Ten man Tranmere suffered their second away defeat of the season, losing to Crewe 2-1 at Alexandra Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Rovers were a man down for more than an hour after Danny Holmes was sent off for two yellow card offences. Alex scored their first goal soon after the red card and doubled their lead late in the game before Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro netted his first of the season.
It could have been a different story. Rovers hit the bar early in the game and had good chances to score through Akpa Akpro moments before the sending off and second goal but both were saved by Alan Martin.
Ronnie Moore made one change to the team that drew against Crawley a week earlier as Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro replaced the injured Akpo Sodje. Ian Goodison also missed out through injury with his place on the substitutes' bench going to new loan signing Andrai Jones.
Good play from Akpa Akpro and Evan Horwood on the left won a corner for Rovers in the fifth minute and it almost led to the opening goal. Robinson's cross from the right was met by the head of Stephen Foster and the ball crashed against the cross bar and bounced down near the goal line before being cleared. Despite appeals for a goal from the visiting supporters play continued and the game remained goalless.
Danny Holmes and Joe Thompson picked up early yellow cards for fouls just outside the Tranmere area, the second of which allowed Matt Tootle to curl over the bar direct from the free kick.
On 17 minutes Holmes lost possession on the halfway and Crewe launched a quick counter attack from which Ryan Colclough fired across goal and wide.
Four minutes later Holmes and Thompson combined on the right before Max Power sent a 25 yard shot wide of the target.
The 33rd minute of the game proved to be significant. A clearance from Fon Williams bounced over the Crewe back four and Akpa Akpro ran to to a one on one with Alan Martin. The Rovers striker tried to find the bottom left corner but Martin kept the ball out with his feet. Less than 60 seconds later Rovers were down to ten men when Holmes was shown his second yellow card for a foul on Grant.
The right back slot was filled by Jones who replaced Thompson five minutes after the red card. However, soon after Rovers found themselves a goal behind when Colclough cut inside a challenge from Power and fired into the top left corner from 15 yards.
Power missed the target from 25 yards while Horwood's cross was headed goalwards by Akpa Akpro in first half injury time but Tootle cleared the ball for a corner.
Tranmere weren't too far away from an equaliser on 50 minutes when Lowe narrowly failed to connect with Horwood's cross just in front of Martin
Five minutes later George Ray headed wide of Fon Williams' right hand post from a corner while Crewe dealt with two inswinging Horwood free kicks soon after.
Lowe forced Martin to save at his near post with a first time shot from Akpa Akpro's lay off on 63 minutes and Fon Williams kept out Colclough's angled drive five minutes later after a long spell of Rovers pressure came to an end.
Crewe substitute Max Clayton hit the right hand post from six yards on 77 minutes from Byron Moore's cross and after Akpa Akpro had headed straight at Martin from a Horwood corner on 84 minutes the home side doubled their lead, with Colclough poking into the bottom left corner from six yards.
However, Tranmere gave themselves a lifeline on 87 minutes. Substitute James Rowe and Jones linked on the right with the latter sending a low ball through the area for Akpa Akpro to turn in at the back post.
Rowe almost provided an equaliser in injury time when he coped with two opponents and whipped a cross in from the right but Akpa Akpro acrobatically volleyed over.
Crewe: Martin, Tootle, Mellor, Davis, Osman, Moore, Ray, Oliver, Aneke (Clayton 73), Colclough, Grant. Substitutes: Phillips, Ellis, Leitch Smith, Turton, Molyneux, Audel.
Tranmere: Fon Williams, Holmes, Taylor, Foster, Horwood, Thompson (Jones 38), Power, Atkinson, Robinson (Koumas 70), Lowe, Akpa Akpro. Substitutes: Mooney, Rowe, Kirby, Baggie, Stockton.
Referee: Andy Madley
Yellow cards: Holmes (12), Thompson (16), Osman (76)
Red card: Holmes (33)