Downes and Jackson strike as Town bounce back to win at Prenton Park
Two moments of quality gave Town the edge at Prenton Park and took Blues back towards the League One summit.
Rovers had led at the break through a Manny Monthe header but Paul Lambert’s side were level early in the second-half with Flynn Downes heading home following a terrific cross from Luke Garbutt.
Blues won it 11 minutes from time, again a classy move with James Norwood the architect and Kayden Jackson lifting the ball over Scott Davies into the empty net.
Norwood and Jackson both went close to adding a third as Town finished the game deserved winners to stay in third, two points shy of the automatic promotion places.
Town made one change to the side that drew with Oxford in midweek, former Rovers favourite Norwood making way for Jackson.
Luke Chambers had to be alert inside the first minute when Morgan Ferrier looked to get on the end of a long ball over the top, the skipper taking no chances with a back pass on what was always going to be a challenging pitch, clearing his lines instead.
David Perkins was prominent in a move that carved out a first corner for Tranmere, James Wilson clearing the danger, Connor Jennings had a shot blocked, then at the other end Emyr Huws tested Scott Davies with a low drive that the ‘keeper didn’t hold on to but Rovers smothered away the loose ball.
Chambers was off target from 30 yards, Jackson got around the back of the Rovers defence but his cross had too much on it for Will Keane, the former Manchester United striker did get on the end of Gwion Edwards’ delivery soon after though, his overhead kick saved by Davies.
Perkins got in the way of Downes’ effort from the edge of the box as Town looked the more likely to break the deadlock but it was the home side who struck just past the half hour, Monthe rising highest at a free-kick to head in from 10 yards.
Peter Clarke was just wide with a turn and shot, Wilson doing well to stop Neil Danns in his tracks as Tranmere threatened a second, Alan Judge responding for Blues with a shot over the bar.
Judge released Jackson with a perfectly-weighted pass, Keane unable to make it pay, Clarke then staying resolute at the back for Rovers to quell the threat from Jackson and preserve their lead into the break.
Jackson fizzed a cross right in front of the Rovers goal as Blues looked to make an immediate impact in the second-half, Huws releasing Luke Woolfenden in a great position down the left channel but his cross was cleared. Rovers responding with Chambers forced to clear as Ferrier looked to convert.
Town were level on 54 minutes and in classy style, a brilliant cross by Garbutt and Downes thumped home a header from close range.
Huws thundered a shot over the bar, Town making a first change with Judge replaced by
Teddy Bishop midway through the half, Keane then testing Davies with a strike from the right.
Norwood replaced Keane in Town’s second change, Jackson denied twice from close range after Edwards had opened up the Rovers defence, Cole Skuse on for Huws in Blues’ final switch.
Another moment of quality put Blues in front on 79 minutes, Norwood the provider with a chip over the top and Jackson finished in style right in front of the travelling Blue Army.
Norwood had a shot blocked, Jackson tested Davies at his near post as Blues looked to seal the points while the closest Rovers came to rescuing a point was a free-kick from Ollie Banks that was held comfortably by Norris.
Tranmere: Davies, Ridehalgh, Monthe, Morris, Ferrier, Jennings, Caprice, Perkins (Blackett-Taylor 83), Clarke, Danns (Banks 70), Woodyard. Subs not used: Pilling, Nelson, Mullin, Gilmour, Payne. Booked: Perkins, Danns, Monthe.
Town: Norris, Chambers, Woolfenden, Wilson, Edwards, Downes, Huws (Skuse 77), Judge (Bishop 65), Garbutt, Keane (Norwood 70), Jackson. Subs not used: Holy, Nolan, Sears, Earl. Booked: Norris, Huws.