GOAL MAN Ched Evans struck his 26th goal of the season but Sheffield United had to settle for a point.
Ronnie Moore arrived at Bramall Lane vowing to beat the odds rather than succumb to reputation and intimidation.
Talk is clearly not cheap in Tranmere and Rovers set about their business with conviction that belied their lowly position in the table.
Lowton gave the hosts a scare when he appeared to fall awkwardly making an aerial challenge with barely 30 seconds gone but recovered after treatment.
And Wilson, watching the drama unfold from the bench, must have feared it was an ominous portent of things to come when Collins, returning to action after being granted leave of absence due to a personal matter, was forced to prevent Showunmi barging through.
The towering striker, granted too much space, drilled wide in the fifth minute but not before Porter had settled United’s nerves by doing likewise after rolling his marker.
While the arm wrestle continued out on the pitch, the rival camps looked towards their own respective Brains Trusts for direction and inspiration.
Moore, who recently took charge of Rovers for the third time after parting company with United’s neighbours Rotherham, is one of the most experienced managers in the division.
Tranmere, with Akins working in tandem with Showunmi, were also organised, assured and composed before unravelling slightly as the interval approached.
Indeed, until Goodison‘s 24th minute mistake provoked the first moment of controversy, they had been the more dangerous proposition.
Attacking when the opportunity arose but conservative and cautious when United were in possession, Rovers forced Wilson’s men to pass across their back four.
But when their centre-half made a hash of a clearance, Quinn thought he had broken the deadlock by rolling the ball into an empty net after Porter and Fon Williams contested a header.
Referee Heywood, however, blew for a foul against the former Derby marksman. Whether he would have done so had Porter been challenging a fellow forward rather than a goalkeeper is a matter for debate.
But the official redeemed himself - in United eyes at least - by playing an excellent advantage during the build up for EVANS’ 31st minute goal.
Porter released Quinn down the flank and although Heywood could have blown for a foul, he allowed the midfield to progress. His short centre found United’s leading scorer who held-off two markers and duly prodded home.
Simonsen gathered a speculative effort from Brunt nine minutes later as Rovers enjoyed a brief spell of pressure courtesy of his long throws with captain Welsh seeing a shot deflected wide.
United attempted to seize the initiative straight from the re-start when Evans, now chasing his 27th goal of the campaign, and Hoskins hunted down a high ball but Fon Williams collected.
Quinn then forced a 53rd minute corner which was swept into the box by Williamson. On this occasion, however, Fon Williams could not gather but Maguire’s stooping header was cleared by a defender on the edge of the six yard box. It proved a key intervention as, two minutes later, Rovers levelled when AKINS turned home Welsh’s corner in front of the travelling supporters.
It changed the dynamics of the match and also the mood inside the stadium.
United now looked laboured and only Simonsen’s persistence prevented Brunt, clean through on goal, from handing Rovers the lead.