By Brian Jeeves
CHELMSFORD City manager, Rod Stringer, held mixed emotions after the Clarets produced a superb performance to hold Tranmere Rovers to a 1-1 Buildbase FA Trophy third round draw at Prenton Park.
Robbie Willmott had fired City into a first-half lead, only for Cole Stockton to save the Birkenhead clubs blushes. Speaking after the match, Stringer said: “I think everyone could see how hard we worked. It was the performance of the season if I’m being honest.
“It was enjoyable, a very good game of football, huge respect to both teams. What with the opposition, we were up against, it was a tough game. We all had mixed emotions at full-time because we thought we’d done enough to win the tie.
“I only recall Ross Fitzsimmons making one save early in the game. To play the way we have and feel that we were the team in the ascendancy at the time they scored, should explain how we feel.”
The Clarets chief continued: “Tranmere changed their shape three times in an attempt to get back into the game. That suggests that we have played well enough to keep them on the back foot.
“It would have been easy to think that their equaliser would come as a bit of a blow to us and would spur them on. However, we galvanised ourselves and forced a replay.”
Stringer pointed out the resilience shown by his charges, despite being depleted due to injury and unavailability, adding: “Mark Haines was forced off through injury after about twenty minutes so we had to switch Max Porter to a central defensive position, with Max Cornhill coming into the midfield. Considering we had to go there and make those changes, with very little in the way of cover because players were cup-tied, was fantastic. I was proud of the lads for digging in so deep.
“Tranmere Rovers have a whole team of top quality players. But on the day our boys were incredible, every single one of them played above their level. It was just a shame we couldn’t keep the clean sheet that would have got us over the line.
“We played pretty well on the day. But come Wednesday, we will have to see what legs we’ve got left and match the efforts we displayed at Prenton Park.”