Leyton Orient 1, Tranmere 1

RESILIENT Tranmere had to settle for a point in a lung-busting mud bath battle with Leyton Orient at Brisbane Road, but their promotion goal remains on course.

Ritchie Sutton scored his fourth goal of the season just before the break to give Rovers a half-time lead but they were pegged back by the O's Dan Holman early in the second period.

Andy Cook and Connor Jennings hit the post and crossbar respectively but in very heavy conditions the sides had to settle for a point apiece.

The draw temporarily moved Tranmere up to third place, their highest league position this season.

Micky Mellon made one change to the side that saw off Ebbsfleet last weekend, with Scott Davies returning to goal at the expense of Rhys Taylor.

After an eventless opening, Orient had the first real chance of the match in the ninth minute when a second ball broke for Holman on the edge of the box but he skewed his 20-yard shot well wide.

Dean Brill palmed a Ridehalgh free kick behind for a corner before a shot from Jay Harris forced another one, as Rovers responded.

Ollie Norburn then knocked one over the top for James Norwood but he couldn't get enough purchase on his side-footed effort.

Jake Caprice jinked past Tranmere's Jay Harris before firing an effort just over the bar in the game's first moment of genuine quality.

Harris was then dispossessed on the edge of his own penalty area with Ridehalgh having to coming to his rescue – blocking a James Brophy shot from close range.

A strike from Connor Jennings was then diverted just wide by Norwood as these two ex-Football League sides took it in turn to attack.

A 25-yard effort from Ebou Adams was deflected just over Davies' crossbar, but the experienced stopper was able to make a clean catch from the resultant corner, before getting down low to deny Craig Clay moments later.

Ten minutes before the break Norwood picked the pocket of George Elokobi but ignored the run of Harris to try and get a shot off in a crowd, wasting the chance in the process.

But with half-time approaching Tranmere took the lead when Ritchie Sutton nodded home Josh Ginnelly's corner from close range sending the travelling supporters wild.

Orient responded immediately, with Holman getting around the back of the Rovers defence before Ridehalgh headed his cross off the line.

Early in the second half Norwood had a golden opportunity to put Rovers two goals up, when he dispossessed Elokobi again but on his weaker right foot he blazed over the bar.

He would pay for that miss when on 53 minutes Orient drew level.

Macauley Bonne met a cross from Caprice and although Davies saved his shot the rebound effort from Holman hit the goalkeeper's back and squirmed over the line.

The hosts were by now enjoying the best spell of the match and con- tinued to push Tranmere further back without truly testing Davies.

Ridehalgh collected a booking before Josh Koroma hit a 20-yard free kick straight into the clutches of Davies.

Rovers then had a great chance to re-take the lead when Elokobi was dispossessed yet again – this time by Andy Cook – but Brill got some- thing on his shot and it scraped off the post for a corner.

With Ben Tollitt on for Ginnelly, Rovers went on the attack.

Brill saved a shot from Cook before Connor Jennings saw his rebound somehow stay out via the crossbar.

At the other end Davies spilled a shot, which was mopped up by Sutton but nevertheless he was relived to see the lineman’s flag up for off-side.

A Rovers counter attack put Tollitt in on goal but he cut inside and lost momentum with his shot eventually blocked.

Late on, a shot from Holman was heroically blocked by Sutton before Davies just about dealt with a cross from Caprice.

Rovers came close to winning this epic battle in injury time when a mazy run from Tollitt saw Norwood slipped in on goal but he was denied by Brill yet again.

It could have been all three points for Tranmere in the end here but this was, without question, a hardearned point that keeps the title tilt on track.

Rovers manager Micky Mellon said afterwards: "At the start of the second half we've had a one-v-one with the goalkeeper and I think we've probably had four chances that in any given day you'd be disappointed not to take.

"That's what happens when you play for Tranmere. You make these chances and then you've got to take them. We didn't.

"That was probably the tale of the game. Even at the end what got another one.

"Before we even came here I knew this was going to be a difficult game.

"It was in difficult conditions with two teams going at it hammer and


"But I don't think anyone in the stadium could say that we didn't have the best clear cut chances."

Rovers National League campaign continues this Saturday, when they face Bromley at Prenton Park.