Tranmere Rovers 0, Forrest Green Rovers 1
A LATE goal from Kaiyne Woolery put a massive dent in Tranmere's automatic promotion hopes, as they were picked off by Forest Green at Prenton Park.
Only last-ditch blocks and impressive saves from goalkeeper Sam Russell prevented Rovers from scoring in a match they dominated, only to be undone in the final few minutes.
And with Lincoln winning 1-0 at home to Chester, the Birkenhead club's route back to the Football League looks ever likely to be diverted to the play-offs.
Micky Mellon kept faith with the side that steamrolled Solihull Moors 9-0 on Saturday but added James Wallace to his bench, at the expense of Adam Mekki.
Tranmere started well, with James Norwood forcing a low save out of Russell early on.
A mistake by Mark Ellis in the Forest Green defence almost let Cole Stockton in on 14 minutes, but his first time shot was deflected over the bar.
The hosts kept up the pressure and Norwood was only denied the opener when Curtis Tilt heroically blocked his eight-yard strike from point blank range.
A smart one-two from Jeff Hughes and Norwood teed up Connor Jennings but the foot of Russell saved his tame effort.
When Adam Buxton rattled the underside of the crossbar with a dipping 35-yard free kick, Russell could only watch and pray as it bounced back out to safety.
Rovers were throwing everything at Forest Green and when Jennings got his head on another devilish cross from Ridehalgh, Russell had to be at his very best to claw the ball off the line.
The visitors got their first real chance of the evening early in the second half when Davies had to be at full stretch to tip a curling effort from Marcus Kelly around the post.
A golden opportunity arrived for Tranmere in the 56th minute when Tilt was disposed by Norwood, who crossed for Stockton.
The striker then laid the ball off for Jennings, but again his shot was too weak and Russell could make the save when a goal looked the likely outcome.
A stupendous through ball from Buxton was received by Norwood in the left hand channel but his cross for Stockton was over hit and the chance was gone.
A 25-yard free kick from Buxton was punched away by the excellent Russell, as the White Rovers continued to knock on the door.
Rovers continued to press for a winner but with eight minutes remaining the visitors should have scored on the break.
Clean through on goal – substitute Omar Bugiel saw his shot pushed over the bar by Davies.
But when tiring Tranmere failed to clear their lines on 85 minutes, substitute Woolery slotted the ball past Davies stunning Prenton Park into momentary silence.
Andy Cook headed over from close range at the death, but there was no way through, leaving Rovers – despite their best efforts – cruelly empty handed.
Rovers boss Micky Mellon said afterwards: "Over the course of the 90 minutes it was probably the best performance of the season. Which is strange for me to have to say.
"But I'm never one to get carried away. At the end of the day you've got to put the ball in the back of the net.
"When the chances come you've got to take them. I can stand here and say that Forest Green's had one chance and taken it, but that's the object of the game.
"In these tight games, when you create clear cut chances, you must take them. It's as simple as that.
"I think the whole evening was a fantastic event. The fans got right behind us, we played some brilliant football.
"We totally dominated, there’s no doubt about that.
"It was a complete domination job, but we never scored the goals that we needed to win games of football".
Tranmere Rovers 0
Forest Green Rovers 1 (Woolery, 85)
Half time: 0-0
Star man: Adam Buxton (Tranmere centre back).
Ref rating: Craig Hicks (8/10)
Tranmere (4-2-3-1): Davies; Buxton, McNulty, Ihiekwe; Vaughan (Sousa 87), Hughes, Harris (Wallace 27), Ridehalgh; C Jennings; Stockton (Cook 72), Norwood.
Subs not used: Turner, Collins
Forest Green (3-5-2): Russell; Ellis, Mothe, Tilt; Bennett, Wedgbury, Cooper, Kelly (Bugiel 74), Wishart; Doidge, Mullings (Woolery 59)
Subs not used: Traore, Robert, Lefebvre Bookings Tranmere: Hughes Forest Green: Bennett
Rovers' National League camopaign continues with two games over Easter weekend.
They are at home to Aldershot on Good Friday, kick-off 3pm, and face Guiseley on Easter Monday at 3pm.