By George Williamson
- Ritchie Sutton nets his fourth goal of the season to give Rovers the lead
- Dan Holman equalised for Leyton Orient just after half-time
- Rovers hit the woodwork three times in the space of three minutes in the second half
- Tranmere up to third but four points off the top
Ritchie Sutton nodded in his fourth goal of the season against Leyton Orient on Saturday which helped his Tranmere Rovers side earn a hard-fought point that saw them move up to 3rd in the National League table.
Sutton’s header on the stroke of half-time had given Rovers the lead going into the break, and saw them sit at the peak of the table at half-time, but results elsewhere and an equaliser in this one by Dan Holman minutes after the restart puts Tranmere four points behind league leaders Macclesfield.
Scott Davies returned to action for Rovers for the first time since picking up a groin tear against Fylde on New Year’s Day, and he was called into action early, claiming a dangerous cross down low after Orient had started brightly.
The sprightly Holman dragged a shot wide as the hosts showed early warning signs, but Liam Ridehalgh was the first to force either keeper into a save, whipping a free-kick at goal that Dean Brill saved well after good work from Josh Ginnelly and Jay Harris had seen the latter fouled.
Connor Jennings slipped the ball through for James Norwood to give chase to, and his first-time effort was well saved again by Brill – who was probably the Man of the Match for the hosts – before Jake Caprice fired a wild effort over Davies’ bar in an end-to-end opening 20 minutes.
The first big chance of the game fell to Norwood, as he re-directed a Jennings shot inches wide of Brill’s goal.
After that though, the hosts began to get a stronger foothold in the game as Ebou Adams’ deflected effort almost beat Davies, before Craig Clay forced the keeper into a smart, low save.
James Brophy charged at the Rovers defence and slipped Macauley Bonne through, but again Davies was there to deny him, not knowing the offside flag had already been raised.
With the half winding to a close though, Ginnelly drilled in a corner that was met by a crunching header by Sutton to give Rovers a lead at the break that they would have felt they probably deserved.
Orient almost immediately got back into it though, with Ridehalgh reacted quickly to head Holman’s chipped shot off the line on the stroke of the interval.
Early in the second half, Holman grabbed the equaliser for the hosts, as he reacted quickest to put the ball into the back of the net after Davies had saved the initial shot well.
52: GOAAAAAAAAAAAAAL Dan Holman
— Leyton Orient (@leytonorientfc) February 10, 2018
That sparked a spell of pressure that could have easily resulted in Orient going ahead, with Holman almost chipping the ball over Davies from range and the Rovers keeper smartly keeping out a deflected effort that almost evaded him.
The introduction of Ben Tollitt changed the game for the visitors though, as they began to regain control of a game that had become increasingly end-to-end.
Rovers did create the majority of the more clear-cut chances though, and hit the woodwork three times in a three-minute spell.
First, Andy Cook was sent through one-on-one and had his shot tipped onto the post and behind by Brill, before Jennings whipped a shot that suffered the same fate. From the resulting corner, Cook had an effort saved by Brill before Jennings reacted quickest to the loose ball but could only strike the crossbar.
69′ | WOODWORK FOR A THIRD TIME! Jennings again hits the bar after he reacted first from Cook’s effort at goal. (1-1) #TRFC
— Tranmere Talk (@TranmereTalk) February 10, 2018
Into stoppage time, and there was still time for one last chance for Rovers, Tollitt skipped past a couple of players before playing in Norwood who beat the offside trap but couldn’t force the ball past Brill.
The end-to-end game eventually finished honours even, and although some may feel it’s two points dropped, Rovers could just as easily have come away with nothing from Brisbane Road.
Tranmere Rovers; Davies, Ridehalgh, Clarke, Sutton, McNulty, Norburn, Jennings, Harris, Ginnelly (Tollitt), Cook, Norwood.
Leyton Orient; Brill, Caprice, Coulson, Elokobi (Happe), Widdowson, Adams (Lawless), Clay, Koroma, Brophy (Reynolds), Holman, Bonne.
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