Mellon pleased with win as Tranmere claim narrow lead over 10-man Forest Green

Tranmere boss Micky Mellon was satisfied with his side’s lot despite being unable to build a bigger advantage against 10-man Forest Green in the first leg of their Sky Bet League Two play-off semi-final.

Mellon also played down the use of goal-line technology, which was employed for the first time at Prenton Park to confirm Ollie Banks’ shot had gone in.

The visitors had already seen Gavin Gunning sent off before Banks’ swerving 26th-minute strike was awarded after referee John Busby received a notification on his wrist that the ball had crossed the line.

That proved to be the only goal of the game to leave Tranmere with the narrowest of leads to take to the New Lawn  for next week’s second leg.

Mellon said after the 1-0 triumph: “Ollie Banks got us a goal. Let’s be clear about that. It’s a fantastic strike. All that goal-line technology did was confirm it.

“You want to come out of that first two halves of football making sure hopefully that you’ve got some sort of advantage going into the second one. Whether it’s home or away it doesn’t matter.

“We got that goal – fantastic goal wasn’t it – just couldn’t get the second against a team that decided that they were going to play five, three and one up top.

“They sat in there and made it very difficult. They’ve got a lot of big units. It’s difficult to find space in and around there.

“There’s loads of things that we could say that we would like to be better at but certainly going into the second leg with an advantage we’ve got to be pleased.”

Forest Green were reduced to 10 men after just 15 minutes when Gunning kicked out at Jay Harris, resulting in a straight red card.

Tranmere led when Banks unleashed a 25-yard strike that cannoned off the underside of the crossbar and bounced back out, but became the first player ever to score at Prenton Park thanks to the use of goal-line technology.

Forest Green striker Christian Doidge had a second-half penalty waved away but was lucky to stay on the pitch after appearing to elbow Banks in the face.

Tranmere pushed for a second goal but could not find a way past a resolute Forest Green defence, leaving visiting boss Mark Cooper satisfied with the damage limitation.

He said: “It was a magnificent effort from the players and the supporters. It’s a proud night for Forest Green I would say.

“I’ve seen it (the red card). It looks a little bit harsh to me. He’s flicked out with his leg. It’s not a stamp. It’s a foul for us and he’s flicked out. It’s harsh.

“I was pleased with the way we kept the ball at times as well and created two really good opportunities and we should have had two penalties.

“The fourth official told me that the referee said he (Doidge) dived. He’s clean through on goal, he’s our top goalscorer and (apparently) he chose to dive on the penalty spot. Fantastic.

“We were up against it tonight, but we came through it manfully and we gave ourselves an opportunity in the home game.”

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