Tranmere missed the chance to move into the League Two automatic promotion places after going down 1-0 to Crawley Town at Prenton Park.

Tom Nichols gave the visitors the lead shortly before the hour mark – converting a pass from George Francombe – and Rovers were unable to carve out an equaliser in what was a frustrating afternoon for Keith Hill’s men.

Tranmere almost found themselves two down when a volley from Joe McNerny was brilliantly kept out by Scott Davies before the rebound was headed against the top of the crossbar.

The Rovers captain was called back into action moments later when he punched away a header from a corner that was destined to loop in at the far post.

Hill rolled the dice with 17 minutes left to play, bringing on Corey Blackett-Taylor and Ali Crawford for David Nugent and Lee O’Connor respectively.

Time started to run out for Rovers, but on 80 minutes a low front post drive from Kaiyne Woolery had to be turned around the post by Glenn Morris and from the subsequent corner, no one could get on the end of a superb Liam Feeney delivery when only a touch would have been required to pull the sides level.

Crawley countered with Jake Hesketh, but Peter Clarke jockeyed him well, forcing a wild shot over the bar.

Rovers huffed and puffed in the closing stages, but in truth the visitors knew they had done a number on their hosts and comfortably saw the game out for the win.