Darren Ferguson hailed his patched up side’s spirit after they claimed a hard earned 2-1 win over Portsmouth.
Rovers, who were without John Marquis, Alfie May and James Coppinger among others, raced into a two-goal lead after just five minutes courtesy of a first goal of the season for Liam Mandeville and a Matt Clarke own goal.
They had to negotiate a nervy second half after an inexplicable Ian Lawlor error allowed the visitors back into the game.
But, after Dion Donohue was sent off for Pompey, Lawlor redeemed himself by producing a superb save in stoppage time to deny Jamal Lowe.
“It was a big three points and a very important victory for us,” said Ferguson.
“The players showed a lot spirit. There are different ways of winning games and we really had to dig in at times.
“I’m pleased for the players because we had to really dig in and had to come up with a formation that still had an attacking threat to it.
“The first 20 minutes was outstanding and the first goal was a fantastic goal, it was just what we’d worked on.
“Their goal changed the game a little bit but we changed the shape, dug deep and I think we deserved the victory.
“We could’ve kept the ball a little bit better against ten men but I thought it was a really spirited performance.
“The main thing I was pleased about was the toughness we showed to get over the line and get the three points.
“I think we showed a resilience to get the right result. The save at the end proved that.
“That’s what you need at times, that determination to get over the line. It’s not always going to be pretty football. Tonight was about the result against a team going very well.”
Ferguson reserved special praise for Lawlor.
“The goalkeeper’s won us the game,” he said.
“He’s made an incredible save. It’s poor marking, we cannot mark like that in the box at any stage and maybe a bit of panic had set in.”