Tranmere boss Nigel Adkins admitted his side’s 1-1 draw at Sutton “felt like a defeat” after Louis John rescued a point for the division’s bottom side with a late equaliser.
Rovers seemed on course to end a run of eight successive away league defeats this season by claiming victory at Gander Green Lane thanks to Ben Goodliffe’s first-half own goal.
But, with just two minutes left of regulation time, Tranmere were pegged back by John’s leveller as the spoils were shared.
Adkins, whose side were on course to win back-to-back league games for the first time since February, took plenty of positives from Rovers’ performance but conceded the late goal was something of a sucker punch.
He said: “We were hard to beat. We didn’t lose, let’s remember that. But it feels like a defeat.
“It’s a very invaluable point on the road. It took some good, resilient performances to get that.
“We’ve seen a committed performance from the players, who have had to do the ugly parts of the game and at the very end you’ve seen the appreciation from the players and the supporters together.
“At this moment in time, we’ve come away from home and seen a committed performance. I’ve seen some flashes of good stuff, we haven’t lost which is important because we’ve spoken about addressing our away form.
“This is a step towards doing that.
“It’s exactly as we thought the game would be.
“You can see the direct nature of the opposition and you’ve got to give them credit that’s what they do. They’re top of the league for most direct balls and we knew we had to go and deal with that and halt their momentum.
“Ultimately, we got done in the last minute by a scrappy little knockdown which has gone through peoples’ feet.”
After struggling to string results together so far this season, Matt Gray’s spirited Sutton side are on their best run to date as they try and fight their way towards safety.
This was a third league game without defeat, their longest run this term, and manager Gray said: “It’s four unbeaten now in all competitions when you include the FA Cup.
“It’s the sixth good performance. Today was probably the lesser of the six, the other five I was reasonably pleased with the majority of the games.
“I felt we weren’t at the levels I want in the first half. I didn’t feel we deserved to go in behind, but I wasn’t happy with the performance.
“There was a real spirited and together display in the second half.
“We looked like the side most likely to get the second goal and although it came late I’m thankful we got it.
“We didn’t work the keeper as much as we would have liked. But we kept probing and I didn’t feel threatened down the other end.
“I was waiting for that little bit of a spark or some quality and it’s come from the end with a corner.”