Tranmere Rovers..........2

Aldershot Town............2

Tranmere lost ground at the top of the National League after they were held to a draw by Aldershot in a breathless match at Prenton Park.

A win for league leaders Lincoln against relegation-threatened Torquay saw them move five points clear of Rovers in the table.

Aldershot took the lead through Matt McClure in the fourth minute but were pegged back by a Cole Stockton volley before Connor Jennings put Rovers in front.

A defensive lapse allowed Bernard Mensah to pounce before the break, levelling up the scores in what was a pulsating opening 45 minutes, but that score line was how the contest concluded, leaving Rovers five points adrift of Lincoln, who have a game in hand.

With Jay Harris ruled out for the rest of the season, Micky Mellon selected Lois Maynard in midfield, ahead of James Wallace who retained a place on the bench.

The Shots started brightly, with Jake Gallagher pulling a strike wide from 25 yards in the first minute.

And they took the lead in the fourth minute when Matt McClure controlled the ball in the Rovers’ penalty area, forcing his way past a sleepy defensive backline before firing home.

Tranmere were rattled and had to rely on the reflexes of Scott Davies to keep out a Kundai Benyu free kick moments later.

But the Whites drew level when goalkeeper Jake Cole could only palm a James Norwood shot into the path of Stockton, who thumped home a half-volley.

The visitors came close to retaking the lead in the 22nd minute, when Benyu slipped Mensah in on goal, but Davies rushed out to make a crucial stop.

And two minutes later it was Tranmere who went in front. Norwood again the instigator – flicking the ball into the path of Jennings, who atoned for his wasted chances on Tuesday by slotting the ball home.

Back came the visitors, carving their way through the Rovers’ defence but this time Michael Ihiekwe was at his best getting in a last ditch block on McClure.

The Shots were denied a penalty in the 37th minute when Idris Kanu went to ground in the box, but four minutes before the break they did draw level again.

A flick-on deceived Adam Buxton, allowing Mensah to pounce, guiding a low strike into the corner of the net.

Fans in the ground and watching on television would not have wanted half time to arrive, such was the ebb and flow of this titanic tussle, but the second half could not live up to the drama of the first.

A cross from Lee Vaughan was met by the head of Norwood, but Cole got down well to deny him.

The action on the pitch might not have been living up to the high standards of the first half but that certainly wasn’t for a lack of will from both sets of supporters who continued to create a buzzing atmosphere.

Rovers brought on Erico Sousa and Andy Cook as they searched for an elusive winner.

A cross from Liam Ridehalgh was nodded just wide by Maynard in the closing stages, but that was a close as Rovers came to securing a victory, as Aldershot held firm late on.

And with Lincoln coming from behind to beat Torquay United, attentions will start to turn to the playoffs, with three games of the regular season remaining.

Micky Mellon will want to ensure that his side at least finishes second, giving themselves the best opportunity to advance to a Wembley final.

But if that means the possibility of playing Aldershot again, an epic two-legged encounter could be just around the corner.

The manager said: “I didn’t think we started well. The first 15-20 minutes – maybe even longer – there was too many times where we were second.

“We’re disappointed with the goal we gave away, we shouldn’t be given them away with the quality of players that we have.

“Then we rallied. The front two looked a constant threat with their pace and power. We looked like our old selves.

“Then we got going and got ourselves in front and then we gave away another crazy goal.

"There were things in it that we’ve not seen this season.

“After the break the tempo of the game dropped a little bit and we just couldn’t get that wee bit of quality in the final third to open things up.

“In the end we’d have to say that 2-2 was a fair result.”

Rovers are in action again on Easter Monday at Guiseley.

Match Stats:

Tranmere Rovers 2 Stockton 13, C Jennings 24

Aldershot Town 2 McClure 4, Mensah 41

Half time: 2-2

Star man: James Norwood (Tranmere striker).

Attendance: 6,324

Entertainment: 5/5

Ref rating: Peter Wright (7/10)

Tranmere (3-4-1-2): Davies player rating 8; Buxton 6 (Sousa 68, 6), McNulty 6, Ihiekwe 7; Vaughan 7, Hughes 6, Maynard 5, Ridehalgh 6; C Jennings 8; Stockton 8 (Cook 76, 6), Norwood 9.

Subs not used: Turner, Cook, Wallace, Collins

Aldershot (4-2-3-1): Cole player rating 8; Arnold 7, Evans 6, Reynolds 6, Straker 6; Gallagher 7, Kellermann 6 (Oyeleke 80, 6); Mensah 8, Benyu 7, Kanu 7 (Fenelon 74, 6); McClure 8

Subs not used: Rendell, Hyam, Smith

Bookings: Tranmere: Stockton, Ihiekwe, Jennings

Aldershot: Benyu