Paul Mullin’s late penalty secured a point for Tranmere Rovers in a 1-1 draw against Southend United at Prenton Park on Friday night.
Tom Hopper’s early opener had Southend ahead at the half-time interval, but Mullin’s late spot-kick ensured Rovers earned a point.
Manager Micky Mellon made three changes to the starting XI that won 1-0 away to Coventry City on Sunday, with David Perkins and Neil Danns returning to the squad, while there was a start for Rushian Hepburn-Murphy.
With the game three minutes old, Simon Cox struck a 25-yard volley which failed to find the target, as the visitors created the first chance.
Southend led after eight minutes played when forward Hopper raced through one-on-one with Scott Davies, dinking the ball left-footed over the on-rushing Rovers captain.
On the half-hour mark, Timothee Dieng wasted a great opportunity for the Shrimpers, heading wide after a corner was glanced back into his path by Mark Milligan.
Rovers almost found themselves two behind five minutes later, when Davies dropped the ball on the edge of his penalty box, with Cox’s resulting lobbed effort going over the crossbar and landing on the roof of the net.
Up the other end, Tranmere had openings at goal towards the end of play.
Firstly, midfielder Perkins dragged a low left-footed shot wide from 10-yards out after the ball had dropped to him.
Corey Blackett-Taylor then couldn’t test Southend goalkeeper Nathan Bishop, striking over from Kieron Morris’ cross from the right.
After the break, Rovers threatened in front of the Argyle Satellite Taxis Kop when Liam Ridehalgh’s free-kick from the left, which found Danns, who set up Morris, but the midfielder’s goal-bound effort through a sea of players was cleared to safety.
Davies then had to push Isaac Hutchinson’s right-footed rising attempt from outside the box over the crossbar following a fast breakaway, as Gary Waddock’s Essex outfit pushed for a second on their travels.
Rovers nearly levelled in bizarre circumstances nine minutes into the second-half, when Stefan Payne chased down Bishop’s kick, with the ball ricocheting off the forward and narrowly missed.
Connor Jennings and Mullin were introduced, with the pair replacing Hepburn-Murphy and Blackett-Taylor, as Rovers pushed for a way back into the contest.
In the final 20 minutes of action, centre-back George Ray was agonizingly close to pulling Mellon’s men level, but Rovers’ number five was denied from a sprawling stop by Bishop on the line.
Rovers continued to pile on the pressure, with Danns seeing a right-footed shot from the left-side of the box turned behind for a corner.
And Tranmere’s endeavour saw them level on 84 minutes from the penalty spot after Mullin was dragged down in the area by Nathan Ralph, as referee David Webb pointed to the spot.
Following a delay, Mullin stepped up to thump the ball right-footed straight down the middle past Bishop.
Rovers almost won it in the closing stages, but Jennings’ curled attempt was blocked, with a battling point being gained.
Next up for Tranmere in Sky Bet League One is a trip to the Stadium of Light to play Sunderland on Tuesday night, 7:45pm kick-off.
TRFC: Davies, Caprice, Ray, Monthe, Ridehalgh, Morris, Danns, Perkins, Blackett-Taylor (Mullin 70) Hepburn-Murphy, (Jennings 65) Payne
Subs not used: Nelson, Pilling, Borthwick-Jackson, Wilson, Ponticelli
Tranmere Rovers are back at Prenton Park for a Friday night football clash under the floodlights when they host Southend United, 7:45pm kick-off, and we want the SWA to Pack the Park!
Micky Mellon’s men will aim for a second straight win after Corey Blackett-Taylor struck the only goal in a 1-0 win away against Coventry City on Sunday.
And affordable football returns to the Wirral as TRFC welcome the Shrimpers in Sky Bet League One, so come on down and back the lads as we continue our journey in the division.
It is a Friday night, there is no school on, so why not visit Wirral’s Family Club to watch some football and cheer on Rovers.
A Prenton Park tradition, Friday night football returns for the first time this season, and we know that we can count on the SWA to come out in force.
The last time Rovers played at Prenton Park on a Friday night saw Mellon’s men come out on top in the Sky Bet League Two Play-Off semi-final first leg versus Forest Green Rovers.
Ollie Banks’ stunning strike won it for Tranmere that night, with over 9,000 of the SWA packed in and supporting the team.
The SWA are the 12th man and have played an important role from the stands so far this term and Rovers need the support as we look to build on last weekend’s three-points.
And manager Mellon has said how important the SWA are to the players and the coaching staff.
Mellon said: “The fans stick with us all of the time, and they know what the job is and what we’re trying to do, and that is make a group of players who are playing at this level for the first time, be able to be consistently take part.
“We are consistently striving to help Tranmere Rovers Football Club grow and improve. Our main priority is to enhance the experience for the supporters.
“As a Club, we want to deliver for the people of the Wirral to try and give them a Football Club to be proud of who can go toe-to-toe under the lights.”
Tickets for the SWA are on sale and start from the below prices:
Senior (65+): £12
Young Persons (18-22): £12
U12s accompanied: £2
Tickets for TRFC vs Southend United under the floodlights on Friday night can be purchased by CLICKING HERE.