Reggie Lamb's first half goal saw Rovers fall to a 1-0 defeat at Mansfield Town on Tuesday night.
Micky Adams made three changes to the side that started at Southend as George Green returned from illness and Jennison Myrie-Williams and Rory Donnelly returned to the starting line up, with Marc Laird, Josh Thompson and Kayode Odejayi dropping out. Matt Hill was named in the squad for the first time since an Achilles injury ruled him out in September, while Jason Koumas also returned from injury to take a place on the substitutes' bench.
The home side should have taken the lead within the first 15 seconds. Janoi Donacien's clearance fell straight to Reggie Lambe whose pass sent Vadine Oliver through on goal. However, Fon Williams saved his first attempt with a dive down to his left and the striker missed the follow up under pressure from Donacien.
Mansfield kept the pressure on and after Michael Ihiekwe conceded a corner, Jack Thomas flashed a 20 yard effort inches over Owain Fon Williams' crossbar.
Rovers created their first opening on nine minutes when Green won possession from Callum Elder on the right wing and cut inside before being brought down 25 yards from goal. The Everton loanee took the free kick himself and curled just past the top right corner.
The visitors broke quickly on the counter attack on 13 minutes and had four men against two Mansfield defenders but Green opted to run with the ball rather than pass and his progress was ended by Ryan Tafazolli.
Adams' side went close to an opener on 17 minutes. Danny Holmes and Cole Stockton combined on the right to find Myrie-Williams and he broke past Elder and picked out Donnelly 12 yards out but his side footed effort rolled inches past the bottom left corner.
Donnelly's downward header from Max Power's cross was comfortably held by Sascha Studer on 27 minutes while Green's left wing cross caused a moment of panic in the home defence soon after.
Studer did well to save Stockton's low drive through a crowded area on 32 minutes as Rovers continued to press forward but the home side took the lead against the run of play two minutes from half time. McGuire found Lambe on the edge of the area and he shifted the ball on to his left foot before sending a low shot across goal and into the bottom right corner.
Donnelly picked up a pass from Power 25 yards from goal on 50 minutes and brought a save out of Studer with a shot on the turn and the striker scuffed an attempt from Stockton's lay off six minutes later.
On 57 minutes Fon Williams raced off his line to challenge Stags substitute Matt Rhead though Rhead managed to win possession back before being fouled by Rob Taylor on the edge of the area. From the resulting free kick Chris Clements' shot hit the defensive wall before being cleared.
A triple substitution saw Kayode Odejayi, Iain Hume and Matt Hill replace Stockton, Donnelly and Hill just past the hour mark.
McGuire volleyed on to the roof of the Tranmere goal on 63 minutes while Myrie-Williams' right foot half volley was saved by Studer at the other end.
Rovers spent long spells camped in the Mansfield half but were unable to create a clear chance on goal. With men thrown forward, the hosts had chances on the counter attack and Oliver was inches away from turning in a Lambe cross on 88 minutes.
A Green corner gave Hume a half chance on 90 minutes but his effort was blocked as the game went into eight minutes of added time.
Power's cross was deflected away from the back post on 93 minutes and moments later Mansfeld were reduced to ten men when Lambe was shown his second yellow card of the game.
A long range effort from Green looped into the arms of Studer after taking a deflection on 99 minutes, the final chance of the game for Rovers.
Mansfield: Studer, Sutton, Tafazolli, McGuire (Ravenhill 68), Lambe, Thomas (Rhead 54), Brown (Marsden 90), Oliver, Elder, Clements, Raynes. Substitutes: Pidgeley, Bingham, Hearn, Hawkridge.
Tranmere: Fon Williams, Holmes, Donacien, Ihiekwe, Taylor (Hill 61), Myrie-Williams, Power, Jennings, Green, Donnelly (Hume 61), Stockton (Odejayi 61). Substitutes: Brezovan, Hill, Thompson, Laird, Koumas, Hume, Odejayi.
Referee: Darren Drysdale
Yellow cards: Power (54), Tafazolli (66), Lambe (86), Fon Williams (90), Hill (90), Oliver (90), Green (90)
Red card: Lambe (90)