Blackburn won only their second game of the season at fellow strugglers Fulham.
Paul Gallagher tapped home at the near post, while Brett Emerton shot wide and Zat Knight almost scored an own goal as Blackburn dominated early on.
Fulham's Tomasz Radzinski missed the target with only the keeper to beat and Brad Friedel brilliantly saved from Andy Cole after the break.
But Zat Knight was sent off for handball and Paul Dickov converted the penalty to seal the win for Rovers.
It was a much-needed win for Mark Hughes' team, who went into the match bottom of the table and with only two points on their travels previously this season.
But from the opening whistle they showed more determination than their opponents and are now only one point behind Fulham.
In truth it was a scrappy game, with too many misplaced passes and niggling fouls.
Fulham were guilty of consistently awful defending in the first-half and it was not until substitute Brian McBride joined Andy Cole up front in the second-half that they started to threaten at the other end.
With Luis Boa Morte injured, Chris Coleman opted to play Andy Cole as a lone striker and he cut an isolated figure for most of the game, desperate for Radzinski and Steed Malbranque to provide support.
Blackburn should have scored in the second minute but Emerton, sliding in at the far post, could only divert Dickov's low cross into the side netting.
But Gallagher made no mistake after 10 minutes, converting Steven Reid's drilled cross past Mark Crossley after Knight had failed to track his run towards the near post.
More hesitant defending allowed Emerton to shoot from inside the Fulham box minutes later but he could not keep his shot on target.
And Knight almost guided another teasing cross from Dickov into his own net as the home team struggled to come to terms with Blackburn's energetic start to the match.
Radzinski should have equalised for Fulham with their first clear chance of the game but, with only the keeper to beat after being played clean through, the Canadian striker pulled his shot wide.
Dickov was guilty of a glaring miss for Rovers midway through the half after more atrocious defending from Knight.
The defender tried to head clear a long ball up-field but mis-judged the flight and Dickov was through on goal.
The Scottish striker opted to shoot early but Crossley had come off his line and was able to made a good block.
Fulham did get behind the Blackburn defence after 57 minutes, but Lucas Neill put Cole's drilled cross out for a corner with two Cottagers players lurking.
Brad Friedel then made a great one-handed save to deny Cole after the Fulham skipper had shrugged off both Craig Short and Andy Todd.
But it was Rovers who scored the decisive second with 13 minutes left.
Knight deliberately handled as he attempted to dispossess Dickov and received his second yellow.
Edwin van der Sar, on for the injured Crossley, could do nothing to stop Dickov's penalty, which nestled in the corner.
Cole had opportunities to reduce the deficit but could find no way past Friedel.
Fulham: Crossley (Van der Sar 73), Volz, Knight, Rehman,
Bocanegra, Malbranque, Legwinski (McBride 66), Pembridge, Diop,
Subs Not Used: Hammond, Pearce, Rosenior.
Sent Off: Knight (76).
Booked: Diop, Knight.
Blackburn: Friedel, Neill, Short, Todd, Johansson (Matteo 90),
Reid, Ferguson, Tugay, Emerton, Dickov, Gallagher (Thompson 83).
Subs Not Used: Flitcroft, Pedersen, Enckelman.
Goals: Gallagher 10, Dickov 77 pen.
Ref: R Styles (Hampshire).