Tranmere Rovers kicked off 2024 with a superb 4-2 win over high-flying Notts County, their fourth league win in a row.
The hosts took the lead early, as Kieron Morris volleyed beyond Aidan Stone from 15-yards. However, the Magpies levelled through Aaron Nemane on 24 minutes.
Five minutes later, Macauley Langstaff fired beyond Luke McGee in the box to give County the lead, but Rovers hit back through Connor Jennings just before the first half came to a close.
Second half goals from Harvey Saunders and then Jennings, from the spot, sealed the points as Tranmere climbed to 15th in League Two.
The hosts were immediately on the front foot as Morris intercepted the ball in the middle of the box and played in Rob Apter, but his cross was blocked and cleared.
Forward came Rovers again, and into an early lead. James Norris’ cross was knocked down by Jennings. His shot deflected out to Morris who volleyed beyond Aidan Stone from just inside the penalty area.
With one in the net, the hosts hunted a quick second and almost found it. Morris turned provider, crossing for Jennings at the back post, but he nodded just wide.
Notts County were enjoying a fair amount of possession in the first period, but it was Rovers who continued to carve out chances. Apter crossed towards Harvey Saunders, but the forward couldn’t quite guide his header towards goal.
The visitors came close to a leveller on 20 minutes, when a cross from the left found David McGoldrick in acres of space, but his effort across goal dropped wide.
Back came Tranmere and Tom Davies, fresh off scoring his second of the season at Harrogate on Friday night, tried an acrobatic effort from a corner which was headed clear.
McGee was down well to push behind a powerful effort from Jodi Jones as the visitors began to settle. The Magpies were then level from the resulting corner, as Nemane tapped home at the back post after an in-swinging cross from the left.
With their tails up, County were ahead just before the half an hour mark. Dan Crowley delivered an inch-perfect ball for Langstaff to slide in and guide into the net.
It was very nearly three as John Bostock wriggled free in the box and headed over from Crowley’s free kick. Langstaff then tried to double his tally for the afternoon from range, but McGee kept it out.
However, Tranmere brought the game level just before the interval. Lee O’Connor picked out Jennings with an excellent delivery from the right, and the Rovers man got in front of his defender to tap home.
The home side’s momentum wasn’t halted by the break, Apter caused issues down the right and won a corner which was cleared.
Jones clipped the top of the crossbar with a free kick from 20-yards as both sides battled hard to retake the lead. The goal eventually came, and it was Rovers to find it as Saunders tapped home from a few yards out after Apter’s shot was parried into his path.
A golden chance to create a cushion went begging a few moments later when Regan Hendry was tripped in the box, and a penalty was awarded. Jennings fired left, but Stone produced a fantastic stop to keep out the spot-kick.
The following 15 minutes was, perhaps, the most uneventful period of an otherwise frantic game of football. McGoldrick managed to get his head on a delivery in the box, but it looped into the arms of McGee.
Kyle Cameron tried his luck from range, his shot deflected kindly to the Rovers stopper. County worked the ball forward again and Aden Baldwin went through one-on-one but scuffed his first-time effort.
Manager Nigel Adkins was sent to the stands by referee Ollie Yates as the clock ticked over to 85 and the noise in Prenton Park quadrupled. His fired up side pushed to get a fourth.
Jennings got his second chance from the spot as Apter was brought down in the box by goalkeeper Stone. This time, he made no mistake, slamming home to seal the points.
TRANMERE ROVERS: McGee, O’Connor, Davies (c), Turnbull, J. Norris (Pike 90’), Apter (Hawkes 90’), Hendry, McAlear, Morris, Jennings, Saunders (Jolley 72’)
SUBS NOT USED: Murphy, Merrie, Yarney, Lewis
NOTTS COUNTY: Stone, Brindley, Cameron ©, Crowley, Austin, Langstaff, Jones (O’Brien 66’), Nemane, Baldwin, Bostock (Sanderson 72’), McGoldrick
SUBS NOT USED: Rawlinson, Brooks, Adebayo-Rowling, Mahoud, Macari