Tranmere Rovers were knocked out of the Carabao Cup at the first hurdle, losing out 3-1 at Prenton Park to League One side Walsall.
After waiting four years for a League Cup run, it unfortunately ended no sooner than it had started as Rovers failed to put away their chances, particularly in the first 45 minutes.
That first half saw Rovers play some excellent football, creating lots of chances, but ultimately they failed to trouble the scorers.
Ollie Banks was the main architect of opportunities on goal, unluckily having four or five good efforts blocked or deflected to deny him what would have been a deserved goal.
At the other end, Rovers put their bodies on the line, with some outstanding blocks to deny shooting opportunities to the visitors.
Mark Ellis was one of those, but he had a moment to forget on 28 minutes, when trying to get to the ball ahead of Morgan Ferrier, it went past him giving the former Boreham Wood man a run on goal, and he dispatched past debutant goalkeeper Shamal George.
The goal saw another Rovers defensive casualty. After Ritchie Sutton had limped off on Saturday, Zoumana Bakayogo was withdrawn through injury and replaced by captain Stephen McNulty with a defensive reshuffle seeing Manny Monthe shifted to left back.
Banks had further chances, but again good defending denied him, while Harvey Gilmour also had a shot well blocked as Rovers attempted to get back in the game before the break.
But the sides went in at half time with The Saddlers leading by a goal to nil.
Andy Cook, on his return to Prenton Park, had a shot saved by George shortly after the restart, not quite connecting to the shot in the way we know he can.
It was another player returning to the club who doubled Walsall’s lead on 64 minutes as Rovers failed to deal with a ball into the box. It fell to Josh Ginnelly who took a touch and slammed the ball home, refusing to celebrate against his former employers.
The visitors’ third soon followed as Zeli Ismail burst down the right and fired a low shot across goal and in at the far post.
But just when it felt like the game was sliding away from Rovers, they came back strongly and put in a valiant display for the final 20 minutes.
And a deserved goal came with 10 minutes left on the clock as the ball fell nicely to Larnell Cole, 12 yards out, and the former Manchester United man fired into the roof of the net.
Jonny Smith hit the side netting in stoppage time as Rovers couldn’t continue the unbeaten start to the 2018-19 season.
We will concentrate on league matters, until the Checkatrade Trophy begins at least! A trip to Swindon Town is next up for Micky Mellon’s men, and a chance to get back to winning ways.