Aug 19 2013 by Nick Hilton, Main WIR
MANAGER Ronnie Moore said he could take a lot of positives out of a 2-1 defeat at Crewe Alexandra which left Tranmere with just one point to show from the opening three League One fixtures.
Rovers were beaten by two goals from teenager Ryan Colclough after the dismissal of right-back Danny Holmes reduced the visitors to 10 men in the 34th minute.
An 87th-minute strike from Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro wasn’t enough to rescue any tangible reward from the afternoon but Moore was encouraged by the spirit and quality of the performance.
Moore said: “I saw a lot of Tranmere Rovers fight in that performance. We looked like a team. I thought the 10 men were magnificent. They gave everything.
“One player let the whole team down because he didn’t do his job right.
“We were unlucky because we were about to bring Danny Holmes off when he was sent off. The fates were against us.”
Holmes was given his marching orders for two bookable offences, both mistimed tackles.
Tranmere completed the loan signing of Andrai Jones earlier in the day and the right back from Barnsley was thrown into the action as a 37th-minute substitute in difficult circumstances. Liverpool-born Jones later set up Akpa Akpro’s goal.
Moore said: “We had good chances in the game. Jean-Louis could’ve had a hat-trick and I think we deserve to have got something out of the game. If we’d had 11 men on the field for 90 minutes I felt we would have won it.”
Tranmere went a goal down within eight minutes of Holmes’ dismissal, then kept the home side on the back foot for much of the second half, in spite of being a man short.
Moore said: “When you go 1-0 down and you are chasing the game with 10 men, the pitch is getting bigger. We did not go to 4-4-1 and leave one man up front because you invite the opposition on to you by doing that. We went with three in midfield and two up top so we could get at the opposition. We were a handful for them.
“Jean-Louis worked hard and looked like he is getting his sharpness back.”
Moore was also encouraged by the performance of his defenders. He threatened to move into the loan market if the back four did not tighten up their act after shipping six goals in the first two league games.
He said: “The back for looked like a back four. I gave them a warning and the defending was better. Crewe had limited chances for a home team.”
Rovers may still have to look at adding a defender to the squad however, after a training injury to Ian Goodison left them without defensive cover on Friday.
Jones’ loan was hastily arranged and Moore said was grateful to Barnsley manager David Flitcroft. “He was brilliant about it,” Moore said. “Jones is quick, attacking minded and has a long throw, which we can use with the right players.”
Meanwhile Tranmere have been drawn at home to Fleetwood Town in the first round of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy. The match takes place in the week beginning Sunday, September 1.