THE Shrimps suffered a third successive away defeat as three first half goals gave Tranmere victory at Prenton Park.
Morecambe went into the game hoping to build on their 3-0 victory over Cambridge at the weekend but from the moment former loanee Cole Stockton gave the home side the lead the Shrimps were facing an uphill battle.
Boss Jim Bentley made four changes to the side that beat Cambridge with Zak Mills, A-Jay Leitch-Smith, Liam Mandeville and Andrew Tutte all returning to the starting line up but before they had got into the game they found themselves a goal down as Stockton, with just one goal so far this season before the game, firing Rovers into a fourth minute lead.
There was an element of fortune as the ball bounced nicely to Stockton on the edge of the Morecambe area but the front man made the most of it as he fired a stunning right foot volley into the bottom right hand corner of Mark Halstead’s goal.
Morecambe then enjoyed a period of possession with Sam Lavelle forcing Scott Davies into a neat save with a looping header and Andrew Tutte firing wide before the Shrimps were undone for a second time.
Steven Old failed to cut out Jake Caprice’s right wing cross and the ball fell perfectly for the unmarked James Norwood who finished coolly past the stranded Halstead from 12 yards out.
Jay Harris almost added a third with a superb 25 yard volley that hit the top of the Morecambe crossbar but the same player was not to be denied a goal as Tranmere scored a third on the stroke of half time.
Liam Ridehalgh created space down the left and crossed perfectly for the unmarked Harris who headed past the helpless Halstead from 12 yards out.
Jim Bentley’s side had it all to do in the second half and after Stockton had twice volleyed over from good openings the Shrimps were given a glimmer of hope with a superb goal of their own.
With 66 minutes gone Jordan Cranston left fly with a superb 30 yard effort that flew into the top right hand corner of Scott Davies’s goal to pull the deficit back to two.
The Shrimps looked sharper but failed to test the Tranmere goal until the final stages when Vadaine Oliver saw a goalbound shot well blocked by Ridehalgh before another former Morecambe striker Paul Mullin went close to adding a fourth with an effort that curled inches wide.
Tranmere: Davies, Ridehalgh, Sutton (rep Gilmour 82), Monthe, Ellis, Caprice, Harris, Jennings, McCullough, Norwood, Stockton (rep Mullin 82). Subs not used: George, Buxton, Smith, Bakayogo, Cole.
Morecambe: Halstead, Mills, Old, Lavelle, Cranston, Tutte, Wildig, Mandeville, Leitch-Smith (rep Thompson 82), Ellison (rep Oates 59). Subs not used: Szczepaniak, Oswell, Yarney, Hedley.
Ref: S Oldham.