Tranmere were defeated 2-1 by promotion-challengers Southend United At Prenton Park.
Two first half goals from Jack Payne and an own goal by Will Aimson gave the visitors the early advantage. A second half penalty by Max Power halved the deficit but despite pressure on the Southend goal, Rovers couldn't muster an equaliser.
Manager Micky Adams made four changes to the Tranmere line-up which began at Luton last weekend. Cole Stockton returned to the side following injury, while the three new loan signings Shamir Fenelon, Will Aimson and Calaum Jahraldo-Martin made their Tranmere debuts.
The first chance of the game went to Tranmere on five minutes. Stockton played in Fenelon who forced Dan Bentley in the Southend goal to make a save low to his right from 12 yards.
On 13 minutes. Southend had their first sight of goal. A cross into the penalty area was half cleared to David Worrall, 25 yards from goal, who hit a crisp right-footed volley which deflected just wide of the goal.
Southend opened the scoring three minutes later. A deep cross from the left found Worrall at the back post who nodded back across goal finding Jack Payne running in who tapped the ball home past Peter Brezovan.
Southend doubled their lead on 23 minutes. Worrall was again the architect as he picked the ball up on the right wing and beat Liam Ridehalgh before his low shot was saved by Brezovan only for the ball to be turned into his own goal by Will Aimson.
The Shrimpers could have increased their lead further on 25 minutes. A misplaced pass saw Payne through on goal but a good recovering tackle by Janoi Donacien denied the Southend man a shooting opportunity.
On 36 minutes, it was the visitors again threatening another goal as the ball pinballed dangerously around the penalty area before Michael Ihiekwe put it out for a Southend corner.
Shortly before the break, Tranmere created a couple of chances. Firstly, Aimson laid the ball off to Steve Jennings 20 yards out who hit a piledriver just wide. Then, a cross from Donacien found the head of Stockton whose effort was saved by Bentley as Southend went in at the break two goals to the good.
The Shrimpers had the opening opportunity of the second half. Worrall capitalised on a misplaced pass as burst forward before sending a low shot from 25 yards which Brezovan saved low to his right. Then on 52 minutes, Payne hit a rasping shot from 25 yards which Brezovan saved to his left.
A minute later, Tranmere were awarded a penalty. Fenelon burst into the box before he was brought down by Cian Bolger. Max Power stepped up and nonchalantly dinked it down the middle to reduce the deficit to 2-1.
Midway through the second half, Kevan Hurst tried his luck from 25 yards with a low shot but Brezovan saved to his left before the same played dragged a shot wide from the edge of the penalty area a moment later.
Micky Adams made a double substitution on 72 minutes with Jason Koumas and Kayode Odejayi replacing Ridehalgh and Jahraldo-Martin.
On 81 minutes, Odejayi did well on the right and his low cross was blocked by Luke Prosser before the ball landed to the feet of Ihiekwe whose shot was turned away by Bentley.
Tranmere pressed hard for an equaliser but at the other end Southend remained dangerous with substitute Conor Clifford sending a shot flashing across the face of the goal and Brezovan making a superb save with his legs to deny Payne. And it was the visitors who took the points back to Essex.
Tranmere: Brezovan, Holness, Aimson, Ihiekwe, Donacien, Power, Jennings, Ridehalgh (Odejayi 73), Fenelon, Stockton, Jahraldo-Martin (Koumas 73). Substitutes: Fon Williams, Holmes, Rowe, Laird, Kirby.
Southend: Bentley, Thompson, Bolger, Prosser, White, Worrall, Timlin, Leonard (Clifford 45), Hurst (Williams 80), Payne, Corr. Substitutes: Weston, Atkinson, Coulthirst, Smith, Sokolik.
Referee: Carl Berry
Yellow cards: Bolger (53), Timlin (62), Aimson (73)