Not even goalkeeper Mitch Walker’s heroics could prevent Dover from leaving Prenton Park empty-handed on Tuesday.
Walker saved a second half penalty to deny second-placed Tranmere taking the lead before finally being beaten by substitute Cole Stockton’s header.
The defeat sees Whites drop to eighth on the National League ladder ahead of Gateshead’s visit to Crabble on Saturday.
It was a quiet start to the game and it wasn’t until the 13th minute there was an attempt on goal from either side – and it came from Dover.
Joe Healy’s powerful 25-yarder sailed well wide of Scott Davies’ goal and that sparked the game into life.
Tranmere responded with Andy Cook volleying Liam Ridelagh’s cross into the side netting.
The same pairing combined minutes later with Walker turning Cook’s header over.
Dover had a penalty shout waved away after Moses Emmanuel went down after a Stephen McNulty challenge.
Ricky Miller, jeered every time he went near the ball, almost silenced the home fans with a stunning effort in the 39th minute.
He burst between two defenders before seeing his thunderous strike tipped onto the bar by Davies.
Richard Orlu headed the resulting corner wide before an outstretched Miller just failed to get on the end of Emmanuel’s cross with the goal at his mercy.
Tranmere went on the attack immediately after half-time and Cook’s powerful charge from just inside the Dover half ended with Walker saving the striker’s effort at his near post.
Walker came to the rescue again moments later, keeping out James Norwood’s penalty after Loui Fazakerley had bundled Connor Jennings over.
It was the third consecutive spot kick Tranmere had missed.
Walker was soon back in business again, rushing out bravely to deny an onrushing Norwood in a one-on-one.
Miller was denied by a last-ditch tackle by Adam Buxton before Stockton finally found a way past Walker in the 68th minute.
Ridehalgh’s free-kick found the striker free at the back post and he headed powerfully past Walker.
Lee Vaughan forced Walker into another save seven minutes from time after the defender tried his luck from distance.
Dover almost created something out of nothing deep in stoppage time after Healy robbed Vaughan near the corner flag and the midfielder sent in a cross which led to a mad scramble – but no equaliser.
Earlier, boss Chris Kinnear named the same starting side following the win at Guiesley on Saturday.
He made two changes on the bench with Sam Magri returning from international duty replacing Peter Skapitis.
The other saw Aswad Thomas return from suspension in place of Chris Kinnear jnr.
Tranmere Rovers: Davies, Vaughan, Ridehalgh, McNulty, Ihiekwe, Harris, Cook (Stockton 55mins) Norwood (Mangan 63mins), Jennings (Mekki 90+3mins), Buxton, Hughes.
Subs not used: Turner, Collins.
Dover: Walker, Fazakerly (Thomas 64mins), Orlu Grimes, Essam, Sterling, Healy, Hurst (Magri 65mins), Modeste, Miller, Emmanuel (Lafayette 70mins).
Subs not used: Caton, Pinnock
|28th March 2017||7:45 pm||National League||2016-2017||90'|