LUCAS Akins penalty looked set to hand Albion another victory on the road until a late comeback from Tranmere turned the game on its head in second half stoppage time
Albion had looked good value for a victory as the game ticked past the ninety minute mark before Ollie Banks swept home a 25 yard free-kick two minutes into added time and Stefan Payne headed home a close range effort in the dying seconds.
Akins penalty on 66 minutes had come when Stephen Quinn was sent sprawling by a poor challenge from Rovers substitute Cameron Borthwick-Jackson and the former Rovers man fired home his third goal of the season. Try as they might they could not get a second goal and Rovers seized their opportunity when it came at the death.
For their second away game of the week the starting line-up showed just the one change from the side that took to the field at Fratton Park against Portsmouth in the week. With John-Joe O'Toole serving his one match suspension for the two yellow cards picked up at Pompey, Nigel Clough opted to stick with the back four that completed the game on the south coast. Colin Daniel, having proved his fitness on his return as a substitute on Tuesday returned at left back meaning a centre back partnership of Richard Nartey and Kieran Wallace, Jake Buxton remaining on the bench after still feeling the effects of his rib injury in the build up to the game.
Tranmere started brightly winning a couple of dangeours corners in the opening minutes with the wind showing that it was going to have a bearing on the game as it swirled around Rovers Birkenhead home.
The home side also have the first real chance from open play when Ollie Banks swung in a delightful cross that just evaded Stefan Payne in the box with Nartey getting an important touch to help the ball on its way out of danger.
Kieran Wallace went in referee Alan Young's notebook for a foul on Paul Mullin with the Brewers feeling somewhat aggrieved that a free kick had not gone their way seconds before when Oliver Sarkic appeared to be brought down.
Albion began to find their attacking feet and it was Sarkic who provided Scott Davies with his first meaningful action from a 25 yard free kick after Lucas Akins had been brought down. Rovers responded well as as space opened up for Kieron Morris on the edge of the box he drilled a low left foot shot into the side netting.
And as Albion began to grow in confidence they had the best chance so far on 26 minutes as Sarkic picked out the run of Sbarra down the middle but the youngster's finish was just wide of Davies' despairing dive and the post.
Quick thinking from a throw in by Broadhead on the half hour conjured up another Albion chance with Ryan Edwards running into the box as the home defence momentarily switched off but from an acute angle the Australian could not find the far corner of the net.
Albion were quickly forced into a change when John Brayford hobbled off and was replaced by Liam Boyce meaning a switch to right back for Akins to enable Boyce to become the focal point of the attack.
As the game ticked into added on time it was Albion on the front foot and Sarkic forced an excellent fingertip save from Davies going low to his left as the ball looked destined for the bottom corner.
Rovers were also forced into a change brought on by injury with the experienced David Perkins pulling up sharply on a run down the left and eventually going off to be replaced by another experience player, new signing Neil Danns.
Half time: Tranmere Rovers 0-0 Burton Albion
When the teams re-emerged for the second half Tranmere had made a second change with Manchester United loanee Cameron Borthwick-Jackson replacing centre back George Ray.
Ten minutes in and Borthwick-Jackson almost had himself an assist with a lobbed ball towards the back post that Mullin managed to drive wide.
Albion then got their attacking flow back with Daniel able to drive into the box and flash a low cross through the six yard box with both Boyce and Edwards agonisingly close to putting it in the back of the net. The Brewers then came out better from a scramble in midfield which finally ended with Quinn drilling a shot just over Davies' bar.
Wallace then surged forward from the back and as he did on Teusday let fly from outside the box but this time there was no fortunate deflection to take it past the keeper.
As the game became more and more stretched opportunities were opening up and when Quinn stole possession from a loose pass out of defence there was danger for Tranmere. The Irishman burst into the box and was unceremoniously brought down by Borthwick-Jackson for an obvious penalty. Back on the ground where he spent two years as a Rovers player AKINS stepped up to send Davies the wrong way from the spot.
Davies then made a superb double save to prevent Albion doubling their lead within five minutes. Broadhead forced a good save low to the keeper's right but the ball came back out to Edwards who could not beat the keeper as he quickly got up to get a leg to the ball and divert it wide.
Albion were continuing to press and Daniel was inches away from a first goal in Burton colours with a fierce drive from the edge of the box overlapping Broadhead inside the box.
Tranmere began to press in search of an equaliser and they began to pump balls into the Burton box to create some pressure as the game edged into its final ten minutes.
Buxton and Reece Hutchinson were introduced for the final stages as both Sarkic and Quinn were replaced.
Rovers were continuing to threaten and Mullin twice went close, firstly with a header just over the bar from a left wing cross and then firing over the goal after a smart turn on the edge of the box.
But BANKS set up a dramatic finish drilling a low free kick into the corner of the net after Nartey had been adjudged to have fouled 25 yards out before PAYNE headed home in a stoppage time scramble to send Albion to a first away defeat of the season.