TRANMERE boss Nigel Adkins believes his players are still working hard to finish the season strongly despite drawing 1-1 with relegation-threatened Colchester.

Rovers took the lead in the seventh minute at Prenton Park when Kieron Morris nodded home Rob Apter’s perfectly flighted cross from six yards out.

But their joy was short lived as just 60 seconds later the visitors equalised through Alistair Smith’s effort from the edge of the area, which beat Luke McGee and found the bottom corner.

Tranmere almost retook the lead in the 17th minute when Apter once again delivered a wicked ball from the right-hand side, only for Morris’ header to be cleared off the line.

Further chances fell to the home side through Apter, Connor Jennings and Regan Hendry, while United’s Bradley Ihionvien saw his close-range effort saved by McGee in first-half stoppage-time.

Cameron McGeehan and Arthur Read were both thwarted by McGee after the break, while Morris was denied a second by a fine Owen Goodman save at the other end.

Tranmere almost won it at the death, only for substitute Josh Hawkes’ drive to go wide of the post with Goodman helpless.

Adkins said: “On another day we could have scored five or six, Kieron Morris alone could have scored five but he scored a good goal as it was and their goalkeeper was exceptional.

“We certainly gave it a good go today and at a time of the season when some people question the mentality of the players, we were up for it all the way through.

“We started brightly, got on the front foot and scored, but the biggest annoyance for me is conceding straight from kick-off.

“It was a good strike from the lad to be fair, but we were in there, made some good chances and played some good football, it’s just a shame we didn’t capitalise on that first goal.

“From my point of view, I know I’ve got a group of players who are trying and working and grafting for each other.”