The wait for a home win in the league continued for Tranmere, after a stunning Chris Lines free-kick gave Port Vale the points.
Rovers played an hour with ten men, after debutant Liam Ridehalgh was sent off, but despite Owain Fon Williams’ penalty save, Vale left with the victory, after Lines’ strike.
In second half injury time Ash Taylor looped a header onto the crossbar, as Tranmere were left frustrated at home.
Ronnie Moore made two changes to the side that was beaten by Stoke on Wednesday; new signing Liam Ridehalgh replaced Evan Horwood, with Joe Thompson also coming in for Max Power.
However, within two minutes Port Vale had registered the first shot; Ben Williamson capitalised on a loose ball, and dragged his effort wide.
The game had started at a quick pace, with both sides trying to gain the early impetus. It was the same player who tried his luck minutes later too, but this time Williamson’s effort was comfortably dealt with by Owain Fon Williams.
At the other end Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro capitalised on some hesitant Vale defending to take it past Chris Neal, the away stopper, but from a tight angle the Frenchman’s effort only found the side netting.
The end-to-end action was relentless, and on ten minutes Doug Loft charged forward for the visitors and his low effort clipped the outside of Fon Williams’ left-hand post.
Williamson was looking a threat for the visitors, and on 21 minutes his deflected strike was saved by the legs of the home stopper.
Vale were getting closer, and when Loft was sent clean through, he will have been disappointed to put his effort wide of the Tranmere goal.
The big chance for the visitors came on the half hour mark however, as the game took a twist.
Birchall broke through this time for Vale, only to be upended by Ridehalgh in the area. The referee adjudged it to be a foul, and subsequently sent off the defender, making his first appearance on loan from Huddersfield.
There was rest bite however, Fon Williams was the man of the moment for Rovers, turning Tom Pope’s penalty around the post with a top class save.
Rovers then survived the following barrage of Vale pressure, with Ian Goodison replacing Thompson as Anthony Griffiths eventually fired over the bar.
After the home side regrouped they began to look a threat, and Chris Atkinson fashioned an opening down the right, squaring for Akpa Akpro, whose effort on the slide was put behind by Neal for a corner.
At the other end Loft stung the palms for Fon Williams. However, with the last chance of the half Rovers threatened again, with Akpa Akpro heading over James Rowe’s cross, as an entertaining first 45 minutes came to an end.
At half time Power was introduced to the action for Rovers, replacing Rowe, who was on a booking.
After the break the hosts started well and came close then Akpa Apro headed Atkinson’s free-kick straight at Neal.
At the other end Birchall had en effort deflected behind for Vale, with Carl Dickinson heading wide the resulting corner.
The visitors took the lead ten minutes into the second half, with Chris Lines bending a sublime free-kick into the top corner.
Moore’s men tried for the quick response, as Adam Dugdale headed Power’s free-kick over the bar.
Soon after it was Atkinson trying his luck but, Like Dugdale’s, his effort ended up in the Port Vale contingent.
Loft then struck wide for the visitors, as Akpo Sodje replaced Cole Stockton for Tranmere’s third and final change.
Soon after the hosts were inches from equalising, Ryan Lowe’s drive was parried by Neal, but as Akpa Akpro challenged for the rebound the ball ricocheted off the striker, and out for a goal kick.
The chances were coming for Rovers though; Sodje was next to come close, but fired over, after Lowe had put him through.
Pope then had an opportunity to put the game beyond doubt for Vale, but shot straight at Fon Williams from the edge of the box.
The striker, who has five to his name this season, was denied again soon after by the defiant Fon Williams, the goalkeeper had already kept out Lee Hughes header, before smothering Pope’s rebound.
Tom Hateley then crossed for Sodje to glance a header into the hands of Neal.
Right at the death, after Rovers penalty appeals had been turned down, Ash Taylor looped a header onto the cross bar as the wait for a home victory in the league continued.
Tranmere: Fon Williams, Hateley, Taylor, Dugdale, Ridehalgh, Thompson (Goodison 33), Rowe (Power 45 HT), Atkinson, Akpa Akpro, Lowe, Stockton (Sodje 69). Substitutes: Ramsbottom, Morris, Baggie, Davies.
Port Vale: Neal, Yates, Robertson, Dickinson, Chilvers, Loft, Pope, Lines, Williamson (Hughes 82), Griffith, Birchall (Myrie-Williams 73). Substitutes: Johnstone, Dodds, Davis, Mohamed, Duffy.
Referee: Paul Tierney
Yellow cards: Lowe (25), Rowe (37), Griffith (42), Williamson (45+3), Neal (63), Myrie-Williams (81)
Red card: Ridehalgh (30)
By Mark Ridgway