Wrexham 2, Tranmere Rovers 2

TRANMERE and Wrexham had to settle for a point apiece after playing out a thunderous two-all draw in front of more than 8,000 fans at the Racecourse Ground.

Ritchie Sutton gave Rovers an early lead but it was wiped out in the space of six minutes as Scott Quigley and a Chris Holroyd penalty turned the game on its head.

Andy Cook nodded home on the stroke of half-time to restore parity before the break and despite some chances for both sides after the break that's how the score remained, keeping both sides well in the promotion hunt.

Anticipation for this derby duel had reached fever pitch in the week leading up to the game to the extent that the match was a complete sell out by just past 10am on Saturday morning.

Only a point separated the two sides before the match, with an as- sault on the National League title very much in the minds of both clubs.

The match kicked off amid a thunderous atmosphere, the likes of which is rarely seen in non-league football.

The hosts were forced into an early change when James Jennings had to leave the field injured after only six minutes – allowing ex-Rover Raven to make his Wrexham debut.

Tranmere had the first real chance when Josh Ginnelly fired in a low drive from the edge of the box that forced Chris Dunn to tip the ball around the post at full stretch.

A minute later they were in front. A corner from Ginnelly wasn't dealt with by the hosts and Sutton was on hand to poke home from close range, sending the travelling supporters behind the goal delirious.

But only two minutes later Wrexham pulled level when Quigley was allowed too much space to turn in the Rovers' penalty area and struck a low shot past Rhys Taylor for the equaliser.

Buoyed by that goal, the Dragons ramped up the pressure and within minutes were awarded a penalty when goal scorer Sutton was adjudged to have pulled down Shaun Pearson in the 18-yard box.

Holroyd made no mistake from the spot to complete the swiftest of turnarounds before the congregation was given a chance to catch its breath.

With Quigley routinely getting the better of Tranmere's defenders, the giant centre forward teed up Marcus Kelly who fired one from distance just over the bar.

Rovers responded.

Andy Cook was denied a certain goal when he met Ridehalgh's free kick in the six-yard box, only to see Chris Dunn produce a tremendous reflex save to deny him.

A vicious dead ball from Adam Buxton caused havoc in the Wrexham defence but Jay Harris could only shank the loose ball over the bar.

But on the stroke of half time Tranmere got a deserved equaliser when the Dragons needlessly gave away a free kick on the edge of their box.

Buxton produced another sublime delivery but this time Cook rose highest to bullet home an unstoppable header.

Norwood then headed another corner over as the first half drew to a close with Rovers looking the stronger team.

After the break Wrexham enjoyed an early spell of pressure and when Taylor spilled a cross he had to rely on Ridehalgh to clear the danger on the line.

James Norwood stabbed a low in- swinging cross from Connor Jennings towards goal but it was easily held by Dunn.

Cook then got around the back but couldn’t pick a man out, as Rovers continued to look for a third.

But Wrexham were equally as interested in winning this match. First they were seemingly denied a penalty before Taylor scrambled to push a shot from Quigley around the post for a corner.

Chances were at a premium in the second half but the visitors continued to have the lion's share of possession with superior build up play to their hosts.

With quarter of an hour to play Ginnelly made way for Clarke as the left back was afforded the luxury of a wide midfield birth in search of a winner.

A free kick from Adam Buxton curled just over the bar, before Cook almost got the better of Pearson.

With just five minutes to play Norwood sprung the offside trap but was denied by the feet of Dunn before Cook's rebound was cleared off the line.

That was as close as either team came to a goal thereon as both teams had to settle for a point, with their promotion ambitions very much kept intact.

The real winner here however was football, enjoyed by a sell out crowd without the necessity of the marketing millions enjoyed by the Premier League.

Hopefully more will appreciate such an occasion on a regular basis going forward.

Micky Mellon said afterwards: "The game’s been decided again not by the quality of one of the out-field players – it's been by a referee again. I think over the course of the 90 minutes we edged it.

"Anyone who was here with a fair mind would have to say that Tranmere was the better side."