TRANMERE Rovers started their new National League season a point up after drawing 0-0 against Torquay United.

Micky Mellon's side had to get through the game at Plainmoor with just nine players after Stephen McNulty and James Norwood were sent off during the second half.

The team started brightly and a chance fell to James Norwood in the opening two minutes, a cross finding its way through to him and after a sharp turn he fired a low shot which was saved by the legs of Gulls 'keeper Ryan Clarke.

Then the woodwork was struck for the first time of the afternoon when Liam Ridehalgh confidently struck a 25-yard free kick which clipped the top of the goal frame before Torquay scrambled the ball away from danger.

After the bright start by Rovers, the hosts gradually got themselves into the game although were only able to create half chances.

John-Paul Pittman headed over before Josh Gowling and namesake Jake had efforts on goal which failed to trouble Scott Davies.

Connor Jennings was picking up some good positions in the final third and had an effort saved by Clarke before a neat move down the right resulted in him firing a shot which was deflected on its way towards goal and cleared away.

And despite a lot of effort from both sides, the referee blew for half time with the score goalless.

The second half began quietly but 10 minutes in, Rovers were reduced to 10 men.

After an Adam Buxton challenge, and pushing and shoving between a number of players on both sides, the referee brandished a second yellow card of the afternoon to Stephen McNulty to end his afternoon.

Ritchie Sutton was soon introduced in place of Ollie Norburn to shore up the defence after the red card before James Alabi saw a shot deflected for a corner which Norwood headed over the bar.

Buxton fired in a piledriver of a free-kick from 35 yards on 62 minutes which Clarke did well to save before a Jeff Hughes delivery into the box caused mayhem, hit the crossbar before Alabi steered the ball off target as Rovers were still pressing for the decisive breakthrough goal.

With 16 minutes remaining, Alabi was withdrawn for the introduction of Andy Cook.

And with the man advantage, Torquay pressed too for a goal with Yan Klukowski firing narrowly wide and a series of dangerous crosses going into the penalty area, all well dealt with though by the Tranmere backline.

With five minutes of normal time remaining, James Norwood was given a straight red card by the referee for an off the ball incident.

The nine men battled hard and could have won it three minutes into injury time when Ridehalgh sent over a cross from the left and Cook rose above his marker but headed just wide.

The new season continues on Tuesday night, against Woking at Prenton Park.