Town turn on the style in the second-half to stay in pole position
Town stayed top of the table and stretched the unbeaten run in the league to 10 games after an impressive second-half display at Portman Road.
Luke Garbutt’s sensational free-kick gave Blues the lead but Rovers were level at the break after Stefan Payne finished from close range.
Town were back in front on 48 minutes when Scott Davies in the Tranmere goal couldn’t hold on to Garbutt’s free-kick and Kayden Jackson found the net for his fifth goal of the season.
Jon Nolan made it three with a header after Jackson had been denied and Kane Vincent-Young followed up his winner at Gillingham last week with an individual strike 20 minutes from time.
Town made two changes from the side that beat Gillingham last weekend, Nolan and Garbutt coming in, with James Norwood lining up against his former club.
Norwood had the first shot in anger, Rovers smothering the ball away from danger, Vincent-Young crowded out seconds later, Tomas Holy off his line quickly to stop Payne getting in at the other end.
Flynn Downes fired over from 20 yards, Luke Chambers inches away from getting on the end of Alan Judge’s ball into the box in a well-worked free-kick, the galloping Garbutt then beaten to the ball by ‘keeper Davies.
Tranmere continued to hold their own and it needed Cole Skuse to shadow the danger from Payne as the ball skidded through to Holy, Payne feeding Kieron Morris who couldn’t take advantage, then Neil Danns sent a right foot curler high and wide from a promising position.
Darren Potter was yellow carded in the middle of the park and then penalised for handball 30 yards out and Town made Rovers pay with a fantastic free-kick from Garbutt on 35 minutes.
Rovers responded four minutes later, a counter set up Paul Mullin on the right and from his cross, Payne bundled the ball over the line to end Blues’ long run without conceding a goal.
Danns failed to get enough on his shot at the far post from a corner as Rovers deservedly went in at the break on level terms.
Town got off to the perfect start to the second-half, Garbutt’s free-kick not held by Davies and Jackson was quickest to react to force the ball home.
Judge’s cross arrowed at Norwood was cleared by Sid Nelson as Blues pressed for daylight between the teams, the Republic of Ireland international unable to take Jackson’s driven cross in his stride, then Downes had the ball in the net but not before the offside flag was raised.
Holy saved low down from Morris but as the game opened up, Town took advantage - Jackson was denied by Davies but Nolan was on hand to head in Blues’ third on 63 minutes.
Holy held firm from Payne as Rovers looked for a way back into the game, Connor Jennings on for Morris and Corey Blackett-Taylor for Mullin as the visitors changed it up.
Seconds later Town made it four, Vincent-Young cut in from the right and found the net with a left foot finish to have the Blue Army on their feet.
Danny Rowe replaced Judge in Town’s first change, Norwood first thwarted by Davies after racing clear, then by the acrobatics of the ‘keeper from a header as Blues looked on for a fifth.
Norwood made way for Emyr Huws for the last exchanges of the game as Town eased the way to the three points and pole position in the table.
Town: Holy, Vincent-Young, Chambers, Wilson, Garbutt, Skuse, Downes, Nolan, Judge (Rowe 74), Jackson, Norwood (Huws 85). Subs not used: Norris, Edwards, Dozzell, Woolfenden, Georgiou. Booked: Norwood.
Tranmere: Davies, Ridehalgh, Nelson, Monthe, Morris (Jennings 70), Potter (Hepburn-Murphy 80), Mullin (Blackett-Taylor 70), Caprice, Banks, Danns, Payne. Subs not used: Pilling, Ponticelli, Gilmour, Walker-Rice. Booked: Potter, Payne.