Tranmere Rovers 2(Hawkes 39, Hemmings 58) Sutton United 2 (Smith 11, 61)
Sutton picked up a well earned point at Prenton Park in a game where U's started and finished strongly, but were on the back foot either side of half time, with a draw a fair result at the end.
U's opted for an unchanged side after the New Year's Day win against Wimbledon, with David Ajiboye among the substitutes, and started excellently. Home defender Jordan Turnbull almost gifted U's the lead when he headed just wide of his own goal after Omar Bugiel had headed on Rob Milsom's free kick, but the goal that U's start deserved came when Will Randall collected a pass from Craig Eastmond and cut in from the left before finding Donovan Wilson. The ball was moved quickly and slickly from Wilson to Bugiel to Ali Smith, who slotted his first league goal of the season past Ross Doohan.
Tranmere came in to the game more as the half went on, and after Chris Merrie and Kieron Morris had sent shots wide, Kane Hemmings hit a low shot on target which was pushed out by Jack Rose. The equaliser that was threatened came with six minutes to go to half time when referee Marc Edwards played an advantage as Merrie was fouled by Eastmond, who stopped expecting the whistle, and Josh Dacres-Cogley's cross was headed back by Tom Davies. Louis John diverted the ball away, but Wilson delayed his clearance to allow Lewis and Turnbull to win back possession and find Josh Hawkes, who sent a fine shot beyond Rose from the left edge of the penalty area
Tranmere started the second half as they finished the first, and just before the hour Kane Hemmings gave them the lead with a crisp low shot from the edge of the area from a layoff by Morris, but the celebrations of the home supporters didn't last more than two minutes and were replaced by gasps of disappointment as Smith lined up a shot from 25 yards which was well struck and went straight through Doohan's hands in to the net.
Tempers flared briefly after a clash between Morris and Eastmond after the Tranmere player had fouled U's skipper, with both players and Hemmings going in to the book, and with Ajiboye and Josh Neufville lively when they came on it was Sutton who finished the game the stronger. It looked as though U's might have a winner when John met Randall's corner with a firm downward header that was cleared by Turnbull, the assistant well placed to rule that the ball hadn't crossed the line, but a well deserved point was still well received by the 118 U's supporters who had beaten the rail strike to get to Prenton Park.
Sutton: J Rose, J Kizzi, R Milsom, C Eastmond, B Goodliffe, L John, E Boldewijn(sub D Ajiboye 68), A Smith, O Bugiel(sub K Kouassi 81), D Wilson(J Neufville 68), W Randall. SUbs n/u S Hart, H Beautyman, T Fadahunsi, L Ward. Booked: Eastmond, Bugiel
Tranmere: R Doohan, J Dacres-Cogley, E Bristow, L O'Connor, T Davies, C Merrie, K Morris, J Turnbull, J Mumbongo(sub E Nevitt H-T), K Hemmings, J Hawkes(sub R McAlear 86). Subs n/u M Hewelt, J Nolan, R HUghes, K Jameson, J Burton. Booked: Mumbongo, Hemmings, Morris, O'Connor
Referee: Marc Edwards
Attendance: 5,348(118 away)