Goals from James Norwood and Paul Mullin were not enough for Tranmere Rovers as they lost 3-2 away at Crewe Alexandra.
The hosts led 3-1 after Norwood initially cancelled out Callum Ainley's opener and sub Mullin grabbed a second for Rovers but we couldn't find the all important sixth goal of the game to take away a point.
Tranmere Rovers manager Micky Mellon named Jonny Smith, Harvey Gilmour, Luke McCullough and Zoumana Bakayogo in the starting line up.
The home side started the game by moving the ball around with confidence, but the first meaningful chance went the way of the visitors.
A well worked corner routine resulted in Ollie Banks whipping a dangerous back post cross towards Norwood, but a Crewe defender managed to intercept to head over the cross bar to deny a certain goal.
On the 15 minute mark, Crewe tested our number one Scott Davies, weaving in and out, Ainley pulled the trigger inside the penalty area, but Davies was on hand to palm away.
However, Ainley found the back of the net seven minutes later to hand the hosts the lead, curling an effort past Davies from the edge of the box, even though it took a heavy deflection on its way through.
TRFC nearly responded immediately through midfielder Banks, from 25-yards he unleashed a shot which stung Ben Garratt’s palms.
At the other end, Davies pulled off a world class save to deny a fantastic 40-yard strike from Crewe skipper Perry Ng.
Tranmere were persistent, and it paid off with five minutes of the half remaining, top goal scorer Norwood found space within the Crewe defence and created a chance out of nothing, catching Garratt off guard as the ball slipped into the far corner.
The same man could have put TRFC ahead at the break, driving forward, he fired just wide from the left channel as the visitors confidence started to grow.
Nine minutes into the second half, Crewe restored their lead as Ainley drove the ball past Davies inside the penalty area.
On the hour mark, Larnell Cole was introduced from the bench in place of Gilmour as Mellon looked for a way back into the contest.
Crewe extended their advantage in the 66th minute as Kirk volleyed home from eight yards out to give Rovers a real mountain to climb. Tranmere’s second change saw Mullin introduced for Smith with 20 minutes remaining on referee Carl Boyeson’s clock.
And Mullin struck from the bench once again with ten minutes to go to make it a nervy ending to the game for Crewe. The TRFC number nine was in the right place to connect with Banks’ half volley cross from the right hand side.
However, Tranmere were not able to find a break through and are now next in action on Tuesday night in an FA Cup replay at Oxford City.
Tranmere: Davies, Caprice, McNulty ©, Monthe, Bakayogo, Smith (Mullin (72), Banks, McCullough, Gilmour (Cole 59), Jennings, Norwood. Unused subs: George, Buxton, Sutton, Mottley-Henry.