Adebayo Akinfenwa's patience has paid off according to Gillingham boss Peter Taylor after the striker netted twice in his side's 2-1 victory at 10-man Tranmere.
The former Northampton striker made his first start in the league since September 21 and scored either side of the break for the Gills - his first goals since August.
Akinfenwa's double was sandwiched by Jim McNulty's red card and while Ryan Lowe grabbed a late consolation for Rovers with his 14th goal of the season, they could not prevent the visitors winning their first game in four.
"It's lovely that it's finished and we've got three points, but we made awfully hard work of it," said Taylor.
"The effort was fantastic, we conceded a really bad goal that made it a very nervous finish and we've got to get better than that.
"Overall, I've got be pleased with the three points and we've just got to take our chances a bit more.
"To be fair he (Akinfenwa) has been first class all the time.
"He's been a touch frustrated that he hasn't started many matches, but he understands the situation when I first got here.
"Danny Kedwell carried on scoring goals every game so that's why he was first pick. I just felt at times it didn't suit them to play together.
"He's been ever so patient but he's been very, very professional and very, very determined in training so it was good for him to get that chance."
Akinfenwa's half-volley from just inside the box flew past Tranmere goalkeeper Owain Fon Williams just before half-time.
McNulty was then sent off 10 minutes after the restart for bringing down Cody McDonald 30 yards from goal as the last man and Akinfenwa got his second of the game in the 69th minute from close range.
Lowe did reduce the arrears for Tranmere after 77 minutes, but boss Ronnie Moore saw little to cheer.
"It was a tough night no doubt about it," said Moore. "I think if you put their two centre-halves in our team we win it, simple as that.
"If you can't defend you don't win games. We always looked like we were going to get a goal, but every time they went forward they looked like they were going to score.
"That's the disappointing thing for me and that's the way it's been for the last few weeks.
"We've got two guys (McNulty and Ash Taylor) who think they're footballers and they're centre-halves, their living is to go and head it go and kick and do the right things in the right areas and if you don't do that, that (losing) is what happens to the team.
"We're a match for anybody going forward, but I always say when we're attacking we're defending.
"We think we're (Franz) Beckenbauer and we're not and it's costing us dearly at the moment."