Notts County were beaten at Meadow Lane on Saturday for the second time in a matter of days leaving Keith Curle’s side lumbering just outside the League One Play-off positions.
The Magpies were up against tough opposition in table-toppers Tranmere who began the game with a four-point advantage over nearest rivals Stevenage, who defeated Notts in midweek.
And although County began well and passed the ball around neatly they showed very little in the final third and struggled to threaten the visiting side’s goal.
Rovers came to Meadow Lane in search of all three points and began well scoring just after the twenty-minute mark.
Substitute Joe Thompson, who had replaced the injured Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro, rose high to meet winger Abdulai Bell-Baggie’s cross from the right and head home with confidence.
The closest the Magpies’ came in the first period was courtesy of some good play by new signing Jordan Stewart – the former Watford star sprung down the left wing before picking out Neal Bishop who miskicked the ball to squander a golden opportunity.
County introduced the in-form Lee Hughes in the second half and looked to get back into the game. However, the striker failed to make an impact and Tranmere continued to pile the pressure to the Notts’ goal.
Notts also introduced Francois Zoko just after the hour-mark and the Ivorian went close to bringing the Magpies level, glancing a header at goal that Tranmere goalkeeper Owain Fon Williams stopped well.
Despite a few late chances for the home side Tranmere held on and remain four points clear at the top of the League One table.
County now face a week to gather their composure before they look to get back to winning ways with a trip to Brunton Park on Saturday 13th October, when they take on Carlisle. Kick-off is at 3pm.
Notts County: Bialkowski, Regan, Leacock, Liddle, Stewart, Bishop, Boucaud, Campbell-Ryce (Showunmi, 78), J Hughes (L Hughes, 46), Judge, Arquin (Zoko, 62)
Tranmere: Fon Williams, Holmes, Taylor, Gibson, Bakayogo, Bell-Baggie, Palmer, Wallace, McGurk, Cassidy, Akpa Akpro (Thompson, 18)
Man of the match (Notts): Jordan Stewart
Referee: Anthony Bates
Attendance: 7,260 (including 955 away supporters)