Tranmere Rovers 2 Wrexham 0
A SLICE of good fortune gave Micky Mellon a winning start to his tenure at Prenton Park as Tranmere pipped Wrexham to victory.
An embarrassing second-half own goal from Dragons stopper Shwan Jalal and an injury time Andy Cook strike gave Rovers a much-needed three points in what was a relatively timid local derby.
Michael Ihiekwe returned to the side after a one-match suspension, with Ritchie Sutton reverting to right back.
Portsmouth loanee Ben Tollitt came back into the side with Lois Almond dropping to the bench.
James Norwood missed out with an on-going groin injury and there was no place on the bench for Lee Vaughan.
Tranmere started with purpose, with a shot from Jake Kirby in the third minute blocked by the head of Kai Edwards.
A shot on the edge of the box from Mark Carrington tested the alertness of Rovers 'keeper Scott Davies as he just about held onto the left foot effort.
A direct run from the half-way line by Tollitt roused the home crowd before a shot from Kirby was punched cleared by Jalal.
The Dragon's stopper then held a header from Cook as Rovers seized the initiative.
Jennings played a one-two with Kirby from a corner on the half hour mark and drilled a low shot at the front post, which was pushed wide by Jalal at full stretch.
Jennings then blazed one over the bar from fully 30 yards before the captain bulldozed his way through the Wrexham penalty area, eventually clattering into Jalal and Curtis Tilt – both of which required treatment.
A mistake by Jay Harris handed the Dragons a chance on the break but Liam Ridehalgh was able to divert Rob Evans' shot wide of the goal.
Tranmere almost took the lead just before halftime when the impressive Tollitt cannoned a 25-yarder on goal that smacked the crossbar with Jajal well beaten.
Rovers' new manager Micky Mellon greets the fans
Rovers struggled to make in-roads after the break – the only moment of note in the first 10 minutes was Davies juggling a hairy back pass from Ihiekwe on his knees.
Melon introduced Darren Stephenson in 62 minutes for the unproductive Kirby as Rovers attempted to inject much need urgency into their play.
Rovers' new manager Micky Mellon watches the action
But when a goal did arrive for Tranmere two minutes later it was from an unlikely source.
A free kick was headed somewhat harmlessly towards goal by Sutton, but under no pressure, Jalal conspired to fumble the ball and bundle it into his own net.
Wrexham almost drew level moments later when Hamza Bencherif saw his header from a corner nodded off the line by Harris with Davies beaten.
With the game opening up, Harris fed Tollitt on the edge of the box, who ran parallel to the goal past two defenders before firing just over the bar.
Another counter presented a golden opportunity to Andy Cook but after cutting inside Tilt, he opted to shoot with the outside of his right foot and Jalal could save comfortably.
The visitors were in no mood to throw the towel in and responded with Jordan Evans on 75 minutes, pulling a long-range effort wide.
Tranmere had chances to cement their lead with a drive from the now confident Sutton saved by Jalal before Tollitt whistled another effort over the bar.
But the contest was eventually settled for good in injury time when Elliot Osborne fed Cook, who slammed home his seventh goal of the season and set new manager Mellon onto an upwardly mobile course.
Praising his squad, Micky Mellon, who was appointed as the new manager yesterday said: "They’ve worked hard all week with Paul (Carden) and then put in a performance like that we’ve got to be really pleased.
"At this level you’ll get asked certain questions in the game. Today it asked us, could we deal with a bit of direct play from Wrexham?
"Could we win the first headers and then get some control from the knockdowns and go and punish Wrexham?
"Could we shift across the pitch from side to side fast and keep the two units of four and still be a threat with the front two?
"I believe that we did all that brilliantly well today. People will say that we didn't play like Barcelona, but that might be for another day.
"Today we were asked a question and I thought the players were fantastic and answered it brilliantly well.
"Young Mitch (Duggan) works his socks off. I believe he’ll become a real favourite here not just because of the way he is on the ball but they way he fights and battles away.
"The fans were absolutely terrific. We're going to need them.
"They got right behind us when we needed them. I'm sure they'll go and have a good weekend now.
"I'm absolutely delighted to be here. I really mean it.
"To be able to manage the team that you have so much love and affection for is the absolute reason why I came back here."
Tranmere Rovers 2
Jalal (o.g.) 64, Cook 90+3 Wrexham 0
Half time: 0-0
Star man: Ben Tollitt (Tranmere, midfielder)
Ref rating: Stephen Ross (7/10)
Tranmere (4-4-2): Davies 6; Sutton 7, McNulty 8, Ihiekwe 7, Ridehalgh 7; Duggan 7, Harris 6, S Jennings 6, Tollitt 8 (Osborne 85, NA); Cook 8, Kirby 5 (Stephenson 62, 5)
Subs not used: Turner, Almond, Gumbs
Wrexham (4-3-3): Jalal 6; Carrington 6, Tilt 7, Edwards 7, Newton 6; R Evans 6 (McDonagh 70, 6), Bencherif 6, J Evans 6; Rutherford 6 (Barry 76, 5), Harvey 5, Rooney 6 (Powell 76, 5)
Subs not used: Harrad, Nortey
Shots on: 9
Shots off: 5
Shots on: 3
Shots off: 6