Harrison Biggins’ second half header was enough for Rovers to claim their first three points under new head coach Danny Schofield after a 1-0 win at home to Gillingham.
Biggins headed home on the hour mark to ensure that Schofield’s men got back to winning ways in Sky Bet League Two against their manager’s former Millwall teammate and his Gillingham side at the Eco-Power Stadium.
Schofield named an unchanged side to the one that lost 1-0 on Tuesday night to Stevenage, with a much improved display encouraging him to stick with the initial XI from midweek.
It was a steady opening 10 minutes to the game with neither side really able to get a clear stamp on proceedings, with only Elkan Baggett preventing Kyle Knoyle from getting on to the end of a neat through ball from Luke Molyneux after Rovers’ first real passing move.
Rovers did get a shot off on 15 minutes though, with George Miller laying one off to Biggins on the edge of the area, only to see Ryan Law block behind for a corner, which would then see Tom Anderson’s header on target clawed away by Glenn Morris in the visiting goal.
The home side were in the ascendancy and could’ve gone in front from a swift counter a couple minutes later.
Superb play from Ro-Shaun Williams fed Knoyle down the right, with the Rovers’ right back driving forward and finding his fellow full back James Maxwell, though he was unable to keep his effort down from a right angle.
This sparked the visitors into life and Alex MacDonald’s header from a Jordan Green cross out on the right was a Jonathan Mitchell save away from sending them ahead.
Mitchell had to be alert moments later as miscommunication between him and Williams from a goal kick almost resulted in Scott Kashket nicking the ball away from him, but he did just enough to force the former Wycombe man wide.
Maxwell had another chance for Rovers just shy of the half hour mark, with a free kick near the corner flag finding its way to him, only to see it blocked well by a Gillingham defender in the centre of the goal.
The visitors would have the last chance of the opening 45 minutes in a rare attack inside the Rovers’ half, with Law seeing the ball come to him on the left hand side of the box, but his drive across the face of goal would fly past the far post.
Rovers started brightly in the second half as they attacked the Black Bank, with Molyneux beating his man down the right before cutting inside and shooting on goal, only to see it blocked once more.
Biggins would be the next to go close with a free kick from all of 30-yards, it was fairly central but only the fingertips of Morris would deny him, tipping it onto the cross bar, though the referee would instead point for a goal kick.
Rovers were looking the most likely to go ahead once again with a neat chip over the top by Williams nodded back by Miller to Ben Close who took a touch before firing on goal from close range, only to see Robbie McKenzie block behind for a corner.
The visitor's first chance of the second half was the closest of a frantic opening 10 minutes to it.
MacDonald’s free kick over on the left was headed back by Hakeeb Adelakun towards Baggett, whose looping header was tipped over well by the retreating Mitchell.
It wouldn’t be long before Rovers were on the attack again however, with Maxwell’s burst down the left again creating space for his team mates, this time Molyneux again would be denied from range as another left-footed effort stung the palms of Morris.
On the hour though, the dead lock was finally broken and it would be yet another swift Rovers attack that would finally break the resilience of the Gills’ back line.
Rovers worked it down the right with Williams finding Knoyle further forward. His touch and cross was met in the middle by Biggins, whose header was beyond the despairing dive of Morris to put Schofield’s men in front.
This spurred Rovers on even more and it could’ve been two a couple of minutes later as Miller flicked on a Molyneux free kick from the right on goal, though this time Morris would claim.
Down the other end, Mitchell would save well again from an Adelakun drive from the right, palming away for a corner which Rovers would deal with comfortably, before another half chance from the visitors saw McKenzie only manage a chance from distance which the Rovers number one would claim with ease.
Rovers were all out in search of the all important second goal, and they almost grabbed it through substitute Max Woltman.
He was first to the loose ball after a half cleared Knoyle cross, however, the Liverpool loanee would see Morris down well to his left to tip the ball away from the advancing Miller who would’ve surely scored but for the touch of the Gills’ keeper.
Ultimately it would not matter however, as Rovers held on despite a flurry of late Gillingham attacks that resulted in little else, and Schofield would see his side collect their first win under his stewardship.
Rovers switch their focus to the Emirates FA Cup next time out, as they host National League North leaders King’s Lynn Town in the first round proper on Saturday, November 5.