Jordan Turnbull’s 68th minute goal secured Tranmere Rovers a second straight Sky Bet League Two victory as Micky Mellon’s men overcame Crawley Town 1-0 at Prenton Park on Tuesday night.
Turnbull’s strike proved to be the difference against Scott Lindsey’s Red Devils as Rovers secured an important three points.
Mellon made one change from Saturday’s 1-0 win at Stevenage, as Logan Chalmers replaced Jay Turner-Cooke in the starting line-up.
Rovers started brightly and had the ball in the net on seven minutes when Turnbull struck a left-footed half-volley beyond goalkeeper Corey Addai, however he was flagged offside following Josh Dacres-Cogley’s pass.
Two minutes later, Crawley wasted a chance to take the lead after Jack Powell’s short corner from the left found Dom Telford who struck left-footed over the crossbar and into the Argyle Satellite Kop.
Harvey Saunders then did well to skip beyond two Crawley men, though his cross aimed for Paul Lewis was cleared by Joel Lynch.
Joe Murphy was called into action, when Ashley Nadesan drew a smart save from the Rovers goalkeeper, who got down low well to turn a shot around the right-hand post from Tom Fellows’ through ball.
The resulting corner saw Hawkes receive a pass from Chalmers after a fast Rovers breakaway but having caught Addai from off his line, the winger hit an ambitious attempt off target from inside his own half.
With 11 minutes of the half left to play, Kellan Gordon’s enticing right-sided cross had to be headed away by Turnbull before dropping for Powell to drive a fierce volley from 25-yards over Murphy’s crossbar.
Rovers had two opportunities at goal before half-time. The first of which came as Chalmers directed a header straight into Addai’s gloves after Davies had headed Hawkes’ free-kick across goal.
Chalmers found himself involved in TRFC’s next attack, linking up well with Lee O’Connor to bend a tame strike from the edge of the penalty area that was comfortable for Addai.
The first chance of the second-half went the way of Crawley five minutes after the break. Powell whipped a dipping free-kick from the left which Murphy had to palm over his own crossbar.
Nadesan then met a pinpoint cross from Nick Tsaroulla to glance a header just beyond Murphy’s far post
Tranmere were pushing for an opener, and Ethan Bristow’s cross into the box could only be turned wide by Chalmers.
Mellon introduced Chris Merrie and Jake Burton into the game, who replaced Chalmers and O’Connor on 58 minutes.
On the hour, positive build-up from Regan Hendry and Saunders ended with Merrie scuffing a shot into Addai’s grasp.
Rovers led with 68 minutes played. Turnbull remained in an attacking position, drove forward and played the ball wide to Hawkes before receiving the pass in the box, taking a touch and shooting low left-footed across the box and into Addai’s bottom right-corner.
Almost immediately after going ahead, Murphy superbly kept Rovers’ advantage, making himself big in the box to thwart Fellows in a one-on-one situation.
Crawley were awarded a penalty by referee Craig Hicks with ten minutes to go after Turnbull brought down Lynch in the box.
Telford stepped up to take the penalty, but his left-footed shot went high over Murphy’s crossbar, much to the relief of Rovers.
Davies and Turnbull had to combine to head away a dangerous cross from Dion Conroy, as Crawley threw men forward.
Rovers confidently and professionally navigated the remaining minutes to make it two wins in a row. Next up for TRFC is the visit of Hartlepool United to Prenton Park on Saturday, 3pm kick-off.
Tranmere: Murphy, Dacres-Cogley, Davies, Turnbull, Bristow, Hawkes, Hendry (Walker 64), O’Connor (Burton 58), Chalmers (Merrie 58), Lewis, Saunders
Subs not used: Hewelt, Jameson, Turner-Cooke, Mumbongo
Goal: Turnbull (68)