Paul Mullin struck late to save Tranmere from a defeat to fellow relegation battlers, Southend United.

A relatively poor performance from Rovers saw the visitors dominate the majority of the chances throughout. The substitute Mullin’s late penalty cancelled out Tom Hopper’s early goal to hand both sides a much-needed point.

The first chance of the game came three minutes in, falling in Southend’s favour. Striker, Simon Cox, gathered a loose ball and hit a speculative effort, ultimately firing wide from 25-yards.

Bottom of the league Southend had the much livelier start, which paid off only eight minutes in. Tom Hopper beat the offside trap and caught onto the end of a long through-ball from Simon Cox. The number 9 took control and calmly chipped Tranmere goalkeeper, Scott Davies, from 15 yards.

Both sides seemed to operate more effectively on the counter attack, as chances came in quick succession 25 minutes in. Firstly, a Southend break failed to find a man on the end of a quick through-ball, before Rovers gathered possession and broke down the other end. This attack, however, was also safely dealt with by the United defence.

Southend continued their dominance, with an excellent chance 28 minutes in. An inviting Stephen Mclaughlin cross was met at the back post by Tim Dieng, who squared it back into the six-yard box for a Simon Cox free header. The former Irish international’s effort, however, just glanced wide of the post.

35-minutes in, Rovers goalkeeper, Scott Davies, failed to catch a simple ball on the edge of his area, with the fumbled ball once again falling into the path of the lively Simon Cox. The striker composed himself and attempted a chip from 25-yards, with Davies eventually managing to recover and see it over the bar.

Tranmere’s first real chance of the game came on the 40-minute-mark. United failed to properly clear their lines, resulting in a loose ball falling to David Perkins 10-yards out. Perkins, however, failed to connect properly and his feeble effort dragged well wide, much to the frustration of the home support.

Another chance came just moments later, as Corey Blackett-Taylor struck a perfect pass from Kieron Morris first time. The winger, however, fired well over from 18-yards.

As the second-half got underway, Southend immediately carried on their momentum. A failed clearance was met at the back post by McLaughlin, however the awkward angle meant his headed effort was just about dealt with by Davies.

On the 52-minute mark, Kieron Morris had a stinging low drive blocked from 10-yards out. Despite a tough challenge from United defender, Nathan Ralph, immediately afterward, Southend quickly broke down the other end where Isaac Hutchinson’s effort was parried wide of the post by Davies.

Southend goalkeeper, Nathan Bishop, narrowly avoided humiliation as his attempted clearance ricocheted off Stefan Payne. The resulting rebound only just flew over the crossbar to save the 19-year-old’s blushes.

After a quiet 10-minute spell, Rovers went close with three chances in quick succession. 71 minutes in, a loose ball from a corner was emphatically cleared by goalkeeper Bishop before another effort was quickly headed over the bar. The resulting corner then trickled through the six-yard box, however no one was able to convert the golden chance.

It was now Southend’s turn to make waste of some excellent chances, as Cox’s low effort was easily gathered by Davies. Newly substituted Stephen Humphries then found himself unmarked and onside in the six-yard box, but could not direct his effort on target.

With eight minutes to go, Tranmere were awarded a lifeline. Substitute Paul Mullin was clumsily brought down in the box and referee David Webb pointed to the spot with no hesitation. Despite a delay, in which a number of Southend players repeatedly encroached into the penalty area, Mullin stepped up to the spot and emphatically hammered it down the middle to bring Rovers level.

Despite a number of late chances for both sides to seal a winning goal, including a succession of Rovers corners, Tranmere failed to find a winning goal and the game ended at a stalemate.