Tranmere Rovers 2 Reds 0
Two first-half goals condemned Reds to defeat against League One leaders Tranmere at Prenton Park.
The visitors had plenty of possession and Owain Fon Williams was the busier of the two keepers but the home side proved more clinical in front of goal.
They went ahead on 29 minutes when Max Power's deep cross should have been cleared but Mark Connolly's attempted clearance hit goalkeeper Paul Jones and fell nicely into the path of David Amoo who tucked it home from two yards.
Five minutes later Billy Clarke (pictured) hit the post but seconds later Tranmere attacked and Zoumana Bakayogo's cross floated over Jones, hit the inside of the post and rebounded off the keeper and into the net.
In the second half Fon Williams denied Nicky Adams and Josh Simpson and although Reds finished with three strikers and new boy Matt Sparrow in midfield they could not find a way back into the contest.
Boss Richie Barker made one change to the side knocked out of the FA Cup by Reading with Dannie Bulman replacing Hope Akpan and the visitors made a bright start with Gary Alexander having the first shot of note on nine minutes but his left-foot effort flew well wide.
Clarke was next to threaten but was also off target but the hosts responded and Liam Palmer could only head straight at Jones from six yards after getting on the end of Andy Robinson's inviting cross.
Power then fired over before Rovers broke the deadlock. The cross in should have been dealt with better and when Jones' clearance fell to Amoo he had no problem marking his debut for the leaders with an easy finish.
Fortune was not with Reds and that was evident in the 34th minute. First Clarke's shot hit the post as he followed up after Fon Williams fumbled Mike Jones' shot. Tranmere broke and Bakayogo's centre floated over Jones and went in off the keeper after hitting the inside of the post. 2-0 down and a lot to do.
Ash Williams nearly made it 3-0 early in the second half when his drive hit the underside of the bar but Reds then enjoyed another good spell. Adams was a yard off target with a curling free kick from 20 yards then Fon Williams saved Bulman's drive.
Simpson was also denied by the home keeper but Tranmere defended their lead well and looked a threat on the break in the closing stages. By then Sparrow had come on and looked lively on his debut and Reds finished with three up front but they could not find a way back into the game.