JAY Spearing's second-half goal gave promotion-chasing Tranmere their eighth win in the last 10 league games with a 1-0 victory at Crawley.

Rovers, boasting the tightest defence in the division with only 15 goals conceded, were rarely threatened as the Reds failed to score for the first time in 13 league matches.

Crawley head coach John Yems had demanded a much-improved display following the midweek defeat at Stevenage but Sam Matthews could not get a shot away early on inside the area.

The Reds did not work keeper Ross Doohan until the 41st minute when a free-kick from Jack Powell was held low down after the recalled Nick Tsaroulla had been brought down.

Rovers' first shot on target came seven minutes after the interval when Kane Hemmings's low 25-yard shot was comfortably held by veteran keeper Glenn Morris.

Josh McPake, on loan from Rangers, nearly put Rovers in front when he shot inches wide following a one-two with Hemmings.

At the other end keeper Doohan kept out a downward header from recalled defender Ryan Tunnicliffe.

Rovers clinched victory on 65 minutes when Spearing's low free-kick flew into the corner of the net through a crowded six-yard box.

There were five minutes of stoppage time for second-placed Rovers to see out but they comfortably held on to record a hat-trick of wins over Crawley this season.