Rushian Hepburn-Murphy was the star of the show after his hat-trick earned Tranmere Rovers a 3-1 victory away to 10-man MK Dons at Stadium MK on Saturday afternoon.
Micky Mellon’s men were in front midway through the first-half courtesy of Hepburn-Murphy’s first goal in a Rovers shirt, on a wet autumnal afternoon in Buckinghamshire.
Ben Reeves powerful strike pulled the Dons level before Kieran Agard was sent off for a high tackle on Neil Danns in a frantic final four minutes of the half.
Forward Hepburn-Murphy netted a double after half-time, which sealed a big three-points for Rovers, which secured a second away win of the Sky Bet League One season.
Boss Mellon made three changes to the starting XI which lost at Sunderland for the visit to MK Dons, with Hepburn-Murphy, Sid Nelson and Kane Wilson coming in for Stefan Payne, George Ray and Paul Mullin.
Early chances fell to Rovers, though Hepburn-Murphy’s header from Liam Ridehalgh’s cross and Danns’ right-footed strike from range failed to test Dons goalkeeper Lee Nicholls.
Up the other end, Callum Brittain volleyed over when well positioned after connecting with Reeves’ cross from the left-side of the penalty area.
Rovers took the lead with 19 minutes played in Buckinghamshire through Hepburn-Murphy following a well-worked passing move.
Kieron Morris was fed down the left flank by Wilson, who crossed low into the box for the waiting Hepburn-Murphy to slide the ball underneath Nicholls from close-range.
In response, Paul Tisdale’s Dons went in search of a leveller, but Rovers remained resilient under pressure from their hosts.
Tranmere should have been two to the good when Hepburn-Murphy showed unbelievable pace down the right to create a counter attack before teeing up Connor Jennings, who was thwarted by Nicholls.
Ridehalgh was the next to try his luck for the visitors from the Wirral but curled his left-footed free-kick just over the upright.
Rovers conceded an equaliser on 43 minutes after Reeves struck a powerful low drive from the edge of the box which zipped off the wet turf to find Scott Davies’ bottom right-corner.
The Dons were reduced to 10 men after Agard was dismissed by referee Matthew Donohue for a rash challenge on Danns on the stroke of half-time.
After the break, Tranmere were made to defend their own six-yard box, which saw Ridehalgh having to head Dean Lewington’s cross behind for a corner, while Manny Monthe also had to clear Brittain’s ball for a set-piece.
Nine minutes after the restart, TRFC made their numerical advantage count as Hepburn-Murphy scored his and his side’s second.
Rovers’ number 18 latched onto Jennings’ neat through ball to thump a right-footed shot from outside the box and into Nicholls’ bottom right-corner, in front of the travelling SWA.
Searching for a second equaliser as the clock ticked on, the Dons threatened when Conor McGrandles hit a rising attempt just over Davies’ crossbar, while Sid Nelson did well to head a dangerous free-kick behind for a corner.
Hepburn-Murphy completed his hat-trick after 69 minutes, turning his marker, he drove into the box to finish low right-footed which found the bottom left-corner, which completed the scoring.
As a result of their three points, Rovers moved up to 18th position in the third tier, with attention now turning to next Saturday’s Emirates FA Cup First-Round tie, when they host Wycombe Wanderers at Prenton Park, kick-off 3pm.
TRFC: Davies ©, Nelson, Monthe, Ridehalgh, Caprice (Blackett-Taylor 54) Wilson, Perkins, Danns, Morris, Hepburn-Murphy (Mullin 79), Jennings
Subs not used: Pilling, Borthwick-Jackson, Ray, Potter, Maddox