Macclesfield Town 1, Tranmere Rovers 1

TRANMERE'S five match losing streak away from home was ended on New Year's Day but they had to settle for a point in a frustrating match against Macclesfield Town.

Connor Jennings gave Rovers a deserved lead just past the half hour mark but despite near-total domination they were pegged back just before the break by Koby Arthur and that’s how the score remained, keeping the Whites in ninth position.

No doubt with one eye on Friday's hugely anticipated FA Cup clash with Tottenham Hotspur, Micky Mellon made three changes to the side that drew with Yeovil last time out.

Steve McNulty was rested and Ritchie Sutton made way for Manny Monthe, as Tranmere reverted to a flat back four.

With Jennings supporting James Norwood in attack, Johnny Smith came in at the expense of Cole Stockton, while Jake Caprice earned a wide right midfield birth.

The first chance of the match fell to Rovers when James Norwood collected a pass from Connor Jennings and turned inside his marker, but Kieran O'Hara saved his left-footed shot.

Tranmere should have led 15 minutes in when Mark Ellis met an inviting cross from Jake Caprice, but his bullet header went the wrong side of the post.

The visitors were asking all of the questions early doors and Silkmen 'keeper O'Hara had to keep out a shot from Jonny Smith with his legs.

The Bristol City loanee saw another effort deflected wide but somehow the officials conspired to award a goal kick, to the absolute disgust of the Tranmere players.

O'Hara was working overtime on New Year's Day as he managed to push a free kick from Adam Buxton around the post from 30 yards before the Rovers right back curled another 25-yard dead ball just over the bar.

The Whites finally made the breakthrough just past the half hour mark when Jennings shrugged off his marker and drove forward before striking the ball into the bottom left corner of the net.

It looked like Tranmere would go on to net a bag full, but three minutes before the break the hosts drew level.

A ball from Tyrone Marsh found Arthur, whose initial shot was saved by Davies but with Rovers' defence napping, Arthur was able to put in the rebound.

Rovers went in pursuit of a winner soon after the break.

First Norwood fired on over the bar before a 20-yard effort from Jay Harris was heroically flicked behind for a corner by the head of Jamie Grimes.

But Macclesfield were renewed in confidence and were making a better fist of things in the second half, limiting the number of chances that the visitors could create.

Mellon brought on Larnell Cole with 22 minutes remaining, replacing the disappointing Smith.

Town had a real chance to snatch a winner quarter of an hour from the end, when Scott Wilson got in behind Ridehalgh, but his weak shot bobbled to safety.

Arthur then drove at the Tranmere defence but was foiled by Ridehalgh with a crucial block.

An ambitious effort from Caprice from the edge of the area was held by O'Hara as the visitors desperately looked for a winner.

A shot from Norwood was deflected wide for a corner late on before another corner was cleared away.

Rovers rallied in injury time but they couldn't carve out a decisive chance against a dogged Silkmen defence.

Overall a fair point, but it could have been more had Tranmere taken more of their chances in the first half.

Micky Mellon said afterwards: "In the first half we had complete control. We're disappointed not to have gone in a couple of goals up.

"Then, with probably their first effort on goal in the 18-yard box, they managed to get back in the game.

"We've lost too many away games. We're aware of that.

"We're very honest, especially with the form that we had coming into today.

"You've got to dig for the positives and the positive is that we've stopped that run of away defeats now, which we wanted to be able to do.

"We defended very well.

"Other than that wee bit of quality with the final pass or wee bit of combination play that's required to get results in these types of games was maybe all that was missing.

"I said to Connor Jennings that's as a good a performance as I've seen since I've been at the football club.

"I thought he was fantastic. It was a real throwback to the old striker role.

"We're obviously disappointed that we haven't won.

"We always want to win every game. But you've got to respect the point.

"I'm sorry we didn't get you a victory today.

"We're always working very hard to do that.

"It's a great club and a good time at the minute, so we'll keeping trying to win games of football."

Match stats:

Macclesfield Town 1 (Arthur 42)

Tranmere Rovers 1 (Jennings 32)

HT: 1-1

Referee: M Salisbury

Attendance: 3,398 (1382 away)

Match rating: 2/5

Star man: Connor Jennings (Tranmere forward)

Macclesfield (4-4-2): O'Hara, Fitzpatrick, Kelleher, Grimes, Marsh, Wilson, Lloyd, Maycock, Pearson (Welch-Hayes 46), Arthur (Napa 85), Rose

Subs not used: Hodgkiss, Lowe, Vincenti, Witaker, Idem

Tranmere (4-4-1-1): Davies, Buxton, Ellis, Monthe, Ridehalgh, Caprice, Harris, McCullough, Smith (Cole 68), Jennings, Norwood

Subs not used: George, McNulty, Stockton, Gilmour, Bakayogo, Mullin