Tranmere’s automatic promotion hopes were dealt a serious blow as they were beaten 1-0 by play-off rivals Forest Green at Prenton Park.
An early second-half strike from Junior Mondal proved to be the difference as Mark Cooper’s side survived an avalanche of Tranmere attacks to move to within a point of their hosts in the play-off pack.
There was little between the sides in the opening period, with Sky Bet League Two Player of the Year James Norwood sticking an attempted lob over the bar.
But two minutes after the break, the Cotswolds club went ahead when a pull back from Joseph Mills was beautifully side-footed into the top corner by Mondal, leaving Scott Davies clutching thin air.
Tranmere responded and laid siege on the visitors’ goal. Paul Mullin’s overhead kick was brilliantly kept out by James Montgomery, before the Tranmere substitute saw a 25-yard free kick smash against the post.
Despite the hosts’ best endeavours – after losing centre-back Mark Ellis in the first half to a knee injury – they could not carve out an equaliser and now look like they must settle for a play-off berth instead.