Gillingham boss Martin Allen admitted his League Two leaders had been pushed all the way by struggling Bristol Rovers.
After watching brilliant first half goals from Chris Whelpdale and Deon Burton win a game of few chances, Allen was full of praise for the home side.
"I thought Bristol Rovers played really well," he said. "They were cheered off by their fans at half-time, despite being two goals down, and that says everything about their performance.
"I rang the Rovers chairman when I was out of work last year and pleaded with him to let me become manager because I like the club and the fans. There is something special about the atmosphere here,"
Gillingham grabbed a third minute advantage when Whelpdale turned inside the box to find the top corner with a rasping shot from 15 yards.
Burton matched that effort in the 44th minute, cleverly lifting the ball over defender Garry Kenneth before blasting home a fierce volley from eight yards.
Allen said: "Whelpdale has that sort of goal in his locker and it was a magnificent strike.
"Burton also produced a moment of great quality. He has played at a higher level, but I gave him a chance when no one wanted him and he has repaid me by leading the line really well."