Tranmere Rovers fell to a narrow defeat against Premier League side Newcastle United in the Carabao Cup on Tuesday night.
Despite taking the lead through Elliott Nevitt and putting everything into the game, goals from Jamal Lascelles and Chris Wood was enough to edge the contest for the visitors.
It was an electric atmosphere inside Prenton Park and Lee O’Connor set the tone for the night with a firm challenge in the middle of the park before Jacob Murphy tested the hands of Hewelt with a low shot.
Murphy again set his sights in the 12 minute, cutting inside from the left and curling a shot a few yards over the crossbar.
Youngster Elliott Anderson was next to try his luck, picking up the ball 25 yards out and driving forward before dragging his shot wide of the left hand post.
On the 21st minute Rovers shocked the Toon. A brilliant one touch passing move resulted in Dacres-Cogley breaking the offside trap and squared it to Nevitt who cooly beat Darlow to send the Tranmere faithful into raptures.
Rovers managed the game really well for the next 15 minutes after a barrage of crosses into the box from the away side.
Newcastle levelled the scoring just before half time, a goal that wasn’t much deserved. A corner from the right was headed towards goal by Lascelles, Turnbull blocked with his chest but the rebound fell nicely for Lascelles who rifled in from close range.
Tranmere came out of the traps quickly in the second half and Jameson nearly prodded Rovers back in front. Dacres-Cogley’s long throw bounced into his path but his awkward volley from close range was blocked.
On the 52nd minute, it was another set piece that undone Tranmere. England international Kieran Trippier whipped in a dangerous corner and Chris Wood leapt highest at the front post to glance on and give Hewelt no chance in the Tranmere net.
Shortly after, Hewelt did magnificently well to keep Tranmere in it. Chris Wood got in behind and prodded a half volley towards goal but the Polish stopper reacted well to get a strong hand to it.
Tranmere had shouts for a penalty waved away when Byrne met McAlear’s back post corner and his header came back off a Newcastle player but the referee was having none of it.
The SWA were right behind the lads as the closing stages approached with Tranmere tackles flying in and Newcastle unable to get out of their half for a short period. Josh Hawkes’ cross was inches off Nevitt’s boot in the box and Darlow caught before it could creep in at the far post.
As Rovers pushed forward, Hewelt again was there to keep the one goal in it. Wood met another cross from the right but Hewelt produced an excellent save to tip over his bar from the thunderous header.
Tranmere piled on the pressure in added time but just didn’t have enough to take it to penalties in the tie. A valiant effort and a performance that Micky Mellon will want his players to back up on Saturday.
Tranmere team: Hewelt, Dacres-Cogley, Byrne, Turnbull, Jameson (Lewis 68’), Bristow, O’Connor, Nolan (Hawkes 60’), McAlear, Nevitt, Hemmings