An early goal of the season contender from Ollie Banks earned Tranmere a point against Peterborough in a thrilling 2-2 draw at Prenton Park.

Mo Eisa gave Posh the lead in the 54th minute before Ivan Toney doubled their advantage two minutes later.

But Liam Ridehalgh pulled one back for Rovers with a diving header on 65 minutes before Ollie Banks restored parity with a stupendous 30-yard volley.

In between Rovers’ goals Tranmere boss Micky Mellon was sent from the technical area by referee Tom Neild, but in doing so afforded himself the best seat in the house to witness the equaliser.

Mellon made three changes to the side that was humbled by Oxford United at the weekend, bringing in George Ray for the injured Calum Woods and Kieron Morris and Ollie Banks for Rushian Hepburn-Murphy and Connor Jennings respectively.

Rovers made a positive start, getting on the front foot straight from kick off. Their early endeavour failed to produce any real chances until Darren Potter fired an effort over the bar from the edge of the box just before the quarter of an hour mark.

United’s first opportunity arrived in the 19thminute, when Marcus Maddison put Toney in on goal, but Scott Davies was quick off his line to save at the striker’s feet.

Maddison wanted a penalty moments later when he went to ground under pressure from Potter but the Tranmere midfielder wasn’t impressed and neither was the referee.

Former Newport County left back Daniel Butler then blazed one over the bar, as Posh tried to force their hosts into a defensive mindset.

When Paul Mullin expertly controlled a ball into the box in the 28thminute it was nicked off his toe at the last moment, resulting in a corner.

A swift United counter-attack ended with Toney shooting straight at Davies, who was able to gather the shot at the second attempt.

The visitors clearly had plenty of pace and ability about them. When Josh Knight got around the back and crossed low, Toney was inches was from giving United the lead.

Rovers had their best chance of the first half five minutes before the break, when Stefan Payne got on the end of a brilliant cross from Banks, but he could only direct his header over the bar, when he should really have found the target.

Maddison forced another routine save out of Davies before the break, but there was little to choose between the sides at the midway point in the match.

Buoyed by the first half performance, Rovers went back on the attack after the restart.

Mullin turned his man on the edge of the box and saw his shot deflected wide for a corner. A goalmouth scramble on the next attack was desperately cleared by United before the hosts won another corner.

But caught in a wave of optimism, Tranmere momentarily became too cavalier in their approach and with too many players high up the field, United took the lead on a counter-attack, when Eisa evaded Ray and smashed the ball into the net.

They quickly added another barely two minutes later as Toney side-footed home a cross from Joseph Ward. Leaving Rovers reeling.

Payne had a golden opportunity to pull one back, shooting straight at Christy Pym from close range before bundling the rebound wide.

But Rovers got themselves back in the match with 25 minutes to play when Potter crossed from the right and Ridehalgh executed a diving header more befitting of a centre forward than a left back.

Following the restart, Mellon was involved in an altercation with the fourth official, resulting in the fiery Scot being sent to the stands.

He made his way to the directors’ box just in time to see his team equalise with a goal of the very highest quality.

With Posh only half clearing the ball, Banks collected it 30 yards out, first heading it into the air before unleashing a stupendous volley that arrowed home off the post, sending Prenton Park delirious.

Rovers weren’t done and pushed for a winner and it nearly arrived deep in injury time when Ray saw a towering header tipped around the post by the outstretched arm of Pym. 

A point was no less than what Tranmere deserved here as they churned out a performance of strength, confidence and most significantly stamina.

They will need all of that in spades to make an impact on League One this season.

Micky Mellon said: “We want to give the fans something worthwhile to watch. We’ve had a few years of trying to get to nights like tonight, to run toe-to-toe with a Peterborough team, who lets being honest, cost a fortune.

“I think you saw tonight that when we’re determined to hit the tempo of the game we’ll be a match for anybody.

“I think the goals when they came (against us) were a wee bit against the run of play, but they’ve got some terrific players at that end of the pitch.

“They time wasted. I raised my voice because it was mayhem at the time. The fourth official comes towards me and puts himself ‘this’ far away from me. I’m not going to accept that, so I moved him out of my personal space.

“I can’t even apologise to the Tranmere fans or my chairman for my behaviour. My conscious is completely clear. I don’t care because I went upstairs and had a great view of Ollie Banks’ goal anyway.”


Tranmere Rovers 2

Ridehalgh 65, Banks 70

Peterborough United 0

Eisa 54, Toney 56

Half time: 0-0

Referee: Tom Nield

Attendance: 5,243

Star man: Ollie Banks (Tranmere midfielder)

Match rating: 4/5

Tranmere team (3-5-2): Davies, Nelson, Ray, Monthe, Morris, Perkins, Potter (Jennings 93), Banks, Ridehalgh, Payne (Blackett-Taylor 81), Mullin

Tranmere subs: Pilling, Hepburn-Murphy, Ponticelli, Gilmour, Borthwick-Jackson

Peterborough team (4-4-2): Pym, Butler, Beevers, Kent, Eisa (Dembele 86), Knight, Maddison (Tasdemir 76), Reed, Toney, Ward, Mason

Gillingham subs: O’Malley, Thompson, Bennett, Kanu, Burrows