Tranmere Rovers 2 Boreham Wood 2

TRANMERE staged a dramatic comeback at Prenton Park with super-subs Andy Cook and Andy Mangan rescuing a point from the jaws of defeat against Boreham Wood.

Second-half goals from Bruno Andrade and Angelo Balanta – the first of which was not without controversy – looked to be sending the Whites to their third defeat of the season.

But a trademark header from Cook with 10 minutes to play set up frantic finale and in the 90th minute Mangan struck an equaliser, denying the visitors what would have been a famous win.

Micky Mellon made three changes to the side that lost at Eastleigh last weekend, with Adam Buxton, Jay Harris and Andy Cook all dropping down to the bench.

Opting to play a tried and trusted 3-5-2 formation, Jay McEverley was recalled and there was a first start of the season for youngster Mitch Duggan at right wing back.

James Alabi partnered James Norwood up top.

An early mistake by Jay McEvereley let Shaun Jeffers in on goal for the visitors, but Scott Davies rushed out quickly to mop up the danger.

Bruno Andrade then sliced an effort well wide as the visitors signalled their attacking intent.

A cross from Liam Ridehalgh, narrowly evaded the head of James Alabi, as Rovers quickly responded.

Chances were at a premium in the opening quarter of an hour but Duggan drilled a low effort from 30 yards that Grant Smith struggled to hold onto.

Rovers sprung into life in the 22nd minute, when Liam Ridehalgh cut out a Wood attack and set off on the counter attack – eventually receiving the ball back from Alabi on the edge of the visitors’ box before hitting a tame left foot shot into the clutches of Smith.

Alabi then headed a Jeff Hughes corner over the bar, with Tranmere's best chance of the opening half hour.

The former Chester striker just failed to connect with a whipped cross from Ridehalgh five minutes later, as his search for a first competitive goal for Rovers continued.

As the home team, Tranmere were expected to take this game to their opponents, but all too often in the first half, moves broke down with over-hit passes or poor control.

Mellon's side looked like a team that had only scored in one of their first five games, but shortly before the break James Norwood cut in from the left side and fired a shot just over the Boreham Wood crossbar.

Rovers started the second half with more purpose and a floating corner from Hughes was almost turned in by Alabi at the far post.

The Super White Army rallied behind their team as the hosts went in search of a first win since August 8.

But in the 53rd minute the contest plummeted into controversy.

Rovers were denied a penalty when referee Paul Marsden failed to spot an apparent handball on the Boreham Wood goal line by Tom Champion.

But as Tranmere remonstrated, the sky blues broke away at the over end with Andrade getting the wrong side of Steve McNulty who brought down the former in the box.

This time Marsden pointed to the spot but incredibly only showed McNulty a yellow card.

Andrade converted the penalty himself – somewhat fortuitously – off the inside of the post.

Only days ago Mellon told supporters how last season the club submitted a report to the National League highlighting 19 errors a referee made in one match and he will have been less than impressed with the injustice witnessed at the Kop end here.

Enraged Rovers responded, with Hughes driving a powerful effort just wide of the post.

Mellon had seen enough of Alabi and hooked him for Cook with more than half an hour still to play.

But with just over 20 minutes left, Wood extended their lead with a moment of genuine quality.

As another Tranmere attack broke down Balanta ran into miles of space in the middle of the park and breezed past McNulty before curling the ball into the top corner.

With eight minutes remaining, Cook headed home from close range, setting up a grandstand finish.

Rovers pressed hard and in the 90th minute the visitors finally buckled.

A Cook flick-on was cut back by Norburn for Mangan, who side-footed home and wheeled away in delight, swinging his shirt above his head.

And rejuvenated Rovers nearly grabbed an astonishing winner deep in injury time when Norwood headed just wide at the far post.

It's only one win in six for struggling Tranmere, but at least here they showed the character and will to turn their slow start to the season around.

Rovers' boss Mickey Mellon said afterwards: "From the position we were in – to get something out of it – we're pleased with that.

"But overall, having to score three goals at home to try and win a game leaves us an awful lot to do.

"There were an awful lot of turning points in the game that did just that.

"I've just seen the penalty (not awarded) back and it's as bad as I've ever seen since I've been in football.

"How you can't see that – I'm not even exaggerating.

"Then we get a double-whammy because from that they go the other end of the pitch and take the lead.

"Hopefully that's a turning point – to come from 2-0 down so late in the game. The lad's deserve a lot of credit for that.

"There's obviously things that we're not happy with and we no we need to get better, but the situation that we’re in affects people.

"To dig it back –we're pleased."

Match stats

Tranmere Rovers 2: Cook (82), Mangan (90) 

Boreham Wood 2: Andrade (53) (p), Balanta (69) 

Half time: 0-0

Star man: Andy Cook (Tranmere striker)

Attendance: 4,295

Entertainment: 4/5

Ref rating: Paul Marsden (4/10)

Tranmere (3-5-2): Davies 5; Sutton 5, McNulty 3, McEverley 4; Duggan 5, Hughes 4 (Harris 72, 6), Norburn 5, Jennings 5 (Mangan 66, 7), Ridehalgh 6; Norwood 6, Alabi 4 (Cook 58, 7)

Subs not used: Pilling, Buxton

Boreham Wood (5-2-3): G Smith 6; K Smith 6, Woodards 6, Ricketts 7, Stephens 7, Shakes 7; Champion 6, Murtagh 6; Andrade 8, Balanta 8, Jeffers 7 (Benson 80, 6)

Subs not used: Wells, Johnson, Sach, Keita