|Callum Richardson headed us into an early lead|
The game had been rescheduled to Wednesday afternoon following Tranmere's pre-season plans clashing with the season start. It had meant our opening two fixtures had been played away from home and we’d managed a win and a defeat in these fixtures and were now hoping to get back to winning ways. Participation in yesterday's Development Squad game for some of our scholars meant that the starting XI could virtually pick itself.
The game kicked off and the first real attack lead to the opening goal. We forced a corner on the left wing and when the ball was swung over the Tranmere defence seemed more concerned with manhandling Lewis Nuttall. This allowed Aussie centre back Callum Richardson to run on and head the bouncing ball up into the roof of the net. It was simple stuff really and as ever the instant thought was of a potential rout.
It proved to be anything but though. Despite the fact that we were far and away the better side for the opening 30 minutes we never really seemed to genuinely threaten the Tranmere goal. Nuttall had a goalbound volley blocked, then screwed another shot wide. Brad Jackson on the right also shot wide when released by the lively Kevin Ly. We were fully in command in terms of possession and had the visitors chasing shadows, but just couldn’t capitalise. As the half drew to an end Tranmere had come more into the game but we reached the break still in front by the solitary goal.
The second started with no changes and again we had an early chance as Nuttall again saw a shot go just wide. Other than that though real openings were limited. The Tranmere keeper shovelled a misjudged cross/shot from the left round the post, and from a corner, a combination of Richardson and Alex Whitmore were unable to force the ball over the line.
We decided to change things up and made a triple substitution with Jackson, Andreas Bianga and Ntumba Massanka making way to be replaced by Khius Metz, Christian Hill and Nathan Lowe. It didn’t have the desired effect though and within minutes some careless play saw the ball get into our box and a Tranmere player felled. The ref didn’t hesitate and pointed to the spot. Callum Jakovlevs in the nets couldn’t make the save and in the visitors only shot on target they had grabbed the equaliser.
Our shape seemed to have gone and we were under the cosh. We did manage to recover though but were unable to retake the lead. Our best chance came with the last kick of the game as hill fired in a shot from distance that just whistled past the angle of post and bar.
Team:- Callum Jakovlevs, Charlie Holt, Andy Nugent, Alex Whitmore, Callum Richardson, Luke Daly, Kevin Ly, Andreas Bianga (Nathan Lowe), Brad Jackson (Christian Hill), Lewis Nuttall, Ntumba Massanka (Khius Metz).
Subs not used:- Conor Mitchell, Waqas Azam.