Keith Hill’s time at Tranmere Rovers came to an end on Tuesday after he was relieved of his duties as the club’s manager.
Hill succeeded Mike Jackson at Prenton Park back in November and led Rovers to a Papa John’s Trophy Final appearance at Wembley in March, where they finished runners-up against Sunderland.
Despite guiding them into the Sky Bet League Two play-offs after finishing the regular season in seventh, results during recent weeks saw Rovers miss out on automatic promotion and a place in the top three.
Bolton-born Hill, 51, departs Rovers after less than six months with a record of 40 games managed, 20 wins, 10 draws and 10 losses in all competitions.
Initially appointed on a deal until the conclusion of the 2020/21 term, Hill had previous success in the fourth tier in charge of Rochdale, and it was hoped that he could steer Rovers back up to Sky Bet League One at the first attempt.
Hill set off to a good start during his spell as boss, and Rovers found themselves well in the mix to secure promotion.
Rovers earned three straight wins from Hill’s opening three games, beating Carlisle United and Oldham Athletic in the league either and Vanarama National League North outfit Brackley Town in the FA Cup second-round.
But following on from the Wembley showpiece, Tranmere won just three times in their next 13 league games to drop down to seventh, which forced chairman Mark Palios into a decision to sack Hill.
Palios said: “Despite success achieved on the pitch in the form of securing a place in the play-offs and reaching the Papa John’s Trophy Final, in the play-offs an entire season gets distilled into two or three games.
“I have to do what I think gives us the best chance of achieving promotion in those games and I have reluctantly come to the conclusion that means making the change before the semi-finals begin.”
Throughout March and April, Rovers went seven matches without winning, eventually securing back-to-back victories over Bradford City and Barrow.
But by then, hopes of finishing third were out of their hands.
And a 2-1 defeat at Forest Green Rovers earlier this month before the Whites secured the point that they needed to extend their campaign in a goalless home draw with Colchester on the final day.
Ian Dawes will guide Tranmere through their play-off campaign, assisted by Andy Parkinson, as they prepare to take on Morecambe in the semi-final over two-legs.