Tranmere's run of 1-0 defeats was extended to four games as Hartlepool United left Prenton Park with all three points.
The game was decided by two saved penalties, both in front of the Kop Stand. While Hartlepool scored the only goal of the game on the rebound from theirs, Rovers saw Andy Robinson's shot pushed on to the bar and away from goal.
There was one change to the team that lost at Doncaster with Mamady Sidibe returning from injury to take the place of Sean McGinty. Zoumana Bakayogo moved back to left back with Andy Robinson starting in left midfield.
A bad touch from Bakayogo gave Hartlepool possession in the second minute and the visitors quickly broke forward with Jonathan Franks shooting across goal and wide from 20 yards.
Max Power found Abdulai Bell-Baggie on five minutes and he passed through the Hartlepool defence to Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro who turned his marker before firing over the top right corner.
A minute later Akpa Akpro won a corner which was curled towards the back post by Robinson with Taylor's header going across goal and wide.
However, on nine minutes Rovers found themselves a goal down. Ben Gibson was ruled to have pulled Peter Hartley's shirt at a free kick and referee Lee Collins pointed straight to the penalty spot despite protests from the Rovers players. Owain Fon Williams dived to his left and saved Simon Walton's spot kick but Neil Austin was fastest to react and fired past the keeper to put Hartlepool 1-0 up.
On 26 minutes Gibson did well to tackle James inside the Rovers area but the ball fell kindly for Ritchie Humphreys and it needed a block from Taylor to keep his shot away from goal.
Rovers were almost level on 36 minutes. Robinson picked up possession outside the area and with a burst of pace he cut past two challenges before his low left foot shot from 18 yards was tipped on to the post by Scott Flinders.
Hartlepool responded well and a one two allowed James to get past Bakayogo and into the Tranmere area but the young striker put his shot across Fon Williams and wide of the target.
Power sent a right foot volley high over the bar on 42 minutes, the final chance of the half.
Rovers started the second half brightly and spent most of the first ten minutes camped in the Hartlepool half though they were unable to create a clear chance on goal.
An opportunity came on 56 minutes. Danny Holmes found Akpa Akpro inside the area and the striker went down under a challenge from Hartley and with the help of his assistant the referee awarded a penalty. Robinson sent his spot kick towards the top left corner but Flinders guessed the correct way, reached out his arm and pushed the ball on to the bar and away from goal to keep his side ahead.
A double substitution saw Cole Stockton and Joe Thompson replace Sidibe and Bell-Baggie just after the hour mark while Akpa Akpro saw a low shot comfortably saved by Flinders soon after.
Stockton turned on to a pass from Robinson on 74 minutes and fired a shot over the bar while it needed a well timed interception from Ben Gibson to cut out a pass for James ten minutes later.
There were two late chances for Rovers from 30 yard free kicks but Power and Akpa Akpro both fired over the bar.
Tranmere: Fon Williams, Holmes, Taylor, Gibson, Bakayogo, Bell-Baggie (Thompson 61), Palmer, Power, Robinson (O'Halloran 83), Akpa Akpro, Sidibe (Stockton 61). Substitutes: Mooney, Kay, Goodison, Harrison.
Hartlepool: Flinders, Austin, Humphreys, Collins, Franks (Sweeney 74), Walton, Monkhouse, Baldwin, Holden, Hartley, James (Rutherford 88). Substitutes: McHugh, Horwood, Luscombe, Rutherford, Hawkins, Boagey.
Referee: Lee Collins
Yellow cards: Gibson (9), Power (20), Monkhouse (40), Rutherford (90+2)