Dagenham & Redbridge.........0
Paul Carden reinforced his managerial credentials in East London as 10-man Tranmere earned a gritty point against league leaders Dagenham on Saturday evening.
The Whites had to play on with a one man deficit for the final 35 minutes after Micheal Iheikwe picked up a second booking, but despite intense late pressure, they held on for a share of the spoils.
In fact, Rovers could have stolen all three points at the death, as Andy Cook volleyed wide with the goal at his mercy.
Interim manager Carden made only one change to the side that beat Woking last time out, bringing Jake Kirby back into midfield ahead of Portsmouth loanee Ben Tollitt.
After impressing last Saturday, Ritchie Sutton retained his place at right back, with Lee Vaughan unable to secure even a place on the bench.
After a scrappy start, the Daggers had the first chance of the match in the fourth minute, when Corey Whitely skewed wide an edge of the box knock-down from Oliver Hawkins.
James Norwood latched onto a long ball down the left flank from Liam Ridehalgh and surged into the box, forcing Elliot Justham to tip his left foot shot around the post.
And from the subsequent corner Lois Maynard should have given Rovers the lead, sticking a free header over the bar from six yards.
A corner from Jennings caused havoc in the Dagenham penalty area, with a handball appeal waved away before efforts from Maynard and Andy Cook were both blocked on the line.
The home crowd wanted a spot-kick when Whitely went to ground in the penalty area but the referee wasn’t interested and as play continued, Ihiekwe had to clear a by-line cross off the goal line.
Just before the half hour mark, Dagenham should have led when Jordan Maquire-Drew found space and cannoned a shot at goal, but Davies brilliantly tipped it round the post.
There was no let-up in the action as Cook’s close range header from Ridehalgh’s cross was cleared off the line – Rovers responding with interest.
The game continued to ebb and flow after the interval, with the hosts looking dangerous on the break.
As the Daggers raced out of the blocks on another counter attack, Ihiekwe ended it illegally and having already picked up an earlier booking, Rovers were left to play the final 36 minutes with one man deficit.
Carden’s charges were in no mood to feel sorry for themselves and set up to block the middle, limiting the hosts to long range efforts.
One such opportunity fell to Andre Boucaud on 65 minutes, but his low drive whistled the wrong side of Davies’ post.
Dagenham by now were naturally enjoying superior possession and a goalmouth scramble eventually saw the ball bobble through to Davies, as the 225 travelling supports sighed with relief.
Tranmere were still looking to nick the points on a set piece and when Ridehalgh found Cook at the far post inside the final 20 minutes the ex-Barrow hit man nodded down just wide of the goal.
But at times, Davies’ goal was living a charmed life. A close range header landed straight in the goalkeeper’s hands before another effort – ruled offside – was directed agonisingly across the goalmouth before skidding to safety.
With five minutes left, substitute Chris Assombalonga crashed a header against the post for Dagenham when it looked easier to score. Still spirited Tranmere hung on.
Back came Dagenham again but this time Davies produced a save of the highest order to deny a certain goal.
Incredibly, in the dying moments, Cook could have won it for Rovers in what would have been an unbelievable smash and grab, but in front of a yawning goal he pulled his volley wide and the points were shared.
Carden said: "From the off we took the game to Dagenham. It was a very entertaining 0-0 with chances at both ends, ‘keepers making saves, goalmouth incidents.
“It was a sloppy red card from Michael, he knows that. He put his hands up – he’s an honest lad, but we’ve got to be better in those situations. We had a spell when there were a few of us going to ground. The referee got it right. It was two fouls, two bookings.
“But we’ve weathered the storm at the end and we always looked dangerous, even with a man less.
"Credit to everyone. Credit to all the players, because they’ve dug in and put a proper shift in there. I think we’ve deserved something out of the game.
“He’s (Andy Cook) heartbroken in there. He’s got his head in his hands and won’t look at anyone, but that’s Cooky. That’s the feeling he’s got for the game.
"But he’ll get more chances and he’ll get more goals for this club. There’s no doubt about that and the work rate he put in today was first class.
“The players have their own fine school and Scotty’s had a couple this week – he actually runs it – so I said to him, you need a clean sheet bonus to pay your fines.
"There was nothing getting past him today. He was outstanding. But to a man they were all outstanding today.”
The result saw Rovers slip to seventh place in the National League.
Their next game will be against Gateshead at Prenton Park on Tuesday evening.
Dagenham & Redbridge 0
Tranmere Rovers 0
Half time: 0-0
Star man: Scott Davies (Tranmere goalkeeper).
Dagenham (4-4-2): Justham, Widdowson, Doe, Robinson, Okenabirhie (Assombalonga 84), Hawkins, Maquire-Drew (Howell 69), Boucaud, Whitely, Staunton Subs not used: Cousins, Robson, Ling
Tranmere (4-4-2): Davies, Sutton, McNulty, Ihiekwe, Ridehalgh, Maynard, S Jennings, Kirby (Jones 72), Arnold (Duggan 56), Norwood (Osborne 66), Cook
Subs not used: Turner, Tollitt
Bookings: Dagenham: Robinson, Bocaud Tranmere: Ihiekwe, S Jennings
Red cards: Tranmere, Ihiekwe