Ten-man Tranmere Rovers were narrowly beaten 1-0 at home by Shrewsbury Town in Sky Bet League One on Saturday.
Callum Lang’s close-range strike midway through the first-half saw Shrewsbury earn all three-points on a wet Wirral afternoon at Prenton Park, with Rovers also having Connor Jennings sent off.
Manager Micky Mellon, who celebrated three-years in charge of Tranmere this week, making one change to the side that lost away at table-toppers Ipswich Town, as Jennings returned.
Rovers started brightly and went close within the opening six minutes when Ollie Banks’ corner from the right was curled into Liam Ridehalgh’s path, but his header was deflected wide.
Up the other end, Sam Ricketts’ visitors from Shropshire threatened after a quarter of an hour, with Ryan Giles’ swung in a deep cross towards Lang, who couldn’t hit the target from eight-yards.
TRFC captain Scott Davies was forced into a good low stop down to his right following Ollie Norburn’s drive before thwarting Lang’s follow-up.
Shrewsbury led with 20 minutes on the clock after Aaron Pierre drove across goal from the left having held up a diagonal free-kick, with Lang lurking unmarked at the back post to tap in left-footed past Davies.
In response, Tranmere almost levelled three minutes later after forward Stefan Payne turned his marker well on the edge of the penalty area to curl an effort which was well tipped behind by Salop goalkeeper Max O’Leary.
Late openings fell for Rovers, with Neil Danns striking low which zipped off the wet turf into O’Leary’s grasp after Jennings’ neat pull-back down the right.
Tranmere were down to 10-men in added time prior to the break, as Hicks dismissed Jennings for a foul on Daniel Udoh.
Attacking the Argyle Satellite Taxis Kop after the restart, Rovers pushed to level, as Jake Caprice’s flighted cross from the right was met by Payne’s diving header, which crept narrowly wide from inside the box.
Pierre, who set up the opener, could have scored himself with 25 minutes left, bringing down Sean Goss’ right0-sided corner to shoot from the left-side of the area, with a combination of Banks and Ridehalgh valiantly clearing the ball off the line.
Buoyed by his goal, Lang tried his luck from around 30-yards after finding himself in space, striking right-footed which just went over Davies’ top right-corner.
Davies then beat away Omar Beckles’ powerful volley, prior to former Tranmere man Norburn smashing the base of the right-hand post following a cross from the right.
In the closing five minutes on the Wirral, Rovers engineered a shot at goal when substitute Corey Blackett-Taylor fed Danns 20-yards out, but the midfielder could only send his placed attempt straight at O’Leary.
Caprice hit a free-kick over the crossbar from 30-yards while Danns was denied superbly by O’Leary in stoppage time, but TRFC could not find an elusive equaliser.
Next up for Rovers is a Leasing.com Trophy Group stage tie against Aston Villa U21s at Prenton Park on Tuesday night, 7:45pm kick-off.
TRFC: Davies ©, Caprice, Monthe, Ridehalgh, Morris (Hepburn-Murphy 81), Potter (Gilmour 60), Banks (Blackett-Taylor 76), Danns, Jennings, Mullin, Payne
Subs not used: Pilling, Ponticelli, Walker-Rice, Borthwick-Jackson