Grecians have no answer to Rovers
Exeter City`s slim play-off hopes were extinguished in brutal fashion by a rampant Tranmere.
Michael Kay`s superb first-half strike was added to after the break by Enoch Showumni`s neat finish and a brace from Lucas Akins.
Coming in off a five match winning streak the Grecians should have been brimming with confidence, but they were never allowed to get into their stride as they failed to combat the host`s fast paced, physical football.
There were plenty of warning signs early on. Andy Robinson saw his speculative drive come crashing back off the bar before Artur Krysiak almost gifted Tranmere a goal with a weak clearance.
City only managed one noteworthy chance all game, but when top scorer Jamie Cureton wriggled free of his marker he lashed his shot wide when well-placed.
The only surprise was that it took a dominant Tranmere 44 minutes to take the lead, but Kay`s strike was worth the wait. Cutting in off the right and with no obvious teammate available he curled in an unstoppable shot from 25-yards.
City failed to improve after the break and soon after the hour-mark Tranmere doubled their lead. Troy Archibald-Henville misjudged a header back to Krysiak and Akins nipped in and lobbed the stranded keeper to effectively seal the points.
Tranmere weren`t done there. Four minutes later the industrious Dale Jennings sent Showumni free and he drilled the ball low past Krysiak at the near post to make it 3-0.
City simply had no answer on the day and Akins grabbed his second goal of the game in stoppage time, nodding home substitute`s Adam McGurk`s cross.
With Bournemouth winning against Bristol Rovers City can no longer obtain a play-off spot. This game proved a step to far for Paul Tisdale`s weary looking team.
The players will have to pick themselves up though as there is clearly a lot of work to be done before Saturday`s Devon derby against arch rivals Plymouth Argyle.
City: Krysiak, Tully (Thomson), Duffy (Logan), Taylor, Archibald-Henville, Golbourne, Dunne, Sercombe, Harley, O`Flynn (Nardiello), Cureton