Tranmere put in a gutsy performance to come from behind and clinch a draw against Blackpool at Prenton Park – a result that keeps them out of the relegation zone on goals scored.

Ben Heneghan gave the Seasiders the lead in the ninth minute but two minutes before the break Morgan Ferrier drew Rovers level with a fine individual goal and but for a superb late save by Mark Howard to deny Connor Jennings, the hosts could’ve taken all three points.

Micky Mellon made two changes to the side that suffered a Boxing Day defeat at Burton, bringing in Callum Woods and available-again Cory Blackett-Taylor for the injured Liam Ridehalgh and Rushian Hepburn-Murphy respectively. 

Attacking a Cowshed end packed full with away fans, Rovers had the first chance of the match, with Manny Monthe heading over from six yards after Kieron Morris had crossed from the by-line. 

But it was the Seasiders who took the lead in the ninth minute when Tranmere’s Achilles heel struck again. Failing to deal with the visitors’ first corner of the match, the ball was eventually bundled through Aaron Chapman’s legs on the line, with Heneghan claiming the last touch.

As away supporters continued to stream into the ground, Blackpool went on the attack again, with a cross from Liam Feeney finding Joe Nuttall, but Chapman was wise to it.

Simon Grayson’s team were keen to show how strong they were in the tackle but picked up a couple cautions along the way when they became overzealous.

Two minutes before the break, Rovers drew level when Ferrier collected a pass with his back to goal, used his strength to hold off his marker and expertly stroked the ball into the bottom corner.

Shortly after the break, Morris cut inside and pulled a left-footed shot just wide of the post before former Liverpool midfielder Jay Spearing skied an ambitious long-range effort at the other end.

As this fiercely contested game started to open up, Liam Feeney saw a shot blocked by Sid Nelson before Rovers counter-attacked, only for Ferrier to overrun the ball out of play.

Rovers’ ‘keeper Chapman then made a solid save to deny Callum Guy from the edge of the box, with the atmosphere turning white hot.

The on-loan stopper had to be at full stretch to keep out a header from Nuttall before Danns blocked a shot from the resultant corner. 

Tranmere were battling hard and when Blackett-Taylor fizzed a shot across the goal mouth, Ferrier was just inches away from turning it in.

But they went even closer two minutes from time as Jennings unleashed a vicious half-volley on the edge of the box, only to see Mark Howard make a stunning fingertip save before Ferrier hit the post with the rebound.

That would have been the icing on the cake for Tranmere, but instead they had to settle for a point in what was a thoroughly entertaining encounter played on a pitch more in keeping with Sunday League football.

Micky Mellon said: “That today is a Tranmere performance. That’s what’s required bare minimum. I was disappointed with how we competed against Burton Albion (on Boxing Day). It was nowhere near what we are as a football club.

“The crowd know what they want. Both sets of players had a right go on a beyond tough pitch.

“We made sure that we responded. We fought hard and ran with desire and all but for an unbelievable save – all credit to the boy – I’ve not seen a save like that in a long time. As soon as it left Connor Jennings’ foot I thought that’s in. I think that probably would’ve been a fair reflection on the game. 

“I thought we were the better side. We showed loads of qualities in a really tough game against a big physical Blackpool team who can you can see are prepare to play and dig in like they are every week.”

Match stats

Tranmere Rovers 1

Ferrier 43

Blackpool 1

Heneghan 9

Half time: 1-1

Referee: Tom Nield

Attendance: 8,487

Star man: Morgan Ferrier (Tranmere forward)

Match rating: 4/5

Tranmere team (4-5-1): Chapman, Caprice, Nelson, Monthe, Woods, Morris, Danns, Perkins, Jennings, Blackett-Taylor, Ferrier

Tranmere subs: Pilling, Ray, Potter, Mullin, Walker-Rice, Ponticelli, Payne

Blackpool team (4-4-2): Howard, Edwards, Heneghan, Spearing, Feeney (Delfouneso 72), Virtue, Turton, Gnanduillet (Kaikai 72), Nuttall, Guy, Husband

Blackpool subs: Hardie, Thompson, Tilt, Sims, MacDonald