Tranmere Rovers got back to winning ways in style with a 3-0 triumph over Forest Green Rovers at Prenton Park.
In a massive game with both sides towards the bottom of the table, the hosts got off to the perfect start as Jordan Turnbull’s header hit Tyrese Omotoye and dropped into his own net.
Kristian Dennis curled home from the edge of the box after the break to double the advantage, before Forest Green’s Dom Bernard was given a second yellow card for handball.
Rob Apter sealed the points with a brilliant low shot in the far corner, after twisting and turning past his man to make room in the box.
The visitors had the first shot of the game through Omotoye, but it was comfortable for Luke McGee, who was facing up against his former side of three seasons.
The importance of the match was made clearer by the end-to-end nature of the opening exchanges, and Rovers won a corner after Apter’s in-swinging delivery was forced behind.
In came the corner, and arriving quickly was Turnbull to head against Omotoye and beyond James Belshaw in the Forest Green goal. The perfect start for Tranmere.
There was no let up from Rovers after the goal. A period of sustained pressure saw the hosts win a flurry of set pieces, including a free kick on the edge which Brad Walker curled agonisingly wide of the far post.
Fankaty Dabo shot from 30-yards out into a pack of pink and white shirts, but it dropped kindly at the other side for McGee.
The Gloucestershire side were now starting to grow into the game as it passed the half hour mark. Dabo’s cross from the right could only find Jamie Robson on the far side who struck a vicious first-time effort into the arms of the Tranmere ‘keeper.
The visitors’ best chance of the half came through winger Omotoye, a header across goal which McGee had to stretch to claw away. Troy Deeney then let fly with a volley which was blocked and cleared, before the whistle sounded for the break.
After a fast start to the opening 45, Rovers continued the trend with an even quicker second. After catching a Forest Green defender in possession, Dennis calmly curled the ball past Belshaw from the edge of the box to double the lead.
The away side’s problems worsened thereafter, as Bernard was shown a second yellow card for handball in his own half.
Turnbull robbed Deeney of possession in the Forest Green half and charged forward, passing through to Luke Norris who hit the post with a one-on-one effort. The Rovers forward saw a header palmed clear by Belshaw moments later.
Apter put the result beyond doubt with 20 minutes to play. Receiving the ball in space, the Blackpool loanee weaved in and out of his opposing defender and found the far corner with a low shot.
Dan Pike almost netted a fourth after goalscorer Apter played the full-back in. He smashed an effort against the post with Belshaw stranded.
Harvey Saunders replaced Norris after the forward took a knock just past the halfway line. He was straight into the action after an attempted cross was sent goalbound and parried clear.
After his terrific play down the right all afternoon, Apter was now trying to find the net from the left. He stung the palms of the away ‘keeper with a powerful effort from range.
That proved to be the last chance of note, and Rovers picked up a massive three points in front of a delighted home faithful.
TRANMERE ROVERS: McGee, O’Connor (Pike 46’), Davies, Turnbull, Wood, Apter (Taylor 90+4’), Walker (Morris 81’), Hendry, Jennings, Dennis, Norris (Saunders 75’)
SUBS NOT USED: C. Robson, Yarney, Belehouan
FOREST GREEN ROVERS: Belshaw, Bernard, Deeney (Sully 88’), Moore-Taylor (Johnson 88’), J. Robson, Maddox (Robertson 76’), Welch, Omotoye (Jenks 76’), Dabo, Bunker, Jones (McCann 54’)
SUBS NOT USED: Searle, Bendle
ATTENDANCE: 6,416 (170 away)