Lincoln City 0 Tranmere Rovers 0 

TRANMERE fought hard for a respectable point at Lincoln City on Easter Monday and then had to watch as their opponents were crowned League Two champions.

Rovers knew that in order to keep any realistic chance of clinching an automatic promotion place alive, they needed a win at Sincil Bank, but despite going close several times in the second half they had to settle for a draw.

They have however now secured a guaranteed play off birth with two games remaining. Automatic promotion would require favourable results elsewh

Micky Mellon made two changes to the side that last at home to Forest Green on Good Friday, bringing in Sid Nelson for the injured Mark Ellis and Paul Mullin at the expense of Ben Pringle.

The Imps had a chance to take the lead just two minutes into the match, when Michael O'Connor was played in on goal, only to be brilliantly denied by the legs of Scott Davies.

Matt Rhead then tried a measured half volley from 25 yards out but it was easy for the Tranmere ‘keeper.

Over 20 minutes had passed before Rovers got their first opportunity, when James Norwood collected a ball over the top from Ollie Banks wide left in the box and tried to beat Matt Gilks at his near post, but the City stopper was wise to it.

Rhead had the ball in the back of the net for City on the half hour mark, but referee Anthony Backhouse had already blown for a foul by Manny Monthe on the edge of the box and the resultant freekick came to nothing.

Tranmere had spent most the opening period defending, but when Connor Jennings side-footed Jake Caprice’ cross just wide, he probably should have done better.

A clever free kick from the hosts ended with Davies saving well from Bruno Andrade, before Neal Eardley's rebound was blocked on the line by Zoumana Bakayogo.

Mellon made a double substitution at half time.

Bringing on Evan Gumbs for Sid Nelson in defence and Harvey Gilmour for Mullin, as Rovers reverted to a five-man midfield.

Youngster Gumbs was making his first appearance of the season and he was soon called into action, cutting out a low cross from Rowe on the edge of the Tranmere six-yard box.

Rovers' extra man in midfield appeared to be making a difference and when Kerion Morris’ shot on the edge of the box was blocked, Jay Harris pulled the rebound wide.

Norwood then flicked the ball expertly over Harry Toffolo’s head but rushed his shot and blazed off-target as Rovers looked to take the initiative.

But Lincoln were denied a certain goal, moments later when, with the goal at his mercy, Rhead’s side foot effort from eight yards out was cleared off the line by Caprice.

Davies had to be alert to make a clean catch from John Akinde’s header off a long throw, as the Imps fought back.

When Gumbs headed a high ball out to the right back position, it went straight to Akinde in the dangers position, but the 21-year-old defender reacted quickly to recover the situation.

Conner Jennings had the ball in the net for Rovers 22 minutes from time but the linesmen’s flag had long gone up.

The hosts had two penalty appeals waved away by the referee in quick succession – first for handball by Morris before Rhead went to ground from the ensuing corner.

Norwood then had a brace of opportunities provided by Harris to give the visitors the lead, but first he shot straight at Gilks, before blazing wide a better opportunity on the next attack.

As the game headed towards its conclusion, substitute Shay McCarten tried a fierce half volley from 20 yards but Davies held on.

In the 90th minute, the desperately unlucky Gumbs pulled up injured, presenting a chance for Lincoln to nick a winner but Mark O’Hara could only skew the chance wide.

It proved to be immaterial as results elsewhere confirmed that Lincoln could not be caught and were coronated there and then, cueing a mass pitch invasion.

Micky Mellon said: "First half you would have to give credit to Lincoln and say that they were the better side. We rejigged things at half time and in the second half we could have had three or four.

"We showed better qualities in the second half. I was disappointed in the first half. But certainly, in the second we looked more like a group of players representing Tranmere.

"We're puffing our chests out and saying yes we could've had a few goals. The lads that came on did great for us. They did everything that was necessary.

"We're in good form. We're playing well. We've looked at the Forest Green game and we didn’t do a lot wrong in that either.

"The performances are good. You’ve just got to carry on a believe in it and put away a couple of good chance and things will be different."

Match stats:

Lincoln City 0

Tranmere Rovers 0

HT: 0-0

Referee: Anthony Backhouse Attendance: 9,658

Match rating: 2/5 Star man: Jay Harris (Tranmere midfielder)

Lincoln: Gilks, O'Connor (Pett 78), O’'Hara, Rhead (McCartan 82), Andrade (Anderson 67), Toffolo, Bostwick, Rowe, Eardley, Bolger, Akinde

Subs not used: Vickers, Wilson, Roberts

Tranmere: Davies, Caprice, Nelson (Gumbs 46 (Buxton 90)), Monthe, Bakayogo, Morris, Banks, Harris, Jennings, Mullin (Gilmour 46), Norwood Subs not used: Pilling, Smith, Pringle, Dagnall