Accrington boss John Coleman apologised to chairman Andy Holt for the loss of prize money in difficult financial times after Stanley’s FA Cup exit at managerless Tranmere.

Corey Blackett-Taylor and Peter Clarke scored either side of half-time, after Colby Bishop’s header had hauled the Reds level in the 2-1 first round defeat at Prenton Park.

It was Stanley’s first game in nearly three weeks after the Covid-19 outbreak at the Wham Stadium saw 17 players and two members of staff test positive.

While Coleman admitted a cup exit was no bad thing for Stanley’s fixture backlog, the Reds boss was aware some much-needed cash had been missed out on.

“I just want to apologise to the chairman because that has cost money in these tough financial times,” he said.

“In these times of austerity every penny counts and I am disappointed for the chairman more than anything.

“We’re not going to win the FA Cup and it could be a saving grace for us because we are already playing catch-up because of four games.

“The manner we lost is disappointing. Peter Clarke has scored a header and he only ever seems to score against us.”

Individual brilliance from Blackett-Taylor saw him open the scoring after 12 minutes, as he moved from the right flank to the left before arrowing a shot into the net beyond Chelsea loanee Nathan Baxter on debut.

Stanley were level 10 minutes later as Michael Nottingham’s cross found Colby Bishop and he powered a header over the line, despite the best efforts of goalkeeper Scott Davies.

Kieron Morris thundered a shot off the top of the crossbar for the hosts before the break, with Nottingham also striking the woodwork early in the second period.

Tranmere’s Peter Clarke was somehow denied by Baxter from point-blank range with seven minutes remaining.

But from the resulting corner the defender shook off his man and guided a header home to put Rovers into the hat.

Coleman said: “There are no good ways to lose a game and I just want to congratulate Tranmere, they had a right good go today.

“Those players probably let them down earlier in the season when they lost games, but they put in a shift and battled today.

“It was decided on a set play, which is disappointing, and the first goal has come from our own set play.

“We’ve tried to do things to stop that and when they don’t happen it is disappointing.

“We’ve had chances to win it and it could have gone either way, so we have to accept it and move on.”