Darren Bent scored his first goal since February as Paul Lambert secured his first win as Aston Villa manager.
England international Bent, 28, rounded off the scoring as Villa beat Tranmere in the League Cup after meeting Brett Holman's right-wing cutback.
Fabian Delph had set Villa on the way to victory over their League One opponents from close range.
Tranmere produced a battling performance but there was no coming back after Chris Herd made it 2-0.
Lambert made six changes to the side comfortably beaten 3-1 at home by Everton on Saturday and it came as no surprise when Villa went ahead after 38 minutes, Delph making no mistake at the far post after a cross from debutant Enda Stevens was not cleared.
League One Tranmere showed plenty of purpose at the start of the second period and Liam Palmer's fierce attempt was blocked by Nathan Baker.
Villa doubled their lead after 66 minutes, Stephen Ireland's low cross allowing Herd to bundle over from close range.
And the hosts made sure of victory nine minutes from time.
Bent, whose previous goal was against
QPR in a 2-2 draw on 1 February,
rediscovered his lethal touch in front of the net when he converted a pull back from Holman.
Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert:
"I know from experience those type of games can be tricky.
"It is never easy to win a match, no matter what level you are up against.
"Tranmere gave a really good account of themselves and manager Ronnie Moore has got them going well in their own league."
Tranmere boss Ronnie Moore:
"We are better than we showed tonight. No-one expected us to win but we would have liked to have put in a better performance.
"Even though Villa are struggling in the Premier League, they have got quality all over the place."
- 22 Guzan
- 29 Stevens (Holman - 67' )
- 30 Lichaj
- 32 Baker
- 34 Lowton
- 07 Ireland
- 16 Delph Booked
- 25 Bannan Booked
- 31 Herd (Burke - 76' )
- 09 Bent
- 26 Weimann (N'Zogbia - 71' )
- 01 Given
- 37 Williams
- 10 N'Zogbia
- 35 Johnson
- 14 Holman
- 23 Delfouneso
- 36 Burke
- 01 fon Williams
- 02 Holmes Booked
- 04 Taylor Booked (Kay - 65' )
- 14 Bakayogo
- 21 Gibson
- 06 Palmer
- 07 Thompson (Bell-Baggie - 67' )
- 08 Wallace
- 10 Robinson (Harrison - 76' )
- 09 Cassidy
- 26 Akpa Akpro
- 33 Mooney
- 19 Kay
- 12 Harrison
- 15 Kirby
- 17 Power
- 16 Stockton
- 22 Bell-Baggie