It was hard work but Tranmere Rovers picked up a point from a 1-1 draw against Southend United at Prenton Park.
Paul Mullin’s second half penalty cancelled out a first half strike by Shrimpers striker Tom Hopper as the points were shared.
It was a performance of endeavour rather than quality, as Rovers seemed to lack the cutting edge to open up a well organised Southend backline.
The deadlock was broken early on as the visitors cut through the Rovers rearguard like a hot knife through butter.
One simple ball over the top was all it took to see Hopper through on goal and he took his opportunity really well, dinking the ball over Scott Davies and into the net.
It could have been a larger deficit facing Rovers at half time. Timothee Dieng wasted a glorious chance, heading wide from four yards when it appeared easier to score, while a mistake from Davies allowed Simon Cox an opportunity but his lobbed effort flew narrowly over the crossbar.
Rovers were better after the break and they needed to be, yet Davies was still the busier of the two goalkeepers.
He made a couple of good saves to deny Cox and Isaac Hutchinson, while at the other end, fellow shot-stopper Nathan Bishop’s blushes were spared when his attempted clearance hit Stefan Payne but flew just over the crossbar.
An equaliser came five minutes before the end as substitute Paul Mullin was pulled down inside the penalty area.
The striker picked himself up, dusted himself down and slammed home an unstoppable spot-kick straight down the middle to draw the scores level and earn Rovers a point.
The injuries are certainly not helping Micky Mellon, and Corey Blackett-Taylor limped off in the second half to add to his worries on that front.
A trip to Sunderland awaits Tranmere on Tuesday evening. A daunting prospect at the best of times, but with all the injury problems, possibly more so.
That said, Micky Mellon won’t be making any such excuses and will be looking forward to another big game.