THE Prenton Park groundstaff earned a double salute this week for their efforts in making sure Tranmere's FA Cup encounter with Wolves beat the freeze and went online.
Wolves skipper Karl Henry and Rovers chairman Peter Johnson paid tribute to the work of groundsman Andy Quayle and his assistants in keeping the pitch protected from the sharps frosts of recent nights with special covers.
Not only did the best crowd of the season at Prenton Park - 7476 - see Wolves edge through the third round tie by a single goal from Matt Jarvis, the game was also watched live by a worldwide Internet audience via the FA's official web site.
The internet streaming of the game earned Rovers around £75,000 - better than the prize-money Wolves collected for securing a fourth round date with Crystal Palace.
Rovers spent some of the internet fee hiring the extra set of covers to make the pitch playable. However by the end of the match, with temperatures dropping well below zero, the playing surface had begun to harden up.
Henry said: "The pitch was horrible towards the end but to be fair to the groundsmen, I think they did well to get the game on considering the temperatures. I don't think I have played on a day that was so cold."
Tranmere also managed to ensure their Christmas bank holiday fixture against Carlisle went ahead when many fixtures in the northwest were called off because of the weather.
Johnson said: "It at times like these when you need the unsung heroes like the club's groundstaff.
"The Prenton Park pitch was rolled on Christmas Day and the covers laid down to protect against the frosts and the result was that the Carlisle game went ahead with excellent playing conditions.
"After players from both squads had completed their warm downs, the covers were then put straight back onto the pitch to give the Wolves game the best possible chance of surviving the bad weather.
"The same level of dedication has gone into our training pitches at Raby Vale and Ingleborough Road to ensure the players have been able to prepare for matches. This is work which often goes unseen."
Meanwhile Wolves manager Mick McCarthy left behind a message of encouragement at Prenton Park this week.
McCarthy heaped praise on Tranmere for pushing his Premier League side hard in Sunday's third-round tie.
"Tranmere played well and had some good chances," McCarthy said. "All credit to them. We were certainly in a game and you would not expect anything else in the third round of the FA Cup.
"I don't know what winning the tie will do for our confidence but I know that losing would have had a real adverse effect.
"Where teams sometimes find that little bit extra from I don't know but I bet that was the best Tranmere have played for a while."
The former Republic of Ireland manager made a point of shaking hands with a number of Tranmere players as they left the pitch on Sunday evening.
Parry explained: "Mick came and said our lads were magnificent, played really well and wished us good luck in the league."