Tranmere put on a professional performance under the Prenton Park lights as they beat 10-man Harrogate Town 2-0 on Tuesday night.
Goals from Lewis Warrington and Kane Hemmings proved the difference as Micky Mellon’s side made it back-to-back wins in Sky Bet League Two.
The first quarter of an hour was short of any real action at Prenton Park with neither side’s keepers being troubled.
Just after the 20-minute mark, Kane Hemmings spun his man well from a throw-in but hit a wild half-volley well wide of the Harrogate goal.
Things soon began to liven up however as Harrogate top goal-scorer Luke Armstrong received two yellow cards in the space of three minutes and was given his marching orders by referee Darren Handley.
The first caution was for a late challenge on Tom Davies in the Tranmere area whilst the second yellow card was for a foul whilst competing in the air with Peter Clarke which the referee deemed enough to send the striker off with just 27 minutes played.
With one more yellow card handed out to one of the Harrogate coaching staff for their complaints on the dismissal, play continued and Rovers pushed for the opener.
Josh Hawkes had an effort blocked for a corner after consecutive crosses into the box before Elliot Nevitt had a glancing header well saved as he looked to build on his brace on Friday night against Mansfield Town.
Harrogate still possessed a threat going forward despite being a striker down as Mark Beck showed some strong hold-up play before laying off Jack Diamond who dragged an effort wide.
With three minutes to go before the interval, Josh Hawkes picked up the ball on the left and had a right-footed effort just tipped around the post by ‘keeper Mark Oxley before Calum MacDonald received the ball in a similar position minutes later, but his effort flew wide of the near post.
The second half started in the same way the first ended with Tranmere piling on the pressure.
And finally, the deadlock was broken on 48 minutes after some stunning build-up play saw Kane Hemmings’ flick reach Everton loanee Lewis Warrington who’s right footed effort crept into the far corner and gave Rovers the lead.
Just short of the hour mark, Hawkes had another effort well saved by Oxley as he cut inside onto his right foot but couldn’t beat the Harrogate stopper before having an identical chance blocked by George Thompson for a corner.
The resulting set-piece saw referee Handley point to the penalty spot after Davies was dragged to the floor as he attempted to head home.
With 26 minutes to play, Hemmings confidently stepped up and scored to double Rovers’ advantage from the spot and give Tranmere breathing space heading into the last quarter of the game.
The visitors almost had an immediate equaliser from the kick-off as Jack Diamond broke through after a mazy run, but his effort was headed off the line by Peter Clarke.
Harrogate kept pushing to get back into the game despite the man disadvantage with Ryan Fallowfield’s effort getting a crucial block from MacDonald before troubling Joe Murphy.
But Rovers stood firm and held onto a crucial win along with a clean sheet in front of the SWA with the first goal scorer Lewis Warrington being named man of the match on the night.
The win keeps Tranmere fourth and a point behind second placed Northampton Town as we look ahead to Saturday’s game against Sutton United.