Tranmere Rovers 3 Hartlepool United 1

Play-off chasing Tranmere Rovers made heavy weather of defeating Hartlepool who played with ten men from the 34th minute after defender Jamie McCunnie was red-carded.

The Merseysiders, who were 2-0 up by the 64th minute, should have won comfortably. But they conceded a goal on 71 minutes and only stayed in front because of a missed Hartlepool penalty six minutes later.

Tranmere's first goal came following the sending off when McCunnie brought down Ian Moore as he tried to retrieve the situation following a poor headed back-pass by Michael Nelson.

Chris Greenacre's spot-kick was saved by keeper Arran Lee-Barrett but the striker netted from the rebound.

It turned into a nightmare for Nelson when he turned a Chris Shuker cross into his own net in the 64th minute.

But then Hartlepool showed tremendous spirit. They pulled a goal back on 71 minutes when Richie Humphreys headed in at the far post from a cross by Willie Boland.

Six minutes later home defender Antony Kay floored Joel Porter to concede a penalty but substitute Tom Craddock blasted wide.

Tranmere settled it in stoppage time when Shane Sherriff headed in from a Paul McLaren free-kick, but the scoreline was tough on United who were unlucky to lose defender Sam Collins two minutes into the second half with a leg injury.

Sherriff took star-billing for Tranmere but their performance was very edgy and they failed to take several scoring chances.

Andy Monkhouse worked tirelessly for the visitors and was unlucky with a couple of good efforts. Porter also went close on a couple of occasions.

In the opening half Moore and Greenacre wasted gilt-edged chances for the home side.

After Tranmere went 3-1 ahead, they nearly grabbed a fourth but Lee-Barrett produced a fine diving save to deny substitute Calvin Zola.