Sky Blues' eight-game undefeated run brought to an end by Rovers at Sixfields
Coventry City's eight-game unbeaten league run came to an end with a 5-1 defeat to Tranmere Rovers at Sixfields
A hat-trick from Rovers skipper Ryan Lowe and strikes from Jake Kirby and substitute James Wallace saw the Merseysiders run out comfortable winners.
Carl Baker netted a penalty for City with 15 minutes to go, shortly before Ash Taylor was shown a straight red card for a reckless boot into the face of Franck Moussa, but by then the challenge was too great for the Sky Blues to rescue anything from the game as Wallace added Tranmere's fifth with two minutes to go.
City boss Steven Pressley made one enforced change to his side, bringing in Adam Barton in place of the suspended Conor Thomas.
For once it was the Sky Blues who fell victim to a fast start though when, after just four minutes, Lowe put the visitors ahead.
With Blair Adams trying to track back for City, Liam Ridehalgh slid a through ball into the path of Lowe who applied a cool finish past Murphy to give Rovers an early advantage.
Three minutes later City nearly responded though when Carl Baker gave the ball away but worked hard to get it back, then playing in Callum Wilson down the right flank to run at goal although his finish was stopped by the legs of Owain Fon Williams.
They went close again after 14 minutes when a quick corner from Wilson to Chrsitie allowed the latter to swing in a deep cross for Leon Clarke who headed just the wrong side of the post into the side netting.
Fon Williams denied City again on 19 minutes with arguably their best chance of the game up to that point, Leon Clarke lifting a short ball into the area that saw Wilson dispossess Danny Holmes and go one-on-one with Fon Williams who made another solid save six yards off his line.
It was Tranmere who doubled their lead eight minutes before the break though after a defensive mix up.
Baker's attempt to switch the play saw the ball bounce off John Fleck's knee and into the path of Kirby who raced onto the loose ball, turned Andy Webster and finished comfortably past Murphy.
Lowe then capped off a dream first half for the visitors with a third, and his second, with only two minutes of the half to go.
A gently lofted ball from Max Power floated over the top of Andy Webster into the path of Lowe who in turn lifted the bouncing ball over Murphy and into the net.
Eight minutes into the second half you could say that Lowe's hat-trick goal was in the same vein as his second but it was much more spectacular than that.
A short clearance from Murphy fell straight to the feet of the striker who lofted a half volley from 20 yards which dropped just iunder the bar and beat Murphy as he was trying to scramble back.
Two minutes before the hour City had a half chance to claw one back when Wilson caught Holmes in possession and pulled a ball back for Franck Moussa who could only drag his shot wide from just inside the area.
They did get one back from the penalty spot though with 15 minutes to go. A ball for Wilson again saw him outmuscle Holmes who, this time, threw out a hand to stop the ball and gave away a penalty in the process, Baker stepping up to take the spot kick and netting for City although Fon Williams guessed right and got a hand to it.
However, was the visitors who had the last word of the afternoon when substitute Wallace picked up a ball in midfield and drive a near 25-yard shot past Murphy to round off a disappointing day for the Sky Blues.
Attendance: 1,815 (178 away)
Coventry City: Murphy, Adams, Christie (Phillips 56), J Clarke, Webster, Moussa, Baker (c), Fleck, Barton (Daniels 50), L Clarke, Wilson
Subs: Burge (GK), Garner, Haynes, Maund, Baker-Richardson
Tranmere Rovers: Fon Williams, Holmes, Taylor, Lowe (c) (Sodje 87), Atkinson, Kirby, Power (Horwood 80), McNulty, Koumas (Wallace 72), Ridehalgh, Akpa Akpro
Subs: Mooney (GK), Hateley, Baggie, Rowe