Tranmere Rovers 0, Tottenham Hotspur 7 

PREMIER League giants Tottenham Hotspur dished out an old-fashioned hiding at Prenton Park, as Tranmere’s FA Cup dream came to an end in front of a sell-out crowd on Friday night.

A long-range strike from Serge Aurier gave the Londoners a 1-0 halftime lead, but they ran riot after the break, with Fernando Llorente and Aurier quickly grabbing two more goals before Son Heung-Min added another before the hour mark was even reached.

Rovers had collapsed.

Llorente scored two in two minutes to complete his hat-trick before making way for Harry Kane, who himself added a seventh.

As expected, Micky Mellon shuffled his pack after the draw with Macclesfield on New Year's Day, bringing his imperious captain Steve McNulty back into a central defensive trio with Mark Ellis and Manny Monthe either side of him.

Harvey Gilmour got the nod ahead of Jonny Smith, who wasn’t even on the bench, as fit-again Ollie Banks was deemed ready to be a substitute.

Spurs, had Kane and Christian Eriksen in reserve, but with Dele Alli and Son both starting, you could hardly accuse Mauricio Pochettino of selecting a weak side.

A mistake by McNulty seven minutes in presented the Londoners with the first chance of the match, but with Son running in on goal Scott Davies held his never before saving the South Koreans low shot with his legs.

When Connor Jennings was caught napping on the edge of his own penalty area, Son slipped Lucas Moura in on goal, but he was denied by Davies again diving low to his left.

The Premier League outfit were making all the running. When Ben Davies tried a thumping 20-yard volley on the quarter of an hour mark Davies did brilliantly, diving to his right and holding on.

Spurs had been bossing the contest from the off, but as the first half wore on, Tranmere finally got some chances.

Connor Jennings tried one of his trademark volleys from the edge of the box but it hit Juan Foyth square in the chest.

Then, a clever through ball from Luke McCulloch got James Norwood in around the back, but he made a hash of his left-footed shot, shanking it wide.

Spurs continued to show their quality. First Lllorente volleyed a Davies corner just over the bar, before a low drive from Foyth was held by Davies.

When Rovers won a succession of corners in the 35th minute, the giant defender Monthe came upfield to express an interest and on the second of Liam Ridehalgh's deliveries he saw a booming header held on the goal line by Spurs stopper Paolo Gazzaniga.

But five minutes before the break, the Premier League outfit took the lead, when Norwood was dispossessed mid-way into his own half and he was cruelly punished by Aurier, who sent a 25-yard rocket into the top corner – a slight deflection from Monthe helping it on its way.

It didn't take long for Pochettino’s side to double their lead in the second half – only three minutes in fact – when Son picked the pocket of Monthe before crossing low for Llorente to tap the ball home.

But Rovers responded, winning a succession of corners and when a throw-in from Ellis was flicked into the path of Gilmour six yards out, he was denied when Gazzinga tipped his side-foot effort over the bar.

But 10 minutes into the second half Spurs put the tie beyond doubt with two quick fire goals.

First Aurier scored his second of the match, driving home a Son cut back from 12 yards before the brilliant South Korean got on the score sheet himself two minutes later – dancing through the Rovers’ rear guard before drilling the ball home off the inside of the far post.

Jake Caprice had a chance to restore some pride for Rovers just past the half hour mark when he broke through Spurs’ high defensive line and ran in on goal, but he could only drag his right-foot shot harmlessly wide.

Tottenham continued to hunt for more goals and they scored another a two in the space of two minutes with 20 minutes to play, as the Premier League giants started to rack up a cricket score.

Llorente dispatched a quick-fire brace, first accepting a through ball from Oliver Skipp for one goal, before Moura supplied the pass for his hat-trick 60 seconds later.

With quarter of an hour still left to play, Pochettino showed Tranmere no mercy, brining on England striker Kane for Llorente and within seven minutes he lifted the ball over Davies for Tottenham’s seventh.

Referee Andre Marriner showed some sympathy to the hapless hosts by only adding on one minute of injury time but that was the only concession Rovers got all evening.

Picking out the positives, a crowd of 12,553 packed out Prenton Park.

If only more of them would stick around for Tranmere’s League Two promotion chase, they would see what Mellon’s team are really capable of.

Mellon said afterwards: "We’ve come up against world class and when you don’t do the things in the game that you have to against that type of opponent it’s obvious what’s going to happen.

“That’s the lessons that we’ll take but we knew that they were going to be outstanding and any kind of mistake, they punish you because of their quality both with and without the ball. You’ve got to realise who we were playing against.

“I thought we did very well up until halftime. We did what we said we were going to do before the game. We knew that we wouldn’t have much of the ball. We’d have liked to have been better when we got the ball back.

“I don’t think we were good enough with the ball when we won it back to be competing against a team as good as this. As well as being world class with the football they’re world class without it as well.

“That was the size of the challenge we were facing and it’s just up to us now to move forward and keeping improving.

“We’re disappointed – we thought we were going to go in at halftime 0-0 which would have been fantastic, that was everything we wanted, but we’re still in it.

“In games like these in order to gain any kind of momentum and get any kind of foothold in it, they’ve got to go in for you, but were obviously just disappointed with the final outcome.

“There’s probably £300 million worth of talent there, so that’s what you’re competing against, but in terms of us as a football club we knew we have to get better at certain things by either improving the players that we have here or bring from outside to try and keep moving it forward."

Mauricio Pochettino insisted that he brought Harry Kane on against Tranmere when Tottenham were 6-0 up ‘out of respect’.

Speaking to the Globe and the National Press after the game, he said: "I think it was to respect the people and the opponent.

"They are not going to have many chances to see Harry Kane playing here.

"I decided to put him on, but one of the important things is to show respect to the people who work and play here. Harry Kane is an icon in English football.

"It's difficult in that division (League Two) to see him."

Match stats:

Tranmere Rovers 0

Tottenham Hotspur 7 Aurier 40, 55, Llorente 48, 71, 72, Son 57, Kane 82

Half time: 0-1

Referee: Andre Marriner

Attendance: 12, 553

Star man: Scott Davies (Tranmere Goalkeeper)

Match rating: 4/5

Tranmere team (3-5-2): Davies, Ellis, McNulty, Monthe, Caprice, Harris (Banks 58), McCullough, Gilmour, Ridehalgh, Jennings (Mullin 83), Norwood

Tranmere subs: Passant, Buxton, Sutton, Stockton, Bakayogo

Tottenham team: Gazzaniga, Sanchez (Eyoma 79), Son (Marsh 65), Walker-Peters, Llorente (Kane 75), Alli, Foyth, Aurier, Moura, Davies, Skipp Tottenham subs: Alderweireld, Vorm, Sissoko, Eriksen