It was, as Jim Harvey predicted, a difficult game for the Shaymen as they went toe to toe with Tranmere Rovers. Town went into the game on the back of an impressive 5-0 victory over Tamworth in the First Round Proper of the FA Trophy on Tuesday night.
Harvey made two changes to the squad, bringing Keil O’Brien and Matty Brown into the starting line-up, whilst Shaquille McDonald was dropped to the bench and Ben Clappison was left out of the team.
Both sides started the game fiercely, with Kingsley James and Hamza Bencherif taking on Rovers keeper, Scott Davies in the opening few minutes. As Tranmere began to gain pace and pressure the Shaymen goal, Johnson was forced to pull off some impressive saves before James Norwood found himself in prime position to slot the ball into back of the net.
Tranmere’s Football League experience really shone through as the Rovers peppered Johnson with plenty of chances in the first half. Adam Mekki drifted the ball into the box, finding the head of former Shayman Lois Maynard, but he was unable to keep his shot down, sending the ball over the bar.
McManus broke free down the left wing minutes later to set up Kevin Roberts in the box who headed the ball inches wide of the post as the Shaymen looked to stage a comeback. To give credit to Town, they held their own in the final minutes of the first half.
A harsh tackle by Norwood saw Scott McManus go down on the edge of the pitch and following a knock earlier in the game, he was forced to leave the pitch and was replaced by Josh MacDonald.
Captain Nicky Wroe rewarded Town with the equaliser from a cracking shot 25 yards out as he watched the ball dip nicely into the back of the net while Davies could only watch as the Shaymen clawed back a goal.
Town managed to take the draw into the break after a tough 45 minutes but felt the full force of a strong attacking Tranmere side who dominated play.
Goal scorer, Norwood once again found himself in prime position in front of Johnson, but scuppered his chances sending his shot into the stand.
Wroe and Tuton linked up well during the course of the second half, with Tuton narrowly missing the net with a powerful shot on the edge of the box. A powerful defence from Tranmere meant the Shaymen had to look for other options down the wing, effectively leaving Burrow out of the game.
Tomlinson managed to break free, after Tuton’s shot with a driving run down the middle, passing the ball across the face of the goal mouth but there were no white shirts in the box to finish.
With six yellow cards shown throughout the course of the game, the referee was not afraid to dish out a punishment. A harsh fact that saw top goal scorer Jordan Burrow sent off following his second yellow card in the 86th minute. Burrow will now miss the Lincoln fixture on Boxing day following tonight’s 1-1 draw.
Despite a challenging performance from an experience Tranmere side, the Shaymen were able to see the 1-1 draw through to the end, leaving Town with an unbeaten streak of five goals since Jim Harvey stepped up to be caretaker manager.