Tranmere’s whirlwind week in the FA Cup came to an abrupt conclusion on Sunday after they were battered by a strong Manchester United side at Prenton Park.

A sell-out crowd witnessed an exhibition in ruthless finishing from the visitors as League One Rovers fought boldly but were soundly beaten in the fourth round of the competition.

Harry Maguire, Diogo Dalot, Jessie Lingard, Phil Jones and Anthony Martial gave the Red Devils an insurmountable halftime time, before Mason Greenwood added a sixth from the penalty spot after the break.

Micky Mellon name an unnamed side from the one that sensationally defeated Watford here on Thursday evening – any knocks picked up by players mysteriously disappearing. 

Carrying on where they left off midweek, Tranmere started like a train, with Morgan Ferrier and Corey Blackett-Taylor both driving hard at the United defence.

Jones collected a caution for hauling down Ferrier before Sergio Romero had to be alert to hold onto a shot from Connor Jennings as the hosts stayed positively on the front foot.

But it was the Premier League side who took the lead in the tenth minute when captain Maguire received the ball 25 yards out and let fly with a shot that rocketed past Davies into the top corner.

Three minutes later they doubled their advantage when Martial found Dalot in the penalty area, who wriggled himself some space before arrowing the ball home.

That quick double gave United a burst of energy and with Rovers rocking on their heels the visitors ruthlessly added a third just past the quarter of an hour mark as Lingard expertly curled one past the outstretched Davies.

The scoring was cruel on Tranmere, who started boldly but were mercilessly picked off.

To their credit, the Whites responded.

Ferrier was causing United problems and when he cut inside on the counter-attack, his left foot drive flew just wide of the goal with Romero beaten. 

Blackett-Taylor then evaded his marker to send a low ball straight across the six-yard box but there was no white shirt there to turn it in.

But despite regaining their composure well, Rovers found themselves 4-0 down five minutes before the break when – from a corner – Jones looped a header over the desperate jump of David Perkins on the goal line.

Things quickly got worse for Tranmere when Martial collected the ball in space on the edge of the box and curled home a fifth on the stroke of half time.

With a healthy lead, the visitors withdrew Martial and Nemanja Matic at the interval, but it made little difference to their flow.

They were awarded a penalty 10 minutes into the second half when Davis took the legs of substitute Tahith Chong – the ‘keeper picking up a rather fortuitous yellow card for his troubles – before Greenwood sent him the wrong way from the spot, racking up a sixth.

Undeterred by the hammering they were witnessing, Tranmere’s supporters got behind their team evermore.

A long raucous rendition of their terrace anthem ‘Tequila’ reverberated around the ground.

Ferrier went close when he held off the attentions of Jones and ran in on goal, but under pressure he could only hit the side netting.

As United made further changes, Tranmere started to get a few chances to make the score line more respectable.

Substitute Paul Mullin stuck a free kick into the Kop before fellow replacement Rushian Hepburn-Murphy curled a brilliant effort just wide.

Kieron Morris worked Romero with a left foot effort but by now it was plain sailing for the Premier League giants, who were easily able to see the game out.

The result might not have been what Tranmere and their supporters had in mind at the start of the day, but the cash injection provided by this huge fixture and the notable performances of attackers Ferrier and Blackett-Taylor give hope that Rovers can kick on now and move up League One in the second half of the season.

Match stats

Tranmere Rovers 0

Manchester United 6

Maguire 10, Dalot 13, Lingard 16, Jones 40, Martial 45, Greenwood 65 (p)

Half time: 0-5

Referee: Lee Mason

Attendance: TBA

Star man: Morgan Ferrier (Tranmere striker)

Match rating: 3/5

Tranmere team (4-4-1-1): Davies, Caprice, Clarke, Monthe, Ridehalgh, Morris, Perkins (Gilmour 65), Danns, Blackett-Taylor (Hepburn-Murphy 74), Jennings, Ferrier (Mullin 74)

Tranmere subs: Pilling, Woods, Wilson, Payne

Manchester United team (3-5-2): Romero, Lindelof, Jones, Maguire (Williams 64), Martial (Chong 46), Lingard, Pereira, Dalot, Shaw, Greenwood, Matic (Fred 46)

Manchester United subs: Bailly, Mata, Grant, James