Tranmere were dumped out of the Carabao Cup at the first time of asking, after slumping to a 3-0 defeat against Hull City at Prenton Park.

Jon Toral scored the opener for the Championship outfit inside 20 seconds before David Milinkovic doubled the Tigers’ advantage five minutes later.

Ryan Tafazolli effectively ended the contest when he headed home a third just before the break.

Rovers improved massively in the second half, but despite fashioning a plethora of chances, they could not find a way back into the match.

Micky Mellon opted for a strong line up, making only one change from the side that went down 2-0 to Portsmouth at Fratton Park on Saturday; bringing in Corey Blackett-Taylor for Connor Jennings.

Rovers got off the worst start imaginable when the visitors took the lead almost immediately. 

A side-footed clearance by goalkeeper Scott Davies didn’t go far enough and when City worked the ball out wide to Brandon Fleming his lovely cross was headed home by Toral from close range.

Things got worse for Tranmere just five minutes later when the Tigers doubled their advantage.

When Davies repelled a fierce shot from Josh Magennis the Rovers defence failed to mop up the loose ball, allowing Milinkovic to bundle it home at the second attempt.

The hosts appeared to be in for a long night but their first moment of any quality arrived in the 17thminute, when Blackett-Taylor wriggled free of his marker on the left wing and cut inside before forcing a good save out of Matthew Ingram.

Tranmere eventually settled but Hull’s superiority was all too obvious. Leonardo Da Silva Lopes picked the pocket of the napping Ollie Banks before teeing up Josh Bowler for a shot that was held by Davies.

Hull notched a third a minute before the break when Tafazolli headed home a Milinkovic corner from inside the six-yard box.

With the words of Mellon no doubt still ringing in their ears, Tranmere returned for the second half in more positive fashion.

They were hugely unfortunate not to pull a goal back in the 49thminute when Blackett-Taylor let fly from 30 yards with a blistering strike that beat Ingram but smashed against the underside of the crossbar and bounced out. 

Blackett-Taylor was then denied by a last-ditch block before firing another one high over the bar, as Rovers exerted some genuine pressure on their Championship opponents.

Everything positive about Tranmere’s play was coming through the former Aston Villa prospect. 

He found the side-netting after leaving Milinkovic for dead on the touchline and breezing into the box.

Mellon made a double substitution shortly past the hour mark, bringing on Paul Mullin and Connor Jennings for Morgan Ferrier and Darren Potter respectively.

They were soon both involved with first Mullin forcing a full stretch save out of Ingram before Jennings was twice denied by blocks from close range.

George Ray headed a dead ball from Keiron Morris over the bar, as the hosts continued to make good chances without converting them into goals.

Liam Ridehalgh was the next to go close, arriving at the far post to direct a diving header onto the post from Jennings’ floated cross.

For all their second half efforts, Rovers just couldn’t find that net and ultimately, Hull were able to cruise to victory.

Micky Mellon: “We don’t start the game at all well. At the minute, we have to fight harder for the nil. 

“I’ve got to keep working hard with us defensively in order to try and keep that nil for longer to give us a chance.

“You saw what an attacking threat we can be going forward. We have the quality. But you’ve got to get the nil. We’ve lost too many goals from set plays. But my finger’s on what we need to get better at.” 


Tranmere Rovers 0

Hull City 3

Toral 1, Milinkovic 6, Tafazolli 45

Half time: 0-3

Referee: Sebastian Stockbridge

Attendance: 3,421

Star man: Corey Blackett-Taylor (Tranmere midfielder)

Match rating: 2/5

Tranmere team (4-5-1): Davies, Wilson, Ray, Monthe, Ridehalgh, Morris, Perkins, Banks, Potter (Jennings 62), Blackett-Taylor (Ponticelli 80), Ferrier (Mullin 62)

Tranmere subs: Pilling, Nelson, Gilmour, Payne

Hull team (4-3-3): Ingram, McKenzie, Pennington, Tafazolli, Fleming, Da Silva Lopes, Honeyman, Toral (Batty 70), Bowler, MaGennis (Eaves 63), Milinkovic (Dicko 63)

Hull subs: Long, Burke, Bowen, Kingsley