By George Williamson
Tranmere Rovers boss Micky Mellon lamented fine margins and a touch of misfortune in what he described as a “very tight game” as he watched his side concede a stoppage time own goal to lose 1-0 to Gateshead on Saturday afternoon.
Ritchie Sutton’s own goal with the final meaningful kick of the game gave Gateshead all three points, and Mellon’s disappointment was palpable after the final whistle.
He said: “It’s difficult to take, I couldn’t really fault the lads’ effort levels and it was a very, very tight game but it’s a cruel game at times isn’t it?
“We always knew we were going to give it everything we could, it just never seemed to break for us but in terms of quality and trying to do the right things I couldn’t fault (the players), it’s a real sore one for them.
“We played some really good stuff and did everything I could have asked of them apart from put the ball in the net.”
Ollie Banks signed for the club just 24 hours beforehand, and was handed his first start during the match.
On how the new signing performed, Mellon said: “He’s a very, very good player. We work very hard to try to get players in.
“We’re down to the bare bones in midfield, we didn’t have anyone else to go in there.”
Mellon was also pressed on the decision to start Larnell Cole, as well as bringing Devarn Green off the bench.“With (Cole’s) performance, I think he was ready (to start), he’s been excellent the whole game and I think the threat that he has, the fantastic ability that he has, he’ll be disappointed not to score that one-on-one in the first half.
“He gave an all-round type of performance.”
“We just tried to finish it as attacking as possible and give ourselves the best possible chance to win it. We ended up playing with two wingers and have a right good go, which we did, but it just wasn’t to be in the end.”
Liam Ridehalgh limped off during the second half after picking up a knock, and Mellon had his say on the incident, as well as giving an update on the injury situation.
“We have players who are capable of filling in, Evan (Gumbs) has gone in there at right back, (Adam Buxton) has gone over to the left and done a brilliant job for us, so no, I couldn’t fault them.
“It’s an ankle injury, he’s had a bad tackle and nobody gets punished which I just don’t understand but that’s a side issue, I don’t wanna get involved in that. We’re obviously very disappointed with the result in the end.”
“We’ll have to see (the extent of the injury). It’s not like him to come off so we’ll very quickly have to find out where he’s up to.”
“(For McNulty), it’s a cut on the head, above the eye, from a clash of heads but you know what he’s like, just bandage him up and he’ll get on with it.”
“None of the injured players will be back (for Tuesday’s game against Macclesfield).
“Connor (Jennings) will obviously be back with his suspension up, but I couldn’t fault the performance of any of the players today.The gaffer seemed very upbeat on the performance, despite the result, and is keen to brush Saturday’s defeat off as poor luck.
“I think the players were excellent from start to finish, the performance levels were very good, the jobs that they did was exactly what we wanted.
“If we’d taken one of the opportunities early on then maybe we could have opened the game up a bit more but they worked hard, they pressed hard, they tried to counter-attack well, we played the wingers, got a lot of balls in the box, defended within the box well, kept our shape, I couldn’t really fault them.”
“That’s the way league football is, it’s what you’ve got to do, you’ve got to get on with that.
“We’ve got to dust ourselves down, it’s a relentless season.
“We’ve got to get ourselves back on the road and do what professionals do and get going again on Monday.
“Today showed they’ve moved on very quickly from (Wednesday), they want to get on and do well for the football club.
“You’ve seen the character today, the self-belief, the performance level was very, very good.
“We just came out on the wrong end of a last minute own goal.”