Southport 0, Tranmere Rovers 2

TOTTENHAM Hotspur will be coming to Prenton Park in January after Tranmere finally saw off neighbours Southport in a sell-out FA Cup second round replay at Haig Avenue.

Two stunning first-half volleys from Connor Jennings ensured that the Birkenhead club will host Premier League giants Spurs in the third round, when they will attempt to add another top-flight scalp to their illustrious list of giant killings.

The stakes couldn't have been higher for Rovers, all too aware that victory would ensure a bumper pay day that could shape the rest of the rest of their season.

Micky Mellon made five changes to the side that lost at Notts County 48 hours earlier, switching to a 3-5-2 formation.

Centre-backs Steve McNulty and Manny Monthe returned to the side, with Liam Ridehalgh, Harvey Gilmour and striker Paul Mullin also earning a recall in the pursuit of fresh legs.

Tranmere opened the scoring quarter of an hour in, when a half-clearance dropped into the path of Jennings, who executed a perfect 30-yard volley that left Daniel Hanford clutching thin air.

Rovers could have doubled their lead when James Norwood started a breakaway, feeding Jennings, who played a beautifully-floated ball into the feet of Mullin, but he could only flick the ball over the bar.

The Sandgrounders fashioned their first real chance of sorts on the half hour mark, when Jordan Richards sent a speculative long-range effort well over.

With his eye for goal already totally engaged, Jennings tried another blistering strike from 25-yards, but this time Hanford was wise to it.

His opposite number – Scott Davies – had to be switched on to acrobatically flick a long-range Bradley Bauress header over the bar, as Southport responded.

But two minutes before the break Rovers went two up when a slick move across the width of the pitch fed Jake Caprice down the right and his by-line cross was again volleyed home by Jennings, this time from six yards out.

Tranmere had a scare in first half injury time when a Davies punched the ball off one of his defenders' heads for a corner, narrowly avoiding a shambolic own goal.

The visitors missed an opportunity to go three up immediately after the restart, when Mullin was put in on goal but kicked the turf whilst attempting to apply a finish.

A head tennis rally in the Tranmere penalty area ended when Liam Edwards shot just wide, thumping the ground in frustration.

Dion Charles went closer still – his fierce low drive forcing a Davies to tip the ball around the post at full stretch.

Sandgrounders captain David Morgan then pulled an effort wide from the edge of the box, as the hosts tried to force their way back into the contest.

But marshalled by imperious captain McNulty, with Mark Ellis and Monthe alongside him, Rovers weathered the storm and limited Southport to long-range efforts.

Charles pulled another full-stretch save out of Davies in the closing stages, but in truth this was a comfortable victory at the second attempt for Rovers, who can now plan for the second half of the season in the knowledge that a significant cash boost is on the way in January.

Rovers boss Micky Mellon said afterwards: "We were made to work very hard for it over the two ties, so we're delighted to get over the line with fantastic support, great atmosphere, TV cameras here.

"We know why they're all here.

"We just needed to be very professional and good at whatever the game asked us and we're very grateful that the players were and battled away and professionally saw us over the line.

"They're two terrific goals (from Connor Jennings) at any stage. There's been some goals in this tie hasn't there?

"The technique involved in keeping that (ball) down and hitting the target with that is fantastic and his movement for the second one is brilliant.

"We've been made to play two games in three days.

"Southport were able to rest their entire team. We never once moaned and just got on with it.

"Every credit to Southport. They never disappointed. We knew it was going to be tough and we'd have to work hard to get through and work hard we did.

"We delighted now to have that tie in January."

Match stats:

Southport 0

Tranmere Rovers 2 (Jennings 14, 43)

Referee: Thomas Bramall 7/10

Attendance: 5,414

Match rating 3/5

Star man: Connor Jennings (Tranmere Midfielder)

Southport: (4-2-3-1): Hanford 7, Richards 5 (Archer 80, 6) Winnard 6, Astles 6, Ogle 8, Wood 6 (Green 63, 6) Edwards 7 (Gilchrist 89, NA), Charles 7, Morgan 7, Bauress 6, Sampson 7

Subs not used: Mueller, Parry, Tibbetts, Homson-Smith

Tranmere: (3-5-2): Davies 8, Ellis 7, McNulty 8, Monthe 8, Caprice 8 (Buxton 86, NA), Jennings 9, Harris 6, Gilmour 6, Ridehalgh 6, Mullin 6 (Stockton 80, 6), Norwood 6

Subs not used: Sutton, Smith, George, Bakayogo, Cole