Tranmere 1-0 Braintree – Mellon thrilled as Rovers close gap on top spot

“I’d have snatched your hand off for this position” says Micky Mellon after Tranmere’s win over Braintree.

The 1-0 victory, secured thanks to a strike by Andy Cook, leaves Rovers just two points off top spot in the National League.

The pressure was on the Super Whites to pick up a victory after Lincoln beat Forest Green at lunchtime.

Mellon admits that result changed his side’s mentality before kick-off at Prenton Park, and he was thrilled with how his players responded.

“I’m actually pleased that we’re only two points behind the league leaders today,” he said.

“It could have been eight before kick-off. I’d have felt a bit uncomfortable with that to be honest.

“Now all of a sudden it’s two. That’s not a bad day.

“I’m delighted that I’m saying that. If you’d have asked me that a couple of months ago, I’d have bit your hand off. In fact I’d have bitten both of them off.

“So I’m pleased with where we are. We’ll keep calm and we’ll keep trying to win games of football.”

It was a tense afternoon for Tranmere, who again had Cook to thank for securing the points.

They have, in fact, only won once by more than a goal at home in the league since Mellon took charge in October.

In truth, that total should stand at two after this game as a catalogue of chances went begging.

James Norwood missed one, Cook rattled the post with another and Jeff Hughes had a penalty saved after the break.

The finished, Mellon admits, left something to be desired.

“The quality of players that had them, you’d think they were nailed on to score,” he added.

“They were real good chances and then you miss a penalty, and the stakes are so high, it’s going to become a wee bit nervy.

“It becomes more about winning games, and that’s what they’ve done today.

“The crowd were magnificent. They got right behind us, stuck with us and roared us on.

“I always try and be fair with the boys. If we’re rubbish, I’ll tell you. If I thought the game was just about digging in and getting the result, I’ll say that, and that’s what it was today.

“The stakes were so high. We knew we were playing second. We knew we had to get three points today.

“We certainly could have had an easier afternoon by getting the second goal.

“But full credit to Braintree. They kept coming at us, kept fighting and that’s the beauty of this league.”

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