Two fine strikes from Tom Lawrence and goals from David Amoo and James Berrett sent Tranmere to a 4-1 defeat against Carlisle United at Brunton Park.
The Cumbrians took the lead early on and though Rovers had chances to level, once the home team got their second shortly after half time the outcome was never really in doubt. Ryan Lowe pulled a goal back on 80 minutes but it was too late for Rovers to mount a comeback.
Ronnie Moore made three changes to the team that lost at Peterborough in the FA Cup as Jason Koumas, Ash Taylor and Jon Otsemobor came in for Jake Kirby, Ryan Edwards and Danny Holmes. Former Rovers winger David Amoo started for Carlisle. A late change to the side before kick off made it four alterations as James Wallace was replaced by Max Power with Steve Jennings being added to the substitutes' bench.
In wet and windy conditions, Rovers got off to the worst start possible, conceding in the opening minute. The home side pressed early on and the ball was played to Manchester United loanee Tom Lawrence who superbly lifted it over Owain Fon Williams and into the top left corner from the edge of the area.
On nine minutes Kris Peterson cut in from the right wing and exchanged passes with Ryan Lowe before running into the Carlisle area but he was well challenged by Paul Thirlwell and ran the ball out of play.
After Fon Williams pulled off a fine one handed save to keep out Prince Buaben's curling strike from the edge of the Rovers area, Lowe brought a save out of Ben Amos at the other end with a 20 yard strike with the outside of his foot.
Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro had to clear a Lee Miller header off the goal line on 16 minutes while Buaben fired wide from 12 yards after being picked out by Lawrence following an attack down the left.
Koumas shot inches over from 25 yards on 18 minutes while Fon Williams had to tip a Robson cross on to the bar and behind for a corner six minutes later.
Lowe ran on to a loose ball to get a shooting chance on 30 minutes but the striker had to contend with the tightest of angles and hit the feet of Amos, with Akpa Akpro unable to bring the rebound under control.
Fon Williams had to punch a Lawrence free kick away from goal, while Rovers launched a counter attack from a Carlisle corner that saw Koumas find Peterson with a chipped pass only for the winger to side foot wide from six yards.
Carlisle doubled their lead seven minutes into the second half. James Berrett curled a corner into the six yard box from where Amoo powered a volley into the roof of the net.
Lowe shot wide on the turn inside the Carlisle area on 56 minutes while Lee Miller curled against the right hand Tranmere post soon after.
Koumas found Peterson just outside the area after a run through the Carlisle half on 62 minutes and the winger twisted his way past two men before seeing his left foot shot deflect into the side netting.
However, on 66 minutes Carlisle went 3-0 up. Substitute James Rowe lost possession inside the Cumbrians' half and the ball was quickly played to Lawrence who ran at the Rovers back four and into the area before squeezing a shot past Fon Williams and in off the right hand post.
The fourth goal came on 75 minutes. Amoo picked up possession on the left and raced down the wing before delivering a cross for Miller. His header ran into the path of Berrett who fired into the left side of the goal from just outside the area.
Rovers pulled a goal back on 80 minutes when Lowe netted his 13th goal of the season with a back post header from Peterson's cross but they didn't threaten to add to their tally before the final whistle.
Carlisle: Amos, Ehmer (Potts 77), O'Hanlon, Meppen-Walter, Robson, Buaben, Thirlwell (Roddan 72), Berrett, Amoo, Miller, Lawrence (Morris 68). Unused substitutes: Fleming, Noble, Beck, Guy.
Tranmere: Fon Williams, Otsemobor, Taylor, McNulty, Ridehalgh, Peterson, Power, Koumas, Atkinson (Rowe 60), Akpa Akpro, Lowe. Unused substitutes: Mooney, Holmes, Horwood, Jennings, Kirby, Stockton.
Referee: Andy Madley
Yellow cards: Ehmer (38), Taylor (58), Robson (73), Akpa Akpro (79)