ROTHERHAM United slumped to a fifth successive defeat and had debutant Guy Branston sent off on a night to forget.
The experienced Bradford City defender, back from a loan spell at the club where he won two promotions under Ronnie Moore a decade ago, was given a straight red card for a two-footed challenge early in the second half, scuppering the Millers’ comeback hopes after they had battled back from 3-0 down to make it 3-2.
Fielding another newcomer in left-back Jon Harley, on loan from Notts County, they fell behind on 10 minutes when Scott McGleish prodded home.
Lee Brown clattered the crossbar for Rovers from 25 yards before they took a stranglehold with two goals in two minutes around the half-hour mark.
Johnny Mullins impeded Scott Rendell in the area and McGleish stepped up to fire in his second of the night from the penalty spot. As Rotherham were digesting that blow, Matt Gill swung in a free-kick for Cian Bolger to head home at the far post.
Jason Taylor reduced the arrears on 37 minutes, meeting a cross from Lewis Grabban with a firsttime shot into the far corner.
The goal spurred Andy Scott’s men on and they pulled another one back seven minutes after the restart when Danny Schofield rattled an angled shot in off a post.
But just as they looked poised to strike again, Branston was dismissed on 65 minutes and Rovers took advantage.
Brown fired in two minutes later for 4-2 and substitute Joe Anyinsah’s late goal from an impossible angle sealed a miserable night.
Bristol Rovers: Bevan; Woodards, Bolger, Sawyer, Brown, Stanley, Gill, Campbell, McGleish (Anyinsah, 80) , Rendell, Harrold. Unused substitutes: Smith, Richards, Zebroski, Norburn.
Rotherham United: Warrington; Mullins, Harley, Raines, Branston, Schofield (Marshall, 62), Taylor (Pringle, 73), Harrison, Evans, Revell, Grabban. Unused substitutes: Logan, Tonge, Warne.
Referee: A Woolmer (Northamptonshire).