EDDIE HOWE was supposed to take centre stage on his return to Bournemouth but Tranmere boss Ronnie Moore blasted referee David Phillips for trying to steal the limelight.
Moore was furious that Bournemouth’s Charlie Daniels only received a booking for a series of fouls on winger Abdulai Bell-Baggie as Rovers surrendered their unbeaten record.
Jake Jervis, making his debut following a loan move from Birmingham, had put Moore’s side ahead but they had no answer to a trio of second-half goals from the Cherries.
Ben Gibson started the collapse by heading into his own net before Harry Arter let fly with a second and Simon Francis wrapped up the comeback.
Yet while he admitted his side had struggled in the second half, Moore claimed a lack of protection from Phillips for his key assets had contributed to their downfall.
“For me the second half was all about one man, some of those decisions were astounding,” said Moore.
“The Bournemouth full-back was like an assassin, I mean how many challenges were missed?
“I can’t fault the effort, but we need some help from the people that should be making the right decisions.
“I know the first one wasn’t a free-kick, but we still have to defend it. It just wasn’t going to be our day from that point on.”
Despite Rovers’ first defeat of the League One season Moore tipped his troops to bounce back – starting with Doncaster tomorrow.
“The run had to end at some point and it happened to be now. The lads have been brilliant so far, they deserve to be top,” he added.
“I can’t knock our boys, they’ve been fantastic. They’re top of the league 13 games in.
“We’ve got to start again now. We’ve got two home games coming up and a performance like the first half here will see us kick on.”