Tranmere’s FA Cup adventure is over for another season, after they went down 2-0 at Championship side Barnsley on Sunday afternoon.

A goal from Michal Helik just before the hour mark and an injury time Cauley Woodrow penalty proved to be the difference between the sides, but it was an industrious shift from the League Two Birkenhead club, who had plenty of positives to take out of the game.

Rovers had been expected to field some what of a scratch side after it was indicated on Friday that the squad was suffering with a combination of injuries and positive Covid cases.

In the end, Keith Hill made five changes to the side the last trotted out for Tranmere on December 29, with Lee O’Connor, Manny Monthe and George Ray all coming into the Rovers rearguard.

Otis Khan and Kaiyne Woolery returned in midfield, with the team sheet revealing that Calum MacDonald, Peter Clarke, Liam Feeney, Sid Nelson, Jack Young and Danny Lloyd were all missing from the match day squad.

The first chance of the contest arrived in the 13th minute when a loose ball from Monthe was pounced upon by Connor Chaplin, who’s left foot shot whistled past Scott Davies' near post.

The hosts were enjoying more of the ball but when a Khan free kick was flicked on by a Barnsley defender into the path of Woolery, Tykes ‘keeper Brad Collins was well placed to make the save.

Chaplin was looking like Barnsley’s most dangerous player and when he got the wrong side of the Rovers defence in the 25th minute it took a superb intervention by O’Connor to prevent the first goal of the match.

Ray was the next defender to be called into action, putting in another penalty box block, as the Championship side increased the pressure on their guests.

When Rovers stopper Davies was beaten to the ball by Woodrow, Alex Mowatt only had to find the target with the goal as his mercy, but Ray cleared his weak shot off the goal line.

Tranmere had been committed in the tackle straight from the off, but when Lewis put in a booming challenge on Helik before halftime, it sparked angry exchanges both on and off the pitch. Replays showed that he had won the ball, however.

Rovers’ best chance of the first half arrived five minutes before the break when Woolery beat his man and crossed low for Vaughan, but his close-range shot, on the turn, was saved by the legs of Collins.

O’Connor then had to put in yet another heroic block at the other end as the match opened up just before the interval.

The hosts made a change at half time, bringing on Luke Thomas for Dominic Frieser.

It made little impact on the first 10 minutes of the second half however, as Tranmere continued to put in a robust hardworking shift that nullified their superior opponents.

But just before the hour mark the Tykes were able to make the breakthrough, when they were afforded too much space down Rovers’ right-hand side and Herbie Kane was able to plant a floated cross onto the head of Helik, who made no mistake.

Former Liverpool prospect Kane then sent a shot over the bar, as the Championship side looked to put the game to bed quickly.

Hill made a change of his own with 23 minutes to play, bringing on speedster Cory Blackett-Taylor for Ferrier.

Chances had been at a premium for Tranmere, but when another stray header landed in the path of Woolery, his first-time volley flashed just over the bar.

Injured left back Liam Ridehalgh had make way with quarter of an hour to play, affording an opportunity to youngster Jake Burton.

As time was running out, Tranmere launched an attack down the right with Woolery but his cross for Burton was cut out brilliantly by Toby Sibbick.

Deep in injury time Barnsley were awarded a soft looking penalty after Jay Spearing was ruled to have fouled Luke Thomas in the box.

Woodrow made no mistake from the spot, leaving Hill and his players to concentrate on climbing the League Two table instead of cup glory.