Tranmere Rovers suffered a 2-0 defeat away to Bradford City in Sky Bet League Two at Valley Parade on Tuesday night.
Goals from Jamie Walker and Andy Cook secured Mark Hughes’ Bantams the three points, as Rovers were defeated on their travels.
Manager Micky Mellon made one change to his starting line-up from Saturday’s 1-0 win against Salford City at Prenton Park, with Kyle Jameson replacing Jordan Turnbull.
Rovers started strongly on a misty night in West Yorkshire, and inside six minutes, Ethan Bristow overlapped Josh Hawkes to deliver a pinpoint cross into the six-yard box from the left, which went through a crowd of players and could not be met by a white shirt.
Josh Dacres-Cogley's resulting long throw was headed out by a Bradford man but only to Hawkes, who saw his half-volley go high and over the crossbar.
Matt Derbyshire received a lofted pass from Ritchie Smallwood, however fortunately for Rovers, the experienced forward was offside as he hit his shot over.
Bradford threatened midway through the half when former Rovers striker Cook glanced Smallwood’s cross wide of Mateusz Hewelt’s post after a corner had been initially cleared.
Bristow again put in a superb low cross, which was unable to be turned in by Harvey Saunders or Kane Hemmings, as goalkeeper Harry Lewis managed to push the loose ball to safety.
Minutes later, Rovers went close as Dacres-Cogley found captain Hemmings on the edge of the area, but his low strike was charged down by defender Sam Stubbs.
On the half-hour, Cook's build-up play led to Walker’s well-struck 25-yard strike heading over Hewelt’s crossbar.
On 37 minutes, Rovers were handed an injury blow when Kieron Morris was forced off after being brought down, and he was replaced by Logan Chalmers.
Rovers were behind at the interval following Walker’s 42nd minute opener. Liam Ridehalgh played a neat one-two with Smallwood to cross for Walker who beat Hewelt with a deflected left-footed effort.
As play resumed for the second-half, Brad Halliday threaded a pass through to Cook, and a combination of Tom Davies and Dacres-Cogley.
Jameson was later well-positioned to head Mo Eisa’s dangerous cross, as Cook lurked inside the box.
Pushing for an equaliser, Regan Hendry’s run forward down the left but his clipped cross was headed clear by Matthew Platt.
The on-loan midfielder from Forest Green was involved in Tranmere’s next attacking move ten minutes into the half. His free-kick was met by Davies at the back post, but the Bantams cleared.
Rovers survived a scare shortly after. Smallwood’s whipped free-kick from the left caused a scramble when Stubbs flicked on, but neither Cook nor Matty Platt could force it goalwards, and the ball was thumped up field by the TRFC defence.
On the hour, Hendry’s powerful drive was thwarted by Stubbs before Chalmers’ follow-up did not trouble Lewis.
Mellon made a double change on 61 minutes, as Joe Mumbongo and Jay Turner-Cooke were brought onto replace Hemmings and Hawkes.
Hendry went close for Rovers with 65 minutes on the clock, profiting from Davies’ headed knockdown to drill his left-footed shot from the left side of the box across goal, which crept just past Lewis’ post.
Lee O’Connor drove forward with possession, having threaded a great pass through to Mumbongo, the substitute could not get the ball out of his feet, and was tackled by Platt.
Tranmere conceded a second goal in the 74thminute. Cook’s looping header from Adam Clayton’s right-sided corner went over Hewelt and found the bottom right-corner.
Rovers return to Prenton Park on Saturday when they host Mansfield Town, kick-off 3pm.
Tranmere: Hewelt, Dacres-Cogley, Davies, Jameson, Bristow, O’Connor, Hendry, Morris (Chalmers 35), Hawkes (Turner-Cooke 61), Saunders, Hemmings © (Mumbongo 61)
Subs not used: Murphy, Merrie, Lewis, Burton