Darren Ferguson singled Liam Mandeville out for praise after the win over Exeter City.
Mandeville headed home an equalising goal three minutes after coming off the bench at St James Park, then provided the passes for both John Marquis’ two strikes which sealed the 3-1 win.
Ferguson said: “Liam changed the game really. He was excellent and clinical, scoring one and setting up two. He was without a shadow of a doubt the difference.
“He has taken a lot of confidence out of the past few games because he has done really well, and quite clearly he has won us the game – thought it was of course two great finishes from John Marquis.”
Ferguson was delighted to send the 332 travelling supporters home happy, although he felt Rovers were not at their best prior to the final 20 minutes.
He said “We took a hell of a following, and I’m delighted for them. The players know exactly what I feel about that performance. I’m just pleased we managed to dig out a win because that is the most important thing, but until Liam came on we were not up to the standards I expect.
“We didn’t function as a team, credit to Exeter – they are a really good footballing team. They were probably the better team.
“But, credit to my players, we can’t play brilliantly every time but we have dug out a result. That is key, as over the course of the season every team challenging for where we want to be will have to dig out results like this. That is a real positive.”