Tranmere Rovers lost out 6-5 on penalties at home to Wigan Athletic in our final Bristol Street Motors Trophy fixture on Tuesday evening.
Tranmere were straight on the front foot, Rhys Hughes firing a cross-shot just wide of Ben Amos’ far post within the first minute on his return to the side.
Wigan responded with some pressure of their own, and Harry McHugh shot narrowly over the bar when he was set up for the long-range shot by Liverpool loanee James Balagizi.
Omar Rekik headed just over from a corner as the League One side continued to threaten approaching the ten-minute mark.
Rovers gave as good as they got as the first period wore on, Sam Taylor cutting inside from the right wing to strike at goal from the edge of the box towards the half-hour point, but the forward saw his effort drift just wide.
James Norris volleyed narrowly wide approaching the break before Harvey Saunders couldn’t quite stoop low enough to meet a low cross from the right.
Both sides ultimately went into the break level, with little to separate them in the first half.
Mikey Davies replaced Jake Leake going into the second half for the Tranmere boyhood fan to make his Rovers debut.
Charlie Wyke went close with a header from close range early in the second half following a cross from Callum McManaman on his return to Prenton Park for Wigan.
McManaman cut inside from the left and shot narrowly wide of Joe Murphy’s post shortly after.
Wyke found himself free in the box from a free-kick and headed wide on the hour mark as both sides struggled to grasp the lead.
Saunders stung the palms of Amos just after Kieron Morris replaced Reece McAlear, hitting the side netting with the rebound.
Rovers had their best chance of the game to that point on 65 minutes when Morris and Saunders couldn’t quite hit home with the ball bobbling across goal.
Wigan went close with a free kick with ten minutes left in the contest, but Tom Pearce’s effort was across the face of goal and wide.
Tranmere looked to take the lead in stoppage time, some strong link-up play resulting in a shot for Taylor from the edge of the box but it was wide.
With both sides deadlocked, we headed to penalties.
McManaman stepped up first, stroking the ball past Murphy to put the visitors ahead.
Morris was first for Rovers, and put his effort into the back of the net via Amos’ palms.
Stephen Humphrys fired into the bottom corner for Wigan’s second of the shootout.
Hughes was next for Tranmere, making no mistake.
Tom Pearce put Wigan 3-2 ahead, before Charlie Jolley levelled the scores.
Chris Sze made it 4-3, and James Norris converted for 4-4.
Joe Murphy saved Josh Stones’ effort, handing Saunders the chance to win it.
Saunders’ effort struck the top of the crossbar and rebounded out as we headed to sudden death.
Murphy saved again from James Balagizi, before Sam Taylor’s effort was stopped by Amos.
Harry McHugh handed Wigan the advantage, but debutant Mikey Davies levelled for 5-5.
Kell Watts made it 6-5 to Wigan, before Dan Pike’s effort was saved by Amos for Wigan to take the win.
TRANMERE ROVERS: Joe Murphy, Dan Pike, Joe Yarney, Jean Belehouan, Jake Leake (Mikey Davies, 46), James Norris, Reece McAlear (Morris, 61), Rhys Hughes, Harvey Saunders, Charlie Jolley (C), Sam Taylor.
SUBS NOT USED: Conor Robson, Jordan Turnbull, Regan Hendry, Rob Apter, Connor Wood.
WIGAN ATHLETIC: Ben Amos, Harry McHugh, Omar Rekik (James Carragher), Kell Watts, Tom Pearce, Scott Smith (Payne, 61), James Balagizi, Jonny Smith (Stephen Humphrys), Chris Sze, Callum McManaman, Charlie Wyke (C) (Stones, 61).
SUBS NOT USED: Tom Watson, Joe Adams, Callum Lang.