Micky Mellon was happy just to be in the hat for the third round of the FA Cup after his Tranmere side eventually beat non-league Chichester City 5-1 at Prenton Park.
It took over an hour for League One Rovers to find the net but a hat-trick from Morgan Ferrier was book-ended by two Corey Blackett-Taylor goals as the visitors finally collapsed.
Substitute Ryan Peake headed a late consolation for City and Tranmere boss Mellon was full of praise for their opponents.
He said: “I think on these occasions it’s important that you give credit to Chichester. I thought they were excellent in the first half.
“In terms of our performance it’s always difficult. You’re on a bit of a hiding to nothing. You just go through. Make sure that you get through however you have to do that.
“The important thing is we leave here this evening and we’re going to be in that third-round draw.
“But all credit to Chichester. I thought it was brilliant – the FA Cup, fans loved it, 14 players came on and had a right good go enjoying themselves in there. It’s brilliant for the FA Cup but we must move on now with the season.”
Chichester ply their trade in the eighth tier of English football but there was little to choose between the sides in the opening 45 minutes, with Tranmere routinely guilty of sloppy passing.
The travelling supporters could smell an upset but that idea was finally put to bed in the 62nd minute when Ferrier headed a cross from Caprice against the crossbar and Blackett-Taylor was on hand to side-foot home the rebound.
Confusion in the Chichester defence allowed Ferrier to run clean through to slot his first goal of the afternoon before lobbing Steve Mowthorpe and then tapping home from close range to claim the match ball.
Blackett-Taylor got his second and Rovers’ fifth before Peake grabbed a late consolation for City at the death.
City manager Miles Rutherford said: “I’m just proud of all the people from Chichester – all the players, all the supporters. I’m upset the cup run has ended, anyone would be, but for what we’ve done this year, I couldn’t ask for any more.
“At some stage it was going to stop. We thought it was going to stop rounds ago but once you get on that roll you just hope it never stops, but for what the players did today, I thought they were superb.
“They played their hearts out and the supporters at the end, I couldn’t ask for any more. When I reflect back on this I’ll most probably say that we were lucky to get this far at times but what we’ve done is secure the club for three or four years.”