Jan 13 2014 Main WIR
MANAGER Ronnie Moore has warned his Tranmere team that they cannot expect to win the fight to pull away from the League One relegation places by backing off the opposition.
Rovers held on to a place just outside the bottom four by taking a point from a 1-1 draw with promotion chasing Walsall.
But Tranmere had to raise their game and raise the tempo to come from behind after the visitors dominated the first half at Prenton Park.
Substitute Cole Stockton struck a 78th minute equaliser to cancel out a 19th minute opener from Saddlers’ midfielder Milan Lalkovic.
Moore said: "We are not good enough to give visiting teams a 45-minute start here.
"In the position we're in, we need to show some spirit, some guts and determination. That wasn't there in the first half and you ask why.
"Players get paid for running and chasing things. They are not extras to be paid for as a bonus. So we had a few words at half-time and then a little later in the second half we changed things tactically and went to 4-4-2."
Stockton, one of two young substitutes introduced when Tranmere withdrew experienced midfielders Andy Robinson and Jason Koumas on 65 minutes, notched his second goal of the season.
"Cole and Jake Kirby did well when they came on," Moore said. "The substitutions were tactical. We needed to change it. When we went to 4-4-2 I thought it gave us a bit of a chance.
"I had to make a decision and in the end it was justified. Of the two players who came on, one scored and the other (Kirby) made a great contribution. They sparked things off.
"I don't think Jason did too much wrong. Robbo wasn't happy when he came off but he never is."
Moore says he hopes the lessons from Tranmere's fightback will be learned. "We have to set the tempo here. We can't play the way we did in the first 45 minutes. You can't stand off a team like Walsall."
Moore said he was encouraged by the debut performance of teenage winger Matt Kennedy, who began a loan from Everton and with the performances of on-loan defenders Stephen Arthurworrey (from Fulham) and Matthew Pennington (also from Everton).
"We were brighter when we got Matt Kennedy on the ball," Moore said. "You can see what he is all about and he is going to be a crowd pleaser.”