Tranmere had to wait for over an hour before putting non-league Chichester City to the sword at Prenton Park and in doing so advance to the FA Cup third round.

A hat-trick from Morgan Ferrier was book-ended by two goals from Corey Blackett-Taylor as Rovers eventually trounced their opponents from the eighth tier of English Football.

Micky Mellon made three changes to the side that lost narrowly at Fleetwood Town, but still fielded what would be regarded as a full-strength side.

Liam Ridehalgh, David Perkins and Corey Blackett-Taylor all came in, replacing the injured Cameron Borthwick-Jackson, Connor Jennings and George Ray respectively.

It was the Ryman League team who had the first chance when Josh Clark held off the attention of Manny Monthe to cross for Scott Jones, who sent a header inches wide with Scott Davies beaten.

Around 500 supporters had made the long journey from the south coast and they were determined to make the occasion a memorable one, backing their side with gusto.

City were arguably the better team in the opening half hour, with lacklustre Rovers limited to one pulled effort from Blackett-Taylor and a shot from Kieron Morris that deflected behind for a corner.

Mis-placed passes and long hopeful balls where a reoccurring theme, but when Ferrier found Blackett-Taylor in the box, his left-footed shot skimmed the top of the crossbar when it should have burst the net.

Morris saw a low drive comfortably held by Steve Mowthorpe shortly before the break but the Chi ‘keeper went one better moments later when he instinctively flicked a close-range header from Rushian Hepburn-Murphy over the bar.

Presumably unimpressed by what he had witnessed in the first half, Mellon made a change at half time. Hooking Hepburn-Murphy for Jennings.

The hosts went on the attack pushing their opponents further back. Blackett-Taylor saw a shot blocked as the pressure on City intensified. 

With attacking full-back Jake Caprice becoming more heavily involved, Tranmere finally made the breakthrough shortly past the hour mark.

When Caprice crossed for Ferrier, the striker’s header crashed against the crossbar but Blackett-Taylor was on hand to side-foot home the rebound.

Two minutes later Rovers doubled their advantage when Chichester’s centre backs failed to cut out a hopeful ball forward from Monthe, allowing Ferrier to run through on goal and slot calmly past Mowthorpe.

The hosts were now well on top, as part-time Chichester started to fade rapidly.

Another lump upfield from Monthe was not dealt with by the overworked Chi defence allowing Ferrier to sneak in and superbly lob the ‘keeper for his second of the match.

And his hat-trick arrived with quarter of an hour to play when Tranmere’s best move of the match resulted in Caprice crossing for Ferrier to tap home from close range.

Blackett-Taylor then grabbed his second of the match and Tranmere’s fifth with a well-executed first time finished into the bottom corner, as Chichester folded.

But they weren’t to leave Birkenhead empty handed as substitute Ryan Peake headed home a consolation goal in the 90th minute that was celebrated wildly by the travelling supporters and no one could deny them that reward.

Tranmere now turn their attention to the trophy on Wednesday evening when they host Manchester United under 21s in the round of 32. 

Micky Mellon said: “I think on these occasions it’s important that you give credit to Chichester. I thought they were excellent in the first half.

“In terms of our performance it’s always difficult. You’re on a bit of a hiding to nothing. You just go through. Make sure that you get through however to have to do that.

“The important thing is we leave here this evening and we’re going to be in that third round draw.

“But all credit to Chichester. I thought it was brilliant – The FA Cup, fans loved it, 14 players came on and had a right good go enjoying themselves in there. It’s brilliant for the FA Cup but we must move on now with the season.”

Match Stats

Tranmere Rovers 5

Blackett-Taylor 62, 85 Ferrier 64, 71, 75

Chichester City 1

Peake 90

Half time: 0-0

Referee: Darren Drysdale

Attendance: 4,370

Star man: Morgan Ferrier (Tranmere striker)

Match rating: 3/5

Tranmere team (4-3-3): Davies, Caprice, Nelson, Monthe, Ridehalgh, Morris, Potter (Danns 62), Perkins, Blackett-Taylor, Hepburn-Murphy (Jennings 46), Ferrier (Mullin 78)

Tranmere subs: Pilling, Woods, Maddox, Payne

Chichester team (4-4-2): Mowthorpe, Davidson, Cody (Peake 77), Heath, Hutchings, Iordache, Horncastle, Rowlett, Haitham (Axell 67), Clack, Jones (Biggs 83)

Chichester subs: Bennetts, Wild, Dunn, Ender