Darren Ferguson hailed Rovers' battling spirit in what he termed a much needed win at Bristol Rovers.
Niall Mason's first half penalty was the difference between the two sides at the Memorial Stadium.
And Rovers showed excellent resolve in the second half as they held on for a victory which lifted them to 14th in League One.
"It was a result we needed," Ferguson said. "It was a very important game.
"Looking at the league table before the match, we knew we could move up a right few positions and that's what we've done.
"It's a tough place to come, the pitch is horrible, the atmosphere can be real intimidating here because the fans are very good.
"The first half I felt we controlled most of it. The shape worked really well.
"Second half became more difficult but against the wind and we couldn't get out.
"We dug in and ground out a result.
"When you come to place like this where they've got a very good home record, that's what you need to do.
"I was pleased first half we did most of the things I wanted them to do.
"And second half they got on top and we had to dig in.
"I thought we could have killed them off when we had one or two breaks.
"But we did what we needed to do, got a break or two which we were definitely due.
"It's a very, very good win for us."
Ferguson confirmed James Coppinger had been fit enough to play but did not travel with the Rovers boss opting to keep him fresh for the post-Christmas double header at the Keepmoat.
Matty Blair should be fit enough to be among the substitutes for the Boxing Day visit of Northampton Town.