Town v Tranmere: 2 points lost…at least a point won
Readers of my blog post on Monday may be surprised that I’m not calling for Wilson’s immediate dismissal following the goalless draw with Tranmere at the County Ground last night. After all, I did clearly state from the next two home games “Six points are needed. Any less and we can kiss goodbye to League One”.
Yes, of course a win would’ve been fantastic, a massive boost and something to build on, but I witnessed just enough last night to provide some assurance Town were not going to keel-over to our opponents in the fight to avoid the drop.
Our improvement was helped by the four Town changes to the starting line-up, with Kevin Amankwaah, Andy Frampton, Michael Timlin and Thomas Dossevi all performing well, with Timlin deserving the man of the match.
Town were able to dominate large periods of the game, but found it difficult to penetrate a Tranmere side that was set out to defend the point.
The first half was a story of misjudged long passes with too much behind them. The aimless long balls from the defence brought back memories of Jerel Ifil clearing without a thought.
A year ago Austin’s firmly struck penalty would’ve flew into the net. Such is our lack of luck, and of course, goalkeeper Tony Warner’s excellent save, we couldn’t capitalise early on in the game.
For a short period following the penalty Tranmere took control. Our heads didn’t completely drop and credit to the Town players to remain firm and not capitulate. Fortunately Leteef Elford-Alliyu’s close-range shot hit the Swindon post and then he failed to bury an inviting rebound. Then later in the half Aaron Cresswell long-range free-kick tested Phil Smith, but Rovers couldn’t go into the break ahead.
Wilson made the needed change midway in the second half when the poorly performing JP McGovern was replaced with Alan O’Brien. Not much is expected of O’Brien, but for once he put in a reasonable performance down the left, actually chased the ball a bit, got clear of his marker, but his lack of crossing quality so lets him down time after time.
As the Town pressure on the Tranmere goal intensified, we had several good chances to get the lead, save for further good work from Warner.
We could’ve won it late on as Charlie Austin’s sharp turn and fired in a shot from an acute angle against the bar. It just wasn’t his day…
At least Phil Smith was alert to brilliantly tip over Adam McGurk’s excellent long range effort in the dying minutes of the game. Perhaps our luck had changed. Haven’t these been going in recently for our opponents?
At the final whistle, yes we didn’t get that needed win, but we held on. I’d disagree with some of the media reports of ‘a chorus of booing’, which clearly wasn’t the case as the improvement in the team was evident and support grew as the match progressed.
Moving on to Saturday.
Town face Exeter City and still desperately need to secure that vital win.
Town remain 14 games unbeaten in all competitions against the Grecians, a run that stretches back to 5th April 1980.
What better way to continue that excellent run and in the process secure a win.
Come On You Reds!