John Turner celebrated his first start for ten matches by getting the winning goal to ease the pressure on struggling Cambridge United.
The youngster was in the right place when Cambridge caught Bristol Rovers cold just 49 seconds into the second half.
Goalkeeper Kevin Miller could only palm a cross from Dan Chillingworth into the path of Turner who knocked the ball back past him from close range.
There was a long time for Cambridge to defend the lead as they searched for their first league victory for almost two months.
Inspired by the experienced centre-back partnership of Andy Duncan and Warren Goodhind they managed to keep out a Rovers attack that forced ten corners in the second half.
The visitors created their best chances during a low-key first half but, crucially, managed to squander all of them.
John Anderson sent a header skimming over the crossbar on the half-hour and, two minutes later, following more good work from right-winger Ali Gibb, Dave Savage hit the post from five yards out.
Junior Agogo was the only player to really threaten a well-drilled home defence, but they were too good for him during the tense period before the final whistle.
Goalkeeper John Ruddy pulled off a brilliant save from the striker in the 87th minute and, when he raced into the box two minutes from time, a perfectly timed tackle from Goodhind stopped him.
The U's attack, which has operated fitfully doing their poor start to the season, was able to take little pressure off the defence, although Chillingworth forced a good save from Miller with an overhead kick early in the second half.