Tranmere Rovers were defeated 2-1 by Northampton Town at a rain-sodden Prenton Park with a double from Sam Hoskins sealing the points for the visitors.
There were starts for new signings Ben Pringle, Kieron Morris and Sid Nelson while there was no Steve McNulty, not even among the substitutes.
Tranmere got off to the worst possible start as a ball over the top caught out the Rovers rearguard, with Hoskins running on to it and firing home from a tight angle past Scott Davies after only 90 seconds.
The hosts then began to get themselves into the game but other than a few crosses into the box, there was little in the way of creativity in the final third to see any goalscoring opportunities.
Until the 25th minute when Jake Caprice did well down the right and his low cross found James Norwood at the back post who tapped home his 21st goal of the season.
That appeared to be a turning point with Rovers enjoying more possession further up the pitch and creating a few problems for the Northampton defence.
But deep into first half injury time, former Tranmere full back David Buchanan was allowed too much time and space on the left. He delivered a neat cross which was speculatively flicked on by Hoskins, the ball looping high over Davies and in at the far post to restore The Cobblers’ advantage.
The second half was a scrappy affair with the visitors doing their best to waste as much time as often as possible and it killed any flow Rovers were trying to create.
Norwood glanced a header from a Liam Ridehalgh cross narrowly wide before Chris Dagnall was introduced for his second Rovers debut in place of Ben Pringle.
The 21-goal striker then fired a free kick from a good position into the Northampton fans behind the goal before the second change of the evening with Jonny Smith replacing Kieron Morris.
Smith’s first action was to cut inside from the right-hand-side and fire a low stinging shot which goalkeeper David Cornell tipped around his post.
Connor Jennings picked up on a loose ball inside the penalty area but his powerful shot was straight at Cornell as Rovers failed to break down the Northampton defence to get an equaliser.
Three league defeats in a row for Micky Mellon’s side, the first time that has happened under his stewardship. Next up is a home match against Stevenage on Saturday afternoon where Rovers will be looking to put this recent run well and truly behind them.