DEAN Marney upstaged birthday boy Danny Ings as the Clarets’ classy finishing earned them a third successive victory on the road.
Ings, 21 today, celebrated in style at Tranmere, following up his strikes at Morecambe and Cork to make it four goals in those three games with a terrific finish on the turn in the first half.
But if that was good, what followed was simply sensational as Marney opened his account for the season early in the second half with a breathtaking 30-yard drive.
At the opposite end, Tom Heaton was again in sparkling form for Burnley in their toughest pre-season test yet against the League One side.
And with Kieran Trippier shaking off a knock to return in defence, Ings continuing his imperious pre-season form and the midfield pairing of Marney and David Jones continuing to blossom, there was plenty to cheer about for the Clarets fans who made the midweek trip to the Wirral.
Heaton again started in goal following his weekend penalty saving heroics at Carlisle - and the Clarets summer signing carried where he left off following a purposeful start by the hosts.
The former Bristol City stopper watched Ryan Lowe pull his third minute shot just wide before making a terrific double save two minutes later.
First, Heaton was equal to Andy Robinson’s long range - and after parrying it out into the path of Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro, he reacted superbly to turn over the Frenchman’s rising, angled effort.
Burnley weathered that early storm and grew into the game with neat, accurate passing almost paying dividends in the 25th minute, following a move involving just about every outfield player.
Eventually, Trippier’s audacious cross was laid off by Junior Stanislas to David Jones, who in turn fed Charlie Austin for a shot from the left side of the area that keeper Owain Fon Williams grabbed at his near post.
However, it was Rovers who came closest to opening the scoring in the 34th minute. Apka Akpro teed-up Robinson on the edge of the area, and after the former Leeds and Swansea wide man showed quick feet to leave Trippier for dead, his angled drive past Heaton came back off the inside of the right hand upright.
Man of the moment Ings finally broke the deadlock though in the 38th minute with a stunning finish.
Trippier’s deep cross found Austin at the far post and, from his headed knock down, Ings unleashed a howitzer on the turn into the roof of the net.
However, if that was a class finish, what followed 11 minutes into the second half simply took the breath away.
Again it was a neat and patient build up from the Clarets, which saw Stanislas feed Ings on the edge of the D.
And when the first half goalscorer laid the ball off to Marney, the midfielder rocketed a sweet, first time effort high into the top left hand corner from fully 30 yards.
Marney came close to adding a third moments later, seeing an equally vicious rising drive – this time from inside the area – fly just over the angle.
Heaton then helped to keep the two-goal advantage intact as he took no risks, gloving Lowe’s half volley over the bar with three quarters of the game gone.
Vokes almost put the icing on the cake with a low effort from distance that had Fon Williams worried, but flew just the wrong side of the post.
But in the 90th minute, Tranmere got the goal their own impressive performance deserved when substitute James Rowe finished off a neat move with a precise 12-yard finish.
And it took another fine save from Heaton from Joe Thompson's 25-yarder in stoppage time to finally secure the victory.
BURNLEY: Heaton, Trippier (O'Neill, 78), Shackell, Long, Lafferty, Wallace (Treacy 74), Jones (Edgar 74), Marney (Stock 78), Stanislas (Mills 80), Ings (Arfield 74), Austin (Vokes 74)
Subs: Burnley: Subs: Cisak, Noble
TRANMERE (starting): Williams, Holmes, Horwood, Taylor, Foster, Power, Baggie. Atkinson, Lowe, Robinson, Akpa Akpro.
Subs: Goodison, Mooney, Rowe, Kirby, Stockton, Thompson, Davies
Ref: Scott Mathieson