TRANMERE continued their ascent up League Two after grafting out an odd-goal victory against rock-bottom Macclesfield Town at Prenton Park.

Harvey Gilmour scored his third goal in two consecutive starts 16 minutes from time to secure a victory that keeps Rovers in the playoff pack and the Silkmen still without a league win this season.

Deeply unimpressed with his second string’s midweek capitulation to Shrewsbury Town in the Checkatrade Trophy, Micky Mellon reverted back to the side that won at Morcecambe last weekend with a couple of amends.

Having served his one match suspension, James Norwood returned up top in place of the injured Cole Stockton.

With Zoumana Bakayogo nursing a hamstring injury for three weeks and Liam Ridehalgh still not fit, Adam Buxton deputised at left back creating a spot at right back for Jake Caprice.

A healthy congregation had to wait 11 minutes for the first chance of the match when Buxton’s dipping 25-yard free kick beat Rhys Taylor but rebounded off the post.

The Silkmen had a goal disallowed on the quarter of an hour mark when Keith Lowe’s thumping header was ruled out for offside, much to his dismay.

Connor Jennings saw a header flash wide of the post from Harvey Gilmour’s corner five minutes later, as Rovers attacked the Kop end.

When James Norwood got the wrong side of Michael Rose he could only be stopped by what was virtually a rugby tackle, earning rose a certain yellow card for his efforts.

Just before the half hour mark, Johnny Smith faded a half volley over the bar from the edge of the box with Rovers continuing to dominate the opening period.

Five minutes before the break, Malachi Napa wriggled free of the Rovers defence and forced a low save out of Scott Davies before a header from Norwood asked significantly less out of Taylor at the other end.

With the first half producing little of note, Jennings tried to get Tranmere going early in the second half with a half-volley from the edge of the box that faded wide.

Starved of service, Norwood created space for himself before shooting just over the bar from 18 yards, earning a corner in the process.

From the resultant set piece Manny Monthe headed an Ollie Banks delivery into the clutches of Taylor.

Smith then tried curling effort from edge of the box but was miles off target.

Just past the hour mark Norwood had a golden opportunity to give Tranmere the lead when Banks threaded the ball through the Town defence, but Taylor stood tall and saved with his legs.

Larnell Cole was introduced on 69 minutes for Smith, as Mellon went in search of a winner but it was Macclesfield who nearly led when a low drilled free kick from Rose beat Davies but hit the inside of the post and bounced back out to safety.

Jared Hodgkiss then got the wrong side of Buxton but could only toe-poke a weak shot straight at Davies.

Tranmere finally made their superior quality tell quarter of an hour from time when they finally got their noses in front.

Running down the left touchline, Jennings evaded two challenges and cut inside before squaring to Gilmour who unleashed an unstoppable drilled shot from the edge of the box.

Jennings should have scored a second for Rovers, with less than 10 minutes to play, when Norwood put him in with just Taylor to beat.

But he somehow conspired to side-foot wide with the goal at his mercy.

Former Tranmere loanee Nathan Blissett had a late chance for the visitors but he headed harmlessly wide and the Whites were able to hold on for a third consecutive victory.

Micky Mellon said afterwards: "It’s a massive result, especially on Friday night, because we know how much it means to Tranmere and the fans to have the Friday night fixtures.

"A great turn out, brilliant atmosphere. A cagey game – it was always going to be like that I think and then we get a terrific opener that was worthy of winning any game.

"A that stage of the game, to show that strength, it’s what Connor's (Jennings) all about and to pick out young Harvey with a fantastic pass after all that, it shows you the quality of the boy.

"Harvey is a great kid. He just loves football and he’s a delight to work with all the time.

"He’s a real throwback. A lad who wants to be out there and play well. He’s not frightened of going out there a looking to take part in a game. He’s a terrific little player."

Match stats: Tranmere Rovers: 1 (Gilmour 74).

Macclesfield Town: 0.

HT: 0-0, Referee: Anthony Backhouse.


Star Man: James Norwood (Tranmere striker), Match rating: 2/5.

Tranmere (4-3-3): Davies, Buxton, McNulty, Monthe, Caprice, Banks, McCullough, Gilmour, Smith (Cole 69), Norwood, Jennings.

Subs not used: George, Harris, Mullin, Ellis, Mottley-Henry.

Macclesfield (4-3-3): Taylor, Hodgkiss, Fitzpatrick, Lowe, Grimes, Marsh (Stephens 86), Blissett, Napa (Wilson 79), Maycock, Vincenti, Rose.

Subs not used: Kelleher, Smith, Pearson, Welch-Hayes, Simpson.