Doncaster Rovers 1 Carlisle United 0
But there was no doubt that Doncaster deserved their win after forcing the pace for most of the match.
The home side dominated in the first half but could not find the killer punch to match their determined approach work.
Richie Wellens and Brian Stock ran the game for Rovers in midfield, but when the home side's attacks approached the Carlisle penalty area they were met by stern resistance.
Centre-backs Danny Livesey and Peter Murphy were outstanding at the back for the Cumbrians, who also had Zigor Aranalde in excellent form at left back.
Wellens had a goalbound volley deflected past the post in the seventh minute as Doncaster set the pattern in a one-sided first period.
Carlisle seldom threatened the home goal but Doncaster, despite vast amounts of possession, were unable to land a shot on target themselves.
Paul Green skied a 12th minute chance and Stock fired high and wide a couple of minutes later.
Wellens charged through the middle on a super solo run in the 39th minute but his terrific goalbound effort ricocheted off Murphy for a corner.
Wellens did get the ball in the net a couple of minutes later with a well-struck volley but the whistle had already gone for a spot of pushing.
Carlisle came into the game more in the second half and Simon Hackney missed a great chance when he fired wide with only Neil Sullivan to beat in the 49th minute.
But Doncaster continued to press with James Coppinger and Jason Price both having efforts saved before they finally made a breakthrough.
It came from a free-kick from Green in the 84th minute which led to an almighty goal-mouth scramble with James Hayter getting the final touch from Stephen Roberts' overhead kick.
Aranalde made a valiant attempt to keep the ball out but it crossed the line to the delight of the home fans.
Carlisle piled on the pressure in a bid to fight back in the closing stages and it needed a splendid save by Neil Sullivan to prevent Joe Garner from equalising with a cracking 20-yarder deep into injury time.