Notts County's nine-match run of defeats came to end as they climbed out of the npower Division One relegation zone with a 1-0 victory at Tranmere.
It was only a fourth win on the road thanks to a hotly disputed first-half penalty.
Tranmere, who are far from safe in the division, had only themselves to blame as they wasted a string of first-half chances.
County keeper Stuart Nelson saved with an outstretched leg from an angled strike by Lucas Akins after seven minutes.
Robbie Weir made a hash of a good opportunity midway through the half before Enoch Showunmi missed the target. An Ian Goodison header was well held by Nelson who then turned aside a powerful strike by Weir.
Martin Allen's side failed to trouble home keeper Tony Warner before they were awarded a fortuitous penalty for an innocuous looking challenge by Zoumana Bakayogo on Jon Harley. Craig Westcarr blasted home from the spot in the 42nd minute to break the deadlock.
County grew in confidence as they weathered a series of Tranmere attacks after the break but it needed a fine save by Nelson to keep out an Aaron Cresswell free-kick in the 76th minute, the stopper tipping also over an added-time header by Adam McGurk.
There were a series of ugly brawls in the closing stages culminating in County's Ricky Ravenhill seeing a red card in the seventh minute of second-half injury time.
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