Rovers opened 2023 in perfect fashion with a 2-1 win over on-form Carlisle United.
James Maxwell scored his first goal for the club with Kyle Hurst doubling the advantage to see Rovers on their way to a second home win in three days.
It was nothing more than what was deserved on an afternoon where they showed tremendous energy and battling qualities both on and off the ball to ensure Carlisle never found their rhythm, until a late goal from Kristian Dennis gave them hope.
Danny Schofield kept faith with the side that started the win over Rochdale three days earlier, with Adam Clayton’s return to the bench the only change to the match day 18.
Rovers started the game with great tenacity, forcing the visitors back from the first whistle.
And they made it count just five minutes in. Maxwell pounced on a slack touch from the Carlisle full back on the back post and drilled home low from a tight angle.
Rovers remained on the front foot with Hurst robbing the ball on the edge of the box only to see his strike blocked. And Charlie Seaman drew a save from Carlisle keeper Tomas Holy from just inside the area.
Work closing down in the middle of the park was paying dividends for Rovers and ensured that Carlisle struggled to get going over the opening half hour.
In contrast, Rovers continued to threaten, particularly via the wide areas. Luke Molyneux fed Ben Close, who weaved into the box and looked to chip Holy, with the ball bouncing off the crossbar.
The visitors began to find somewhat of a foothold in the game as the break neared. Owen Moxon clipped the outside of the post with a low shot after a smart turn inside the box.
The game became a little scrappy in the run up to half time, but Rovers were comfortable in their defensive efforts.
Molyneux threatened early in the second half as he smashed a volley from a half-cleared corner that was blocked close to the line.
Carlisle went close to an equaliser ten minutes into the second half when a Moxon free kick from deep bounced through a crowd of bodies and narrowly wide.
Hurst should have doubled the advantage on the hour mark after reacting quickest to Holy’s parry from a Maxwell shot but put his effort over the bar.
But there was no mistake from the young winger on 67 minutes. Harrison Biggins sent George Miller through with a fine through ball, with the striker rounding Holy only to be forced wide. But he played the ball back across goal where Hurst slammed in from ten yards to extend Rovers’ lead.
Rovers looked comfortable in their lead but there was to be a nervy finish when substitute Tobi Sho-Silva flicked on a long ball forward and Dennis drilled home.
Carlisle piled on the pressure in the remaining minutes and Jonathan Mitchell was forced into a good save when Dennis smashed a volley on goal.
But Rovers managed the remaining minutes professionally to see out the win.
Rovers: Mitchell, Knoyle, Williams, Anderson, Seaman, Biggins, Close, Maxwell, Molyneux (Woltman 79), Hurst (Barlow 86), Miller (Agard 86). Subs not used: Jones, Long, Clayton, Ravenhill.
Carlisle: Holy, Senior, Feeney, Huntington, Mellish, Armer, Guy (Devitt 82), Moxon, Gibson (Harris 46), Stretton (Sho-Silva 26), Dennis. Subs not used: Kelly, Hilton, Whelan, Carr.