Tranmere Rovers were on the wrong end of a 4-0 scoreline at Cheltenham Town.
The hosts were 3-0 ahead at half time and added a fourth midway through the second half, and the job now for TRFC will be responding against Cambridge United at Prenton Park on Monday.
Goalkeeper Joe Murphy came into the starting line-up, replacing the injured Scott Davies and there was also a start for Lee O’Connor, after missing the last game through international duty. O’Connor replaced Ali Crawford, with the Bolton loan man on the substitute bench.
Peter Clarke was given the Captain’s armband, whilst on the opposite side of pitch, former Tranmere loan man Sam Smith led the line for Cheltenham Town.
On a sun kissed Jonny Rocks Stadium, Cheltenham raced into an early lead as a long thrown could not be cleared by the Rovers defence, and the home side prodded home with just four minutes on the clock.
Cheltenham went two goals to the good in the 14th minute as Will Boyle was in the right position to direct a cross past Murphy, leaving Rovers with a mountain to climb to get back into the match.
Tranmere’s first opportunity landed in the 21st minute, when Jay Spearing took aim from 25-yards, his effort creeping past the right hand post.
Rovers had the ball in the net when Kaiyne Woolery turned his man in the box, but he was penalised for handball.
Cheltenham added a third near the end of the first half as Rovers gifted the hosts a goal, allowing Alfie May the opportunity to race through to tap home.
Into the second half, David Nugent and Danny Lloyd came on for O’Connor and Keiron Morris as Rovers looked for a way back into the game.
A wonderful strike just before the hour mark from Leicester loanee Callum Wright added a fourth for the hosts.
In the 67th minute, Liam Ridehalgh came on for TRFC, replacing George Ray. Tranmere had a chance which flew past the post as a combination of Lloyd and Woolery connected to a cross from the right.
With just over ten minutes to go, Liam Feeney was withdrawn for Crawford. Tranmere’s Lewis got on the end of a ball from the left but he lifted his shot over the crossbar.
Nugent and Crawford both had a chance to pull a goal back in added time but the score finished 4-0 to the hosts.
Tranmere: Murphy, Khan, Clarke, Ray (Ridehalgh 67), MacDonald, O’Connr (Nugent 46), Spearing, Lewis, Woolery, Feeney (Crawford 78), Morris (Lloyd 46). Unused subs: Jones, Nelson, Kirby
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The match report is sponsored by MAIN.