Tranmere Rovers boss Micky Mellon was disappointed in the manner his side conceded following a 2-0 defeat against Portsmouth.
A goal at the start of either half from Sean Raggett and Ryan Williams gave promotion-chasing Pompey all three points at Prenton Park.
Tranmere entered the contest off the back off of a disappointing result against Doncaster mid-week but had the best route of response.
A fast start was needed, and despite Rovers showing what they can produce in the opening exchanges, it was the away side who took the lead. Tranmere fell asleep and Raggett opened the scoring, much to the dismay of their manager.
“We, again, defended poorly. You don’t give yourself a chance if you are conceding goals [like we did],” said Mellon in his post-match press conference.
“To lose goals like that, when we did, at that stage of the game, would be tough for anybody to get over because they are soft goals. It isn’t something we have just started to do as well, it is something that has been there all season.”
And when Williams created some space in the 50th-minute, the Australian winger had ample time to pick his spot from the edge of the box and fire past Scott Davies, to give the visitors a commanding lead.
“I know people will say ‘fix it’ and that is what my job is, but we do everything that we can. We really do a lot. You could say that we are maybe working too hard [on defending] and making it too much of a focus, but I don’t know.
“Rest assured, there are a lot of hard hours that goes into getting it right to give ourselves a chance. But in the terms of the level that we are playing at, they were poor goals [to concede].
Despite falling to an early goal, Tranmere created much of the goalscoring opportunities in the first-half. Corey Blackett-Taylor found some space on the left, his cross fell perfectly at the feet of Andy Cook, but the striker was unable to guide his effort past Alex Bass.
The forward was in the thick of it moments later, as Cook came agonisingly close to latching onto Blackett-Taylor’s cross.
“I would have to say that I thought we were the better side in the first-half and looked like the side most likely to score,” Mellon explained.
“But to get undone from a free-kick is just ridiculous. The team kept going, however, and when we got in at half-time we were very frustrated because we did feel we had been the better side.
“We spoke at the break about the opening 15 minutes, about being better because we have been punished too many times in that period.
“We then make another mistake from a clearance and all of a sudden they are in on goal, again.
“The lads keep going, though, and kept working their socks off. When Neil Danns came on and really put a shift in. So, a couple of moments have cost us.
With 15 games left and six-points from safety, Mellon and his players would admit that the next few months will be far from easy. With the inclusion of former striker Cook and known goalscorer James Vaughan, the signings brought over to Birkenhead are a positive sign of success.
Sometimes when a club is in search of a bit of form and positive energy, it is the supporters who carry them through and Mellon heaped praise on the immense support from the Prenton Park faithful during today’s game.
“I thought the supporters were magic today,” said Mellon.
“It can be very frustrating watching your club not win games of football, but I thought they were great and I have to give them credit for that.
“I know there will be frustration and anger, but I am telling them now that I accept that. However, they were great today.”
Image – Tranmere Rovers