Tranmere Rovers’ Checkatrade Trophy campaign came to an end after a 1-0 defeat at Prenton Park against Manchester City U21.
The game was decided at the start of the second half when Rabbi Matondo slotted home as City advanced through to the knockout stages of the competition.
Manager Micky Mellon handed the captain’s armband to midfielder Jay Harris for the game against City U21s. Another notable inclusion in the Rovers line up was Zoumana Bakayogo after his spell on the sidelines through injury, who put in a solid display against the Citizens.
Tranmere’s first chance came in the fifth minute, Ben Tollitt’s direct run down the left hand side opened space for the winger to cross for Franklyn Akammadu to head just wide.
The striker was on hand again ten minutes later to have another glorious opportunity, Akammadu heading into the hands of the goalkeeper Daniel Grimshaw.
Meanwhile, the visitors were looking dangerous on the attack, with Matondo sizzling a right footed shot from the left channel wide.
The visitors, still chasing a place in the knockout rounds of the competition, were denied the first goal when Nabil Touaizi rounded Shamal George but Rithie Sutton was back in time to make a goal line clearance.
Touaizi was asking questions of the TRFC defence, and in the 25th minute, latched onto a clever through ball to go in 1v1 with Shamal George, but this time the on loan Liverpool goalkeeper was wise to the striker’s tricky to get down well to save at his feet.
Into the second half, and City went ahead three minutes in when Mantondo broke through on the left channel and beat George to the ball to side foot home.
Manager Mellon made two changes on the hour mark, Ryan Williams and Jake Caprice coming on for Adam Buxton and Jonny Smith
City pushed forward looking for a second goal of the evening and came within a whisker of doing so with 25 minutes to play as Adrian Bernabe played a clever back heel into the path of Ian Carlo Poveda to rattle against the post.
The visitors were looking a threat and continued to create goal scoring chances, with Poveda having two chances after hitting the post to get his name on the scoresheet.
Substitute Williams, in search of his first goal in TRFC colours, struck a 25-yard effort over the crossbar as Mellon’s side looked for a way back into the cup contest.
Tranmere’s third and final sub saw Evan Gumbs introduced for Akammadu, with the Rovers fans pleased to see the defender back on the pitch in a Rovers shirt for the first time this season after a lengthy spell on the sidelines.
The match finished with a one goal victory for the visitors and TRFC move on to this weekend’s League Two encounter against Exeter City at Prenton Park.
Tranmere: George, Buxton (Caprice 60), Sutton, Tollitt, Harris, Ellis, Mottley-Henry, Smith (Williams 60), Akammadu (Gumbs 81), Gilmour, Bakayogo. Unused subs: Passant, Devine, Nugent, Walker-Rice.