Boreham Wood’s dreams of an historic promotion to League 2 are over for another season at least, as James Norwood’s 80th minute winner gave 10 men Tranmere a 2-1 win in the National League Play-Off Final at Wembley.

Norwood got across his man to nod home substitute Connor Jennings’ cross to hand Micky Mellon’s men victory in an action packed game at the national stadium, which saw Tranmere’s Liam Ridehalgh sent off after just 54 seconds after a two footed lunge on Ricky Shakes.

Despite being a man down, the visitors then opened the scoring just five minutes later through top scorer Andy Cook, but they were pegged back on the stroke of half-time, when Boreham Wood’s Bruno Andrade coolly slotted past Scott Davies.

But despite getting back on level-terms, it was Tranmere who created the better chances in the second half and Norwood nodded home with ten minutes to play to seal promotion, sparking wild celebrations from their supporters.

Fresh from beating Sutton United 3-2 in the semi-final, Wood boss Luke Garrard decided to name an unchanged side, meaning that on-loan Watford forward Michael Folivi partnered top scorer Andrade up front, having scored the winner last time out.

Meanwhile, Tranmere’s Micky Mellon made just the one change to the team that beat Ebbsfleet United 4-2, with Manny Monthe replacing Adam Buxton in defence.

Cup finals tend to be cagey affairs, but this one was far from it and referee Neil Hair was in the thick of the action right from the off.

After the teams were greeted by a raucous welcome by the Wembley crowd, the game got off to a remarkable start as Tranmere’s Ridehalgh was dismissed after just 54 seconds following a clumsy two-footed lunge on Ricky Shakes. Replays showed that Ridehalgh had gone in two-footed with his studs showing and the referee had no hesitation in sending the 27-year-old for an early bath.

However, that early red-card seemed to galvanise Tranmere, who took an unlikely lead in the sixth minute through the National League’s top goal-scorer Andy Cook. A throw in out on the left was played into Norwood, who fizzed in a first time cross which was nodded home at the near post by Cook to hand the visitors an early lead.

With his side down to ten, Mellon responded to that goal by bringing on defender Eddie Clarke for Larnell Cole and Wood almost equalised two minutes later, when Folivi played the ball back to Andrade inside the area, but his deflected effort went just wide of the post.

Despite being a man down, Tranmere still looked to break forward in numbers and Wood had David Stephens to thank when he threw himself in front of Cook’s goal-bound shot to prevent the visitors from doubling their advantage on the 15 minute mark.

After a nervy opening half-an-hour, which had seen Wood carelessly lose possession on a number of occasions, Garrard’s men started to settle and their patient build up was nearly rewarded just after the half-hour mark, when Folivi was released inside the area but Ritchie Sutton did superbly well to clear the ball for a corner.

But Garrard’s men were still looking fragile at the back and good link-up play down the left between Clarke and Norwood created space for the latter, who took a touch before forcing Smith into a comfortable save from 30 yards.

Tranmere were handed another blow when they were forced into using their final sub, as the injured Sutton had to be replaced by Jay Harris just as six minutes of added time were signalled, and Mellon’s men were handed a further sucker punch on the stroke of half-time when Wood got back on level terms.

Angelo Balanta was given time inside Tranmere’s half and he played a lovely cross field ball to release Woodards out wide, whose pull-back was met by the unmarked Andrade inside the area, who calmly slotted the ball into the bottom corner to put Garrard’s men back on level terms.

However, having got back on level terms, Wood almost shot themselves in the foot barely a minute into the second half. Firstly, Jennings charged towards goal after a great run down the right, and forced a decent save from Smith from a tight angle, before Cook’s follow up was superbly diverted over the bar by a defender to prevent a certain goal.

But having survived that scare, Wood started to control possession again and goalscorer Andrade stung the palms of Davies with a free-kick from 20-yards with 25 minutes remaining.

Garrard made his first change of the game when on loan Bournemouth forward Joe Quigley replaced Folivi with 20 minutes to play, but it was still the visitors who were creating the better chances, with Norwood inches away from connecting with Jennings’ deflected shot. Norwood came close again from the resultant corner but he could only nod wide of the post under pressure from Stephens.

The 22 goal striker wouldn’t have to wait long though to get on the scoresheet, as just a minute after Boreham Wood had spurned a glorious opportunity through Shakes, the Tranmere man gave the visitors the lead.

Wood’s defenders backed off, allowing Jennings to burst forward and his cross was met by Norwoord at the near post, whose header trickled over the line despite the best efforts of Smith in goal.

Despite their numerical advantage, Wood struggled to break down Tranmere’s resolute defence and Micky Mellon’s men managed to see out the last ten minutes without any real concern, to seal a return to League 2 for the first time in three years.

Boreham Wood: Smith (GK), Woodards (Thomas, 82), Ricketts ©, Stephens, Doe, Shakes, Champion, Murtagh, Balanta, Andrade, Folivi (Quigley, 69).

Subs (Not used): Burbridge (GK), Harfield , Davey.

Bookings: Balanta (40), Folivi (60)

Tranmere: Davies (GK), Ridehalgh, Sutton (Harris, 45+5), McNulty ©, Monthe, Nordburn, Ginnelly (Jennings, 33), Hughes, Cole (Clarke, 9) Cook, Norwood.

Subs (Not used): Taylor (GK), Mangan.

Booked: Jennings (87)

Red card: Ridehalgh (1)

Referee: Neil Hair.

Attendance: 16,306.