a double save.

The last chance of the game fell Rovers’ way, as a cross by Jake Caprice ran through the area and Bakayogo was running onto it but his half volley skidded just wide.

So, the points were shared despite the hosts having the better of the game. Mistakes get punished at this level and you could say it is two points dropped. That said, it continues to be a solid start to the campaign in our first season back in the Football League and we remain unbeaten at Prenton Park.

Next up, an away match at Carlisle United next weekend.

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