Goals from John Welsh and Dale Jennings earned Rovers a 2-0 win over third placed Southampton at Prenton Park.
Welsh's close range effort and a typically spectacular effort from Jennings gave Tranmere their second home win of 2011, a result that rewarded their effort throughout the match.
Les Parry's side pressed their opponents at every opportunity and created several decent chances, while Tony Warner produced three one handed saves when called upon.&nbsp;
There was one change to the side that started at MK Dons, with Marlon Broomes returning from injury to take the place of Zoumana Bakayogo. Ash Taylor pushed forward into a three man midfield with Dale Jennings and Lateef Elford-Alliyu either side of Enoch Showunmi in attack. Alan Mahon was named among the substitutes for the first time in 2010-11 after a long spell out following knee surgery in the summer.
Tony Warner was quick off his line in the fourth minute to claim the ball ahead of Morgan Schneiderlin following a flick on from Rickie Lambert, and as the action quickly went to the other end John Welsh sent a volley over the bar on the turn from 25 yards.
Some excellent close control from Joss Labadie saw the midfielder hold off Jose Fonte by the corner flag on nine minutes before eventually finding Jennings with a back heel. Labadie ran on to a return pass to break into the area but his low ball was cleared by Rahdi Jaidi.
But Rovers' next attack saw them take the lead. A looped cross from Broomes was flicked on by Labadie and with the Southampton defenders expecting Kelvin Davis to come and claim the ball, the keeper stayed on his line allowing Welsh to nip in, take a touch and turn into the bottom left corner from inside the six yard box for his third goal of the season.
Further pressure from Tranmere saw two attacks through Dale Jennings eventually cleared, while the visitors were denied an equaliser on 17 minutes by Warner who saved Lambert's close range angled effort.
A clearance from Mark McChrystal found Jennings in space on the left on 20 minutes but after the youngster had raced towards the Southampton area the ball got caught under his feet and the visitors cleared.
Rovers were forced into a change on 24 minutes when Marlon Broomes fell awkwardly and had to be carried off the pitch on a stretcher. The centre back was replaced by Nick Wood.
Showunmi won the ball off Richard Chaplow on 26 minutes but his left foot cross struck the arm of Elford-Alliyu and a free kick was awarded.
A well worked free kick saw Cresswell receive the ball in space on the left on 29 minutes and with the visitors almost caught out a shot form Elford-Alliyu was blocked on its way to goal. Southampton broke quickly from the corner that followed with the highly rated Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain finding Lambert with a cross only for the striker to head wide of the target.
A long range volleyed effort from Chaplow went comfortably wide of Warner's goal at the Kop end on 34 minutes and Oxlade-Chamberlain's effort missed the target three minutes later.
Warner pulled off a fine one handed save to keep out do Prado's header from 12 yards on 41 minutes after the visitors had broken clear on the left, while Cresswell fired over from 30 yards at the other end soon after.
After a long range effort from Cresswell went over the Southampton bar in the first minute of the second half, the visitors began to pressure the Rovers area and saw Fonte fire high over the bar.
A heavy touch from Lambert prevented the striker from a shooting opportunity on 53 minutes and as Rovers soaked up the pressure two attacks of their own saw Jennings and Elford-Alliyu make good use of their speed.
A timely intervention from Michael Kay ended Ryan Dickson's run into the Rovers area on 54 minutes while Dan Harding's free kick went just over the top of Warner's goal a few minutes later.
But on 60 minutes Tranmere doubled their lead. After Showunmi did well to hold off the challenge of Jaidi on the halfway line, the striker slipped the ball through for Jennings who timed his run to perfection, spotted Davis well off his line and curled the ball past him and in off the post from 30 yards.
Saints substitute Lee Barnard picked up a booking for diving just a couple of minutes after joining the action, the striker going down inside the area while running on to a pass from Lambert.
Another spectacular one handed save from Warner denied Barnard a goal on 70 minutes, the Rovers keeper clawing the ball away from his left after Barnard had met Lambert's cross with his head.
Lambert was inside the area a minute later to head narrowly wide of the far post and Chamberlain fired wide on the volley on 77 minutes as Southampton threw men forward.
Jose Fonte headed wide just moments after Wood headed out of the path of Lambert and Warner reacted quickly after a free kick deflected off Taylor's head and was bound for the bottom corner.
For all Southampton's pressure and territory, Rovers continued to deal with everything that was thrown at them, with Wood and McChrystal looking strong in the air and the midfield trio covering every inch of the pitch.
Lambert turned Barnard's cross onto the roof of the Tranmere net on 89 minutes and with five minutes of time added on, there were still some nervous final moments for the home side.
Tranmere: Warner, Kay, Broomes (Wood 24), McChrystal, Cresswell, Labadie, Taylor, Welsh, Elford-Alliyu, Showunmi, Jennings (Akins 90+4). Substitutes not used: Collister, Fraughan, Mahon, Thomas-Moore, McGurk.
Southampton: Davis, Richardson, Harding, Schneiderlin, Dickson (Barnard 62), Fonte, Lambert, do Prado, Jaidi, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Chaplow. Substitutes not used: Bialkowski, Butterfield, Martin, Scaborne, Gobern, Doble.
Referee: David Webb
Yellow cards: Oxlade-Chamberlain (32), Barnard (64), Taylor (73)
Follow Tranmere on Twitter at www.twitter.com/tranmererovers.