Micky Mellon and few other familiar faces brought a far from full-strength Fleetwood side back down to earth at Prenton Park.
Ex-Town boss Mellon saw his National League outfit stroll to a deserved win over Uwe Rosler’s League One side.
Fleetwood boss Rosler made 11 changes to the side that beat Championship side Bolton 2-0 at the weekend with a number of key players like Cian Bolger, Kyle Dempsey, Nathan Pond and Conor McAleny given the night off.
With the usual defensive core given a chance to rest ahead of Friday’s clash with Championship side Preston North End two trialists partnered Harvey Rodgers.
While there were two unfamiliar faces in Town’s team the travelling Cod Army were treated to a few blasts from the past, both in the opposition dugout and on the pitch with Mellon including Scott Davies, Stephen McNulty and Jeff Hughes while Andy Mangan came off the bench.
A physical Rovers side made a bright start and took the lead just eight minutes in.
Town midfielder Markus Schwabl was outmuscled in the middle of the park, and as he appealed for a foul, the hosts drove forward and released James Norwood who drilled the ball past Town keeper Chris Neal.
While Tranmere had the early clear cut chances, Town still posed a threat with Wes Burns impressing on the right of the front three.
His centre was nodded over by Joe Maguire before a fine solo run ended with a shot straight at Davies.
Town wobbled just before the break but Tranmere went for the jugular at the start of the second half.
Moments after a fine save from Neal and quick thinking from the defence, Norwood struck again when he diverted home from close range.
Town pulled a goal back in the 70th minute as Jack Sowerby scored from a delightful 25-yard set-piece.
That joy was shortlived as Adam Buxton curled the ball home at the other end just two minutes later.
Andy Cook nearly made it four in the dying stages and Schwabl’s low effort from distance was just tipped round the post by Davies as Town suffered their first defeat on home soil this pre-season.
Tranmere Rovers: Davies, Buxton, McNulty (Mangan, 60), Sutton (Hughes, 85), Dunn (Jennings, 60), Norwood (Cook, 60), Norburn, Alabi (Gumbs, 20), Ridehalgh (Clarke, 71), Hughes (Solomon-Davies, 78), Duggan (Dawson, 78). Subs not used: Pilling.
Fleetwood Town: Neal, Trialist, Trialist (Biggins, 75), Rodgers, Nirennold (Godswill, 60), Sowerby, Schwabl, Maguire, Hunter (Donohue, 46), Burns (Nadesan, 75), Cole. Subs not used: Crellin, Sheron, Reid.
Attendance: 1229 (63 away)
Referee: Scott Oldham