John Ward described the 2-0 victory over promotion-chasing Exeter as the best win since he took charge of Bristol Rovers for a second time in December.

Such has been the impact of the experienced manager that the Pirates, who were bottom of npower League Two when he was appointed, are now nine points clear of the drop zone.

Ward said: "This was the best result since I came back here because Exeter were in very good form and we had to keep our discipline to beat them.

"We have played three of the leading sides recently and beaten two of them, which is a very good sign. It shows how far we have come.

"We can now go to Chesterfield on Saturday just a couple of points behind them and looking to move further towards mid-table.

"For us to play that well at home in front of a 7,000 crowd was great. Hopefully, we can use the performance as a springboard to even better things because I keep on challenging the players to work hard and improve.

"The first goal was a pot-shot the goalkeeper should have saved, but the second was a real cracker that showed the confidence developing in the team."

After 23 minutes Rovers midfielder Oliver Norburn hit a low shot straight at Artur Krysiak from 25 yards, but the goalkeeper somehow allowed the ball to pass between his legs and trickle over the line.

Krysiak had no chance with Lee Brown's stunning left-footed drive from the corner of the box eight minutes from time, which saw the ball rocket into the roof of the net. Promotion-chasing Exeter had plenty of possession but were unable to create any clear-cut chances.

Grecians boss Paul Tisdale failed to attend the post-match press conference after a defeat that damaged his club's promotion hopes.