Rovers' npower League 1 season began with a defeat as a goal in each half gave Oldham a 2-1 win at Prenton Park.
Tranmere's best chances fell to Enoch Showunmi and Joss Labadie but both players sent their headers narrowly wide of goal, before Ian Thomas-Moore pulled a late goal back.
Les Parry's side lined up in their usual 4-3-3 formation with Gunnar Nielsen, Liam Darville, Nick Wood and Showunmi all making their debuts for the Club, while youngsters Liam Benson, Max Power and Jack Mackreth were all named on the bench.
A frantic opening few minutes saw both sides try fast attacks through the middle only for the opposition defence to gain control. A couple of clearances from Ian Goodison ended potentially dangerous situations for Rovers while Showunmi was close to charging down a clearance from Oldham keeper Dean Brill at the other end.
On seven minutes Lewis Alessandra brought a save out of Nielsen at his near post with a 20 yard shot and the Latics were unable to take advantage of the resulting corner. Another long range effort from the winger went just over the bar on ten minutes.
A fantastic cross from Cresswell almost brought the first goal of the season for Rovers on 13 minutes but Showunmi's powerful header went just past the far post, while Joss Labadie sent a volley over the bar a couple of minutes later as the home side came back into the game.
A miss timed tackle by Labadie gave Oldham a free kick right on the edge of the Tranmere penalty area in a central position on 26 minutes and the visitors took full advantage, with Dale Stephens putting a low shot past Nielsen into the bottom left corner.
Ian Thomas-Moore's attempted over head kick from the edge of the Oldham area didn't work out on 30 minutes and striker was just unable to get on to the end of his own flick on two minutes later.
Oumare Tounkare got past Goodison and Wood before sending a weak shot straight at Nielsen on 34 minutes and a Cresswell drive was blocked for Rovers soon after, the last chance of the half for either side.
Stephens fired over for the visitors within 30 seconds of the restart and Alessandra sent a low effort straight at Nielsen six minutes later.
Ryan Fraughan replaced Paul McLaren with just under half an hour remaining, the youngster lining up on the left side of midfield as Terry Gornell moved over to the right.
The change brought a spark from Rovers. Labadie flashed a header wide of goal after excellent work from Fraughan and Thomas-Moore on the edge of the area and a counter attack moments later saw Showunmi only just miss his attempt at charging down Brill's clearance.
Labadie volleyed wide from a Goodison knock down on 80 minutes but Oldham struck again soon after. After an attack down the left, the ball fell to Stephens 25 yards out and he struck a low shot into the bottom left corner giving Nielsen little chance of a save.
Thomas-Moore shot straight at Brill on 88 minutes after receiving the ball from Fraughan and the striker pulled a goal back a minute later with a looping header from Fraughan's corner.
It proved to be the final chance for Rovers though the final few minutes brought the drama of a flare up between the sides, three bookings and a late penalty appeal turned down for the home side.
Tranmere: Nielsen, Darville, Wood, Goodison, Cresswell, Welsh, McLaren (Fraughan 61), Labadie, Gornell, Showunmi, Thomas-Moore. Substitutes not used: Colllister, Benson, Bakayogo, Blanchard, Power, Mackreth.
Oldham: Brill, Lee, Black, Hazell, Jarrett, Jones, Stephens, Furman, Alessandra, Feeney, Tounkare (Kelly 84). Substitutes not used: Mvoto, Ollerenshaw, Holdsworth, Millar, Bebmo-Leta, McGrath.
Referee: Graham Salisbury
Yellow cards: Hazell (79), Stephens (90+1), Jarrett (90+1), Labadie (90+1)