After one particularly sore pre-season result last season (losing 3-0 to Raith) and feeling despondent about our chances in the season ahead - only to be proved wrong when we began the League and Cup games in good form and with positive results - I have vowed not to read too much into this term's warm-up results. Today's result possibly flattered Tranmere, when looking at the game as a whole, but there are still areas of concern after suffering such a heavy defeat to a side playing their first pre-season game, and who were a non-League club until May.
Allan Johnston named an unchanged team after selecting the same 11 players to start the previous friendly against Raith. Options were limited with the ongoing absence of Lee Ashcroft, and injuries to Tom Beadling and Aidan Connolly. James Vincent started on the bench and there was also a first run out this season for sub Callum Smith. The Pars did relatively well in the first half, having more of the ball than our visitors, but as in the Raith game, we failed to turn possession into goals, and then lost sloppy goals. The quality of our play was encouraging in the opening half but as the game went on we faded and allowed Tranmere to run out convincing winners.
Lee Robinson made his first appearance of the season but was well below the form he has showed since joining the club. One goal in particular will disappoint him, when he appeared to save a header but then carried it behind the goal-line for Tranmere's fourth goal. The 3-5-2 set-up worked reasonably well with Ryan Williamson the better of the 2 wingbacks. Centre midfield will be boosted with the return of Beadling (although he will be missing for several weeks yet) and when Joe Thomson is fully match fit. The forwards did not have the best of games - Andy Ryan has yet to find form this pre-season and Lewis McCann put in a lot of effort but missed a good chance to score when he seemed to trip over the ball - but the 17 year old was again the squad's best attacker. Game time was given to subs James Vincent, Callum Smith, Paul Allan, Joe Thomson and Matty Todd.