Tranmere manager Micky Mellon was left with little choice but to accept that his side were second best to Forest Green in the National League playoff final.

The Whites started the game as favourites but went down 3-1, meaning the Prenton Park will have to entertain non-league football for another year at least.

And the popular Scot conceded that on the grandest stage his players had simply failed to deliver when it mattered most.

Speaking at a fairly brief post-match press conference, he said: “Some of the goals that we’ve given away – we’re obviously very disappointed about. If you come to a place like this, you’ve got to do better than we did in those moments.

“We made it very difficult for ourselves and the third goal was a killer goal. Another mistake really.

“On the day I totally believe that the better team won.

"We have to take our medicine for that and every credit to Forest Green. There’s things that you have to do well at places like this and they did today.”

Rovers where guilty of missing some good chances while their Gloucestershire opposites were ruthless in front of goal.

The result was particularly harsh on Tranmere given that they had finished the regular season on 95 points – nine clear of Forest Green.

Mellon added: “I think when it went one each and we missed the one-v-one with the goalkeeper, that was a big moment in the game. We weren’t able to take our chances and if you’re going to be successful here you’ve got to take them haven’t you?

“It’s easy for me to say it’s unfair (playoff system) but we know the rules at the start of the season.

"Looking at it broader, do I think there needs to be two automatic and one for the playoffs? Yes, because I think there’s teams in the football league who are just hanging in there and don’t have the ambition of many of the teams in the National League.

“It’s a sore one for us today and we really feel for the supporters because to come to a place like this – it’s no place for runners-up.

“It’s a long time until we get going again.

"I don’t want to take anything away from Forest Green in what was a deserved victory but I think that we would feel as a group maybe too many of us never gave us the impact that we would expect on a decisive day.

“But to get to Wembley they have been fantastic. It’s been a brilliant journey but we just fell on the last hurdle."