Tranmere Rovers’ Emirates FA Cup adventure has come to an end following defeat against Premier League giants Manchester United in front of a sold-out Prenton Park.
Three goals in the opening sixteen minutes from England international Harry Maguire, and then strikes from Diogo Dalot and Jesse Lingard put Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side in command of the fourth-round tie.
Phil Jones, Anthony Martial and a penalty midway through the second half from Mason Greenwood completed the scoring for the 13-time Premier League winners.
Despite the loss, Micky Mellon's side exit the FA Cup with their heads held high, after eliminating Manchester United's Premier League competitors, Watford, in round three. Tranmere's attention will now switch back to League One with Sunderland visiting Prenton Park next Wednesday.
Mellon named an unchanged starting line-up from the side that beat Watford last Thursday night. Kane Wilson was named on the substitutes bench having re-signed on loan from West Bromwich Albion.
Rovers began with attacking intent in front of the BT Sport cameras, and Morgan Ferrier saw his strike from inside the penalty area blocked away for a corner.
Connor Jennings had the first attempt on goal of the contest, but his volley was straight into the grasp of Sergio Romero.
Kieron Morris then drove forward with the ball following Corey Blackett-Taylor’s cross, but it was thwarted by Romero.
However, it was Manchester United that made the breakthrough with ten minutes on the clock, as captain Maguire struck a right-footed shot from 20-yards into the top right corner.
It was two, three minutes later, when Dalot received a Martial pass on the right-side of the box to drill across goal into Scott Davies’ bottom left-corner.
The Red Devils scored their third of the afternoon just after the 15-minute mark, as Lingard latched onto Maguire’s pass to curl right-footed into the bottom right corner.
Not deterred by the deficit, Tranmere looked for a route back into the game. Ferrier got the better of Jones down the left, but Romero was on hand to make the save.
Blackett-Taylor then sent a low cross from the left which evaded everybody in the area before being cleared to safety.
However, Tranmere were dealt another blow in the 41st minute as Jones directed a looping header over Davies from Andreas Pereira’s left-sided corner.
United's fifth came before the half time whistle, as Luke Shaw played a clever through ball into the path of French international Martial, and his strike took a heavy deflection to wrong foot Davies.
The 12-time Emirates FA Cup winners notched a sixth after 57 minutes from the penalty spot. Davies brought down Tahith Chong and Greenwood stepped up to convert from 12-yards.
At the other end, Ferrier broke into the box and fired into Romero’s side-netting having got the better of Jones once again.
David Perkins was replaced with 66 minutes gone as Mellon introduced Harvey Gilmour.
And midfielder Gilmour was involved in Rovers’ next chance, linking up well with Jake Caprice, who planted a cross onto the head of Jennings, but the winger's header just crept wide of the left-hand post.
Mellon brought on Paul Mullin and Rushian Hepburn-Murphy in the closing 20 minutes, with the pair coming on for Ferrier and Blackett-Taylor.
Mullin struck a free-kick into the Argyle Satellite Taxis Kop Stand after Jennings had been fouled. Morris had the final attempt of the game for Tranmere with a 25-yard shot, but it was comfortable for Romero.
Rovers’ journey in the competition comes to an end, departing the Prenton Park pitch with a standing ovation from the home supporters for their efforts after a difficult afternoon.
TRFC return to Sky Bet League One attention on Wednesday night against Sunderland at Prenton Park and tickets are available to purchase by visiting trfctickets.co.uk.
TRFC: Davies ©, Caprice, Clarke, Monthe, Ridehalgh, Danns, Perkins, (Gilmour 64) Morris, Jennings, Blackett-Taylor, (Hepburn-Murphy 73) Ferrier (Mullin 73)
Subs not used: Pilling, Wilson, Woods, Payne