Tranmere Rovers suffered their first league defeat of the 2018-19 season when they were defeated 3-2 against Swindon Town on Saturday afternoon.
On the face of it, an unsurprisingly result. We always lose at Swindon. But the result far from tells the full story of the game at the County Ground.
Rovers began the game like a house on fire. And it was no surprise when Micky Mellon’s men took the lead on eight minutes as Connor Jennings linked up with James Norwood on the left edge of the penalty box. The latter brought the ball down with a sublime touch to feed the ball back to Jennings whose low cross found Jonny Smith at the back post who scored his first goal for the club after joining on loan from Bristol City in the summer.
Things went from good to excellent a few minutes later. A long ball forward was flicked on by Cole Stockton, straight into the path of Norwood who controlled before sliding the ball through the legs of the goalkeeper and into the back of the net.
The visitors looked fantastic, playing some good football and looking a constant threat, with the front four of Smith, Norwood, Stockton and Jennings causing all sorts of the problems for the home backline.
When things appear to be too good to be true, they normally are, and sadly this was one of those cases. Tranmere were soon reduced to 10 men after a red card for Jay Harris following a challenge on the halfway line.
So Rovers had their backs against the wall, and although still playing some good stuff, there was a bit more space for the hosts to exploit, and they duly did so to pull a goal back through Elijah Adebayo who was allowed through on goal a bit too easily before poking home past Scott Davies.
However, the lead was maintained until the break, and gave Micky Mellon a chance to regroup his troops.
Swindon dominated possession but very rarely threatened Davies’ goal. Rovers were working hard and keeping the hosts at bay until an equaliser was struck on the hour mark.
Marc Richards, an experienced striker and proven goalscorer, found himself in space 12 yards from goal and he took advantage of that fact when receiving the ball and firing into the bottom corner.
For the work rate, determination, and indeed quality that Rovers showed, a draw would have been a fair result, but sadly it was not to be, as with 16 minutes left on the clock, a rather fortunate ricochet led to the Swindon winner.
Joe Romanski could have do this again if he tried 100 times! A low cross found him 12 yards from goal. He tried to control the ball, and in doing so, the ball bounced off his standing foot and trickled into the bottom corner of the net.
There’s little time to dwell on the result. Rovers are back in action on Tuesday evening against Mansfield Town at Prenton Park.