Tranmere Rovers............1

Micky Mellon tasted defeat as Tranmere manager for the first time as Barrow knocked his side out of the FA Cup at Holker Street.

A gift-wrapped own goal by Moussa Diarra pulled Rovers level after Richard Bennett had given the Bluebirds the lead but a second half strike from Paul Turnbull ensured that the Birkenhead club failed to make the first round proper for the second year running.

There was only one change from the side that beat Wrexham last weekend, with Lois Maynard replacing Jake Kirby as Rovers deployed a 4-5-1 formation.

Following a scrappy opening, Barrow led just past the quarter of an hour mark when Bennett headed home Jordan Williams’ in-swinging corner from close range.

Rovers were struggling with the areal threat and had barely fashioned an attack of note when they were gifted an equaliser on 24 minutes.

Wirral Globe:

Moussa Diarra's back header defies Joel Dixon, and into his own net and hands Rovers a minute equaliser

A harmless ball into the box required only a routine header from Diarra, but with the sun in his eyes, the Barrow centre-back nodded the ball backwards, over the reach of ‘keeper Joel Dixon and into the net.

Mellon’s men continued to struggle with the hosts’ threat from set pieces and but for some last ditch blocks from the Rovers rear guard, Barrow would have retaken the lead immediately.

In a half littered with mistakes a cross from Mitch Duggan was spilt by Dixon on the half hour mark but with Maynard sniffing the Barrow stopper gathered it at the second attempt.

With former Bluebird Andy Cook isolated up front in the first half, Kirby was introduced at the interval for Jay Harris as Tranmere switched to 4-4-2.

Wirral Globe:

Moussa Diarra's back header defies Joel Dixon, and into his own net and hands Rovers a minute equaliser

The change brought an initial improvement in attacking impetuous from Rovers with a direct charge from Ben Tollitt only ending when Danny Livesey cut out his through ball to Kirby.

When Barrow did launch another assault on goal, Tranmere continued to struggle, with one goalmouth melee forcing Michael Ihiekwe to clear off his line.

Rovers did not heed the warning and with 25 minutes to play Ryan Yates found space on the right and his low cross reached Turnbull on the edge of the box, who stroked the ball passed the outstretched Davies.

The hosts nearly extended their lead when Davies saved at point blank range from Bennett as once again Rovers failed to clear their lines.

Wirral Globe:

Liam Ridehalgh presses forward in an attempt to bring Rovers level for the second time in the game

Adam Mekki and Darren Stephenson were introduced as Tranmere desperately tried to alter the course of the match.

A corner from Jennings was met unchallenged by the head of Ihiekwe but overstretching, he could only nod wide.

Tempers flared late on from a Barrow corner with former home favourite McNulty in the thick of it, picking up a caution for his troubles.

A half volley from Stephenson forced a save from Dixon as Rovers finally ignited a late assault on the Barrow goal.

But that was as good as it got for the visitors, who’s failure to create goal-scoring opportunities ultimately cost them a place in the draw for the first round.

Wirral Globe:

Akil Wright and Adam Mekki clash in the latter stgaes of the game

Mellon said: “I don’t think we were surprised with the way that Barrow played. We knew what we had to deal with.

“What we are disappointing with is when we had any kind of possession of the ball, we’ve got to be better with it.

“We’ve got to run harder to try and make the overloads up and we’ve got to show a wee bit more quality when we do get that ball in order to create any chances in the final third.

“I think we were probably relying on set plays. We have to be better on the ball. The movement has to be better, has to be sharper. We’ve got to show more quality.

“Your dealing with a direct team who you know is going to kick it deep to your back four, trying win the first header and get the knockdowns. That’s what you get in these games.

“But our problems stemmed today from not retaining the ball well enough and not being able to build anything or create any chances.

“The quality of our movement needs to be better to try to find gaps in that back four.

“There’s work that we know that we’ve got to do and the players will be in on Monday and will work hard on that.”

Match Stats

Barrow 2, Bennett 16, Turnbull 73

Tranmere Rovers 1 Diarra (O.G.) 25

Half time: 1-1

Star man: Scott Davies (Tranmere goalkeeper).

Attendance: 2,133

Entertainment: 2/5

Ref rating: Martin Coy (8/10)

Barrow (4-4-2): Dixon; Beeley, Livesey, Diarra, Anderton; Akil Wright, Turnbull, Yates, Williams; Bennett, Harrison

Subs not used: Coughlin, Haworth, Harvey, Hannah, Panayiotou, Meikle, Murray

Tranmere (4-5-1): Davies, Sutton, McNulty, Ihiekwe, Ridehalgh, Duggan (Stephenson 73), Harris (Kirby 46), S Jennings, Maynard, Tollitt (Mekki 65); Cook

Subs not used: Turner, Vaughan, Osborne, Ilesamni

Bookings: Barrow: Williams, Diarra. Tranmere: Ihiekwe, McNulty.