Darren Ferguson admitted a tactical switch was needed to undo struggling Notts County in a win which took Doncaster Rovers to the top of League Two.
Andy Williams headed home on the hour at Meadow Lane to move Rovers back on top on goal difference after both Plymouth Argyle and Carlisle United drew.
Rovers endured a frustrating first half as they struggled to break down a workhorse County side, only for a formation change at the break to open up space.
“We changed things at half time,” said Ferguson said.
“They matched us up in the first half with the diamond midfield, which I thought they may do. I wanted a bit more width. I felt it made a bit of a difference. The goal came from that.
“It was just a battle, winning second balls, and we had to find a way of getting more control.”
Chances were few and far between in the first half as the hosts stifled Rovers.
Switching formations at the break, Rovers found much more space and got the goal when Rowe clipped in a cross from the byline for Williams to head in.
Matty Blair hit the post moments later and Liam Mandeville also went close.
Notts County: Loach, Richards, Hollis, Duffy, Dickinson, Tootle (Laing 65), Thompson (Oliver 66), Milsom, Campbell, Stead (Collins 86), Forte. Unused substitutes: Collin, Smith, Oliver, Hewitt, Audel.
Doncaster Rovers: Marosi, Alcock, Baudry (Wright 46), Butler, Mason, Houghton, Blair, Rowe (Middleton 79), Mandeville, Marquis, Williams. Unused substitutes: Jones, Keegan, Calder, Beestin, Longbottom.
Referee: D Drysdale (Lincolnshire).