TRANMERE Rovers assistant manager Ian Dawes branded veteran skipper Peter Clarke "Benjamin Button" after the 39-year-old netted a brace in the Whites' 2-1 win over Crawley Town.

Clarke scored Rovers' 28th minute opener with a glancing header but the hosts were pegged back in the second half by Kwesi Appiah's equaliser before Clarke found the net following a goalline scramble 12 minutes from time to secure the points.

"He (Clarke) gets better every season," said Dawes, referencing Brad Pitt's portrayal of a man who ages in reverse. "He's like Benjamin Button. He will do anything to keep the ball out of the back of the net and his attitude and desire is infectious on the other players.

"It is no surprise to me because of the way he lives his life and his lifestyle - he is always the first in the building and the last one out and it's no coincidence.

"He's playing at this level now and still getting better because he puts everything into it and he is a credit to the club.

Full of confidence after last week's point at League Two leaders Forrest Green, Micky Mellon's men started the match on the front foot but got a got a shock when Sam Ashford rattled the crossbar after his turn and shot almost rounded off a fine move by the visitors.

Nerves were settled in the 28th minute when a cleared corner found its way to Kieron Morris on the left wing who set off on a jinking run and beat two players before floating over a cross that was met by Clarke's intelligent run across his marker.

Rovers began the second half the brighter and Callum McManaman should've doubled their lead after some neat footwork in the area gave him a clear sight of goal only for the former Wigan player to drag his shot wide.

The home side were then punished for their profligacy when a break from Crawley saw Ross Doohan failing to gather an Ashford shot with the rebound falling nicely for Appiah to slot home.

The visitors raised their game at this point with Rovers having to survive some sustained pressure before a cross from the left saw Tom Davies' header brilliantly saved by Glenn Davies with who else but Clarke following up to see his own headed effort cross the line.

"If you look at the team now they are playing how the fans want them to play and that is with desire and commitment and with quality on the pitch as well," said Dawes. "I don't think anyone could deny that we were the better team. When they equalised I think everyone was a bit stunned including the crowd, the bench and the players and it took us five or ten minutes to recover from that,

"If there is a criticism it's that we never killed them off at 1-0 and we had enough chances to score a second and maybe a third but we are creating chances which is a big thing and different players are getting on the end of them.

The three points takes Tranmere up to eighth in the table with early signs that Prenton Park could become something of a fortress this season after a fourth home win out of five.

"We want to win every game," added Dawes. "We could've easily settled for 1-1 today but there was no way we were ever going to do that.

"When we're here the fans don't half help any time there is a little bit of a lull. There was five minutes today after they scored where they had a bit more of a control of the game but the fans got behind the team and helped lift the tempo and get them up the pitch. The fans have a big part to play in everything we do."