Carlisle United 0, Tranmere Rovers 2

A CRUCIAL Scott Davies penalty save paved the way for Tranmere's first away win of the season in a tight contest against Carlisle United.

The hosts looked to be going in front when they were awarded a spot kick late on, but Davies repelled Jamie Devitt's strike from 12 yards.

An own goal from Tom Parkes ten minutes from time gave Rovers the lead before substitute Paul Mullin secured the win on 86 minutes.

Victory sees Tranmere shoot up to eighth in League Two, just outside the playoff positions.

Micky Mellon made one change to the side that drew with Colchester United last time out, bringing in winger Dylan Mottley-Henry for Johnny Smith.

New signing Ryan Williams is still awaiting international clearance and will have to wait another week at least for his first involvement.

Rovers had the first chance of the match seven minutes in when James Norwood pulled at shot wide from the edge of the box.

Ollie Banks pinged a 25-yard drive just past the post before Connor Jennings forced a saved out of Adam Collin, as Tranmere provided all the early pressure.

Scott Davies was relived to a see a looping header from United's Richie Bennett crash against the bar, with the 'keeper well beaten.

Cole Stockton responded at the other end, with a drilled 20-yarder that was tipped over for a corner by Collin.

Confusion in the Rovers rear guard presented the ball on the six-yard box straight to Bennett, but his Ashley Nadesan couldn’t reach his square ball and the chance was gone.

When Devitt crossed the ball into the box for United 10 minutes before half-time, the whole Rovers defence stood still leaving Bennett totally unmarked, but his unconvincing header trickled wide to the relief of the Super White Army.

After Steve McNulty conceded a corner with an over hit back pass to Davies, Devitt took a return pass from the resultant corner and floated a curling effort just wide of the post.

Tranmere returned for the second half with more attacking purpose, as an early shot from Banks was deflected over the bar for a corner.

Good play down the right from Norwood and Jake Caprice saw the ball centered for Stockton, who blazed over on the turn.

If the away team needed further encouragement, they were getting plenty from Tranmere's travelling Super White Army, who had made an almighty racket throughout the contest.

Carlisle still posed a threat at the other end however.

Devitt pulled a 25-yard effort just wide, before a cross from Gary Liddle was missed by everyone with the goal gaping.

Both teams struggled to string together passing sequences and were relying on second balls more for opportunities.

A shot from Hallam Hope curled well wide before the game's first key moment arrived.

United were awarded a penalty when a shot from Liddle went wide, but Davies was adjudged to have brought him down in the process.

Devitt stepped up to blast the penalty, but was brilliantly denied by the Tranmere goalkeeper who dived to his right and pushed the ball to safety.

That lifted the spirits of the away team and with 10 minutes remaining they made the breakthrough when a cross from Jake Caprice was turned into his own net by the otherwise outstanding Tom Parkes.

Devitt dragged another effort wide as Carlisle looked meekly for an equaliser, but substitute Mullin put the game to bed with four minutes remaining.

Collecting the ball on the edge of the box, he took a touch before brilliantly curling it into the top corner giving Collin no chance.

Mullin celebrated wildly in front of the even wilder travelling contingent.

Rovers should have had a third when substitute Johnny Smith skinned his marker before forcing a save out of the legs of Adam Collin.

Norwood then saw a curled effort crash back off the underside of the crossbar before Mullin stuck the ball over on the half volley.

But nevertheless this was a superb victory for Tranmere in a difficult match.

Rovers' manager Micky Mellon said: "I thought we played very well. We took our chances and were clinical when they came along.

"I think the turning point is the outrageous penalty against us. I'm lost for words if I'm honest.

"Thankfully it was the turning point in our favour in a tight game to be fair.

"But we kept our discipline and stuck to what we knew we had to do.

"We always believe that we have good players and when the game becomes a little bit stretched we know that we've got players that can go and exploit that.

"It was a fantastic save. The goalkeeper, who last week took a little bit of grief because his standards are so high – if he makes a mistake it gets highlighted because he's so good.

"He's brilliant for me ever since he’s played for me.

"To make that save at that stage has no doubt turned the game around because there’s no doubt whoever got the first goal was going to be playing the rest of the match with a wet sail and look the favourites to get over the line." 

Match stats:

Tranmere Rovers 2 (Parkes (o.g.) 80, Mullin 86)

Carlisle United: Collin, Liddle, Gerrard, Parkes, Hope, Devitt, Gillesphey, Bennett (McCarron 90), Yates (Sowerby 54), Etuhu, Nadesan (Campbell 73)

Subs not used: O'Reilly, Miller, Glendon, Slater

Tranmere: Davies, Caprice, McNulty, Monthe, Bakayogo, Mottley-Henry (73), McCulloch, Banks, Jennings, Norwood, Stockton (Mullin 86)

Subs not used: George, Buxton, Ellis, Gilmour, Cole

Man of the match: Scott Davies (Tranmere goal keeper)

Attendance: 5,186 (796 away)

Referee: Matthew Donohue (6/10)

Match rating: 2/5