Fleetwood Town kicked off their EFL Trophy campaign with a 2-0 win against League Two Tranmere Rovers.
Two goals from second-half substitutes Jayden Stockley and Phoenix Patterson were enough to take the Cod Army to the top of Northern Group D.
Town took control of the opening 20 minutes with some well-worked passages of play. First, Josh Vela fired a Junior Quitirna cross towards goal, but saw his effort blocked from close range before a flowing team move saw new signing Kabongo Tshimanga arrive ahead of his marker onto the end of a cross - but he could only turn the ball narrowly wide of the post.
One debutant replaced another for Town, as Finley Armstrong was introduced for Adam Montgomery on 35 minutes, following a bad tackle on Montgomery from Tranmere’s Dan Pike.
A minute later Tshimanga whacked an effort against the outside of the post from close range after latching onto Mayor’s ball. The striker continued to threaten, coming close again shortly after from another cross - this time denied by a great save from McGee.
Interim boss Matt Lawlor’s side started the second half as they left off with another flowing move, as midfielder Mayor struck a sweet effort from the edge of the 18-yard box, excellently parried wide by McGee. Prior to that, a last-ditch sliding block from Toto Nsiala denied Sam Taylor from opening the scoring at the other end.
Deadline day signings Xaiver Simons, and Tshimanga both left the field with half an hour left to play, as the Cod Army introduced Ryan Broom and Jayden Stockley.
Town continued to utilise space out wide exchanging a number of quick passes, as a powerful delivery from Rooney landed perfectly on the edge of the area for midfielder Mayor, who cannoned an effort towards goal, producing a wonder-save from McGee to deny Fleetwood the lead.
But the home side’s pressure finally paid off in the 70th minute when Fleetwood were awarded a penalty. Quitirna showed excellent feet to skip past a number of challenges before playing Jayden Stockley through on goal. The striker was then brought down by Tranmere defender Pike, who subsequently received a red card.
Stockley stepped up and coolly dispatched the resulting penalty, sending the keeper the wrong way.
Less than 10 minutes later the Cod Army doubled their advantage when Phoenix Patterson collected Ryan Graydon’s half-cleared cross on the edge of the area and stroked the ball into the bottom corner past Tranmere keeper McGee - to seal all 3 points.
Town XI: Lynch (GK), Montgomery (Armstrong 35’), Tshimanga (Stockley 63’), Vela (C), Mayor, Quitirna (Patterson 75’), Simons (Broom 63’) Holgate, Graydon, Nsiala (Teale 75’), Rooney.
Subs not used: Harrington (GK), Hayes.
Tranmere XI: McGee (GK), Walker, Turnbull, Hendry, Merrie, Jennings (C), Taylor (Jolley 75’), Lewis (McAlear 9’), Pike, Apter (Hawkes 75’), Norris (Morris 42’).
Subs not used: Murphy (GK), Dennis, Hughes.