Tranmere were made to pay for missed chances after a late Tyrone Marsh goal denied them all three points in a thrilling encounter with Macclesfield Town.

Larnell Cole gave Rovers the lead with a brilliant counter-attack move before Scott Wilson drew the Silkmen level.

Andy Cook immediately put the Whites back in front before the break but despite a clutch of squandered opportunities Marsh struck at the death to ensure that the spoils were shared in the cruellest fashion.

Micky Mellon made one change to the side that slipped to defeat at Gateshead on Saturday.

With Liam Ridehalgh injured in that match, youngster Eddie Clarke came in at left back.

Mac had the first chance on goal when Elliott Durrell pushed a low drive wide from 20 yards after five minutes.

The hosts kept up the pressure with Ryan Lloyd forcing a save out of Scott Davies before Scott Burgess blazed a follow-up effort over the bar.

Rovers responded with James Norwood curling over with his right-foot after Cole teed him up.

Tranmere had limited opportunities in the opening quarter of an hour but the took the lead in the 19th minute with a brilliant counter-attack goal.

From a Macclesfield corner, Rovers broke away with Norwood spotting the run of Ollie Norburn, who crossed low for Cole to smash the ball home from close range.

Town responded quickly with Burgess pulling a fingertip save out of Davies from 20 yards.

The Silkmen continued to threaten throughout the first half with Scott Wilson glancing a cross from Danny Whitaker just wide of the post shortly after the half hour mark.

They were rewarded five minutes before halftime when Steve McNulty pulled down George Pilkington in the box and the referee pointed to the spot.

Davies saved the initial penalty from Whitaker but Wilson reacted quickest to stick home the rebound.

But within two minutes Tranmere’s lead was restored with a trademark strike from Cook.

Youngster Eddie Clarke made a galloping run down the left wing and crossed for the Rovers’ striker who turned his man before cracking off an early shot that bamboozled Town keeper Shwan Jalal and nestled in the bottom corner.

Mellon made a change at the interval, with Connor Jennings replacing goal scorer Cole.

The hosts had the first effort of the second period, with Danny Whitehead slicing a long-range effort wide before Wilson followed suit.

Town were making all the running with McNulty blocking a shot from Burgess before the Rovers captain cleared the danger at the second attempt.

Norwood tried an ambitious effort from 35 yards that did little to trouble Jalal as the visitors’ attempted to quell some of the Silkmen pressure.

Town nearly drew level when Burgess broke free and beat Davies, only for Ritchie Sutton to heroically clear off the line.

Having soaked up the pressure Tranmere had a golden chance to extend their lead when Cook flicked Norwood in on goal but he opted for an acrobatic volley that went embarrassingly wide.

Cook then whipped a beautiful ball across the face of the goal that Norwood reached but Jalal was able to turn it around for a corner, which Cook headed just wide.

The game continued to ebb and flow with a corner nodded just wide by Keith Lowe – beating McNulty on this occasion.

Another flick on from the imperious Cook gave Norwood a further opportunity but under pressure from Jalal he flicked it over the bar.

Back came Mac, with Koby Arthur striking straight into the guts of McNulty – the veteran centre back answering every question asked of him.

A cross from Lloyd had to be dealt with by Davies, who flicked it over the bar for a corner, as it threatened to drop into the net.

But as the game moved into stoppage time the hosts’ constant pressure finally paid off.

A free kick from the right wasn’t dealt with and substitute Marsh was in the right place to stroke home from close range.

Incredibly Rovers almost won it with a thunderous drive from Norburn that Jalal had to punch away at full stretch.

The result was a harsh punishment for missed chances but no one could deny that Macclesfield were value for a point, however late they left it.

Speaking to Tranmere Rovers’ official website after the match, Mellon said: “We’re desperately disappointed that we’ve lost another last minute goal.

"It’s not good enough, we accept that. You’ve got to show more aggression to get yourselves over the line.

"Not missing chances again which shouldn’t be getting missed. It could’ve put us out of sight. A very disappointing evening.

“It wasn’t even a good ball in (for the equaliser). We should deal with it much better than we did.

"We never – it’s not good enough in that moment. The chances that we’re missing are bordering on ridiculous, let’s be honest.

“We shouldn’t have to come anywhere and score three goals to win a game of football. Two should be enough.

"We know they’re flinging bodies forward but when you get a set play you’ve got to defend it with your life. It’s not good enough.

“To gain a draw in the way that we did when you’re so close to getting over the line – with what we’ve gone through in the last week – is a tough one to take.

“We’ll have to dust ourselves down – as we always do, go through it again – as we always do and just hopefully the players try and learn from it. The support tonight was magnificent. They deserved better than what we gave them.

"Right at the very end we’ve let them down.”

Match stats

Macclesfield Town 2

Wilson 40, Marsh 90+1

Tranmere Rovers 2

Cole 19, Cook 42

Referee: D Middleton 6/10

Attendance: 1,709 (629)

Match rating: 4/5

Star man: Steve McNulty, Tranmere Centre back

Macclesfield: (4-4-2): Jalal, Hodgkiss, Lowe, Pilkington, Fitzpatrick, Durrell, Whittaker (Arthur 63), Lloyd, Whitehead, Burgess (Marsh 80), Wilson

Subs not used: Ramsbottom, Kennedy, Hancox

Tranmere: (4-4-2): Davies, Buxton, McNulty, Sutton, Clarke, Mottley-Henry, Banks, Norburn, Cole (Jennings 46), Cook (Kay 90), Norwood (McDonagh 85)

Subs not used: Pilling, Gumbs