Ian Thomas-Moore struck the only goal of the game to give Tranmere a priceless away win at Gillingham.
The result saw Rovers close the gap to safety to just goal difference and put them only three points behind 16th placed Hartlepool.
The team captain struck midway through the second half after the home side had earlier hit the bar and gone close through Chris Palmer, while Gareth Edds had gone close to opening the scoring for Tranmere after coming on as a substitute. There were nervous moments late on as Gillingham looked for an equaliser but the defence did enough to keep a clean sheet.
Les Parry made three changes to the side that started against Oldham. Ian Goodison missed out through injury while Ash Taylor moved into midfield, meaning places in the centre of defence for Marlon Broomes and Chris McCready - his first appearance for the Club since returning on loan from Northampton Town. Loanee Marvin Sordell was selected up front in place of Terry Gornell while Chris Shuker missed out as Rovers reverted to a 4-3-3 formation.
Craig Curran sent the game's first shot over the bar from outside the area on six minutes while a probing run from Danny Jackman brought a corner at the other end.
Ian Thomas-Moore missed from around 25 yards on 13 minutes and McCready blocked a shot from Curtis Weston before Luke Rooney headed onto the roof of the net.
Rovers were forced into an early substitution when Ash Taylor went off injured and was replaced by Gareth Edds.
Luke Daniels saved Andy Barcham's high shot on 25 minutes and moments later Sordell shot wide from the edge of the area as both teams went in search of the opening goal.
Edds shot straight at Alan Julian on 27 minutes while Daniels produced a fine save to keep out Chris Palmer's effort six minutes later.
Sordell volleyed over after good work from McCready from a Rovers free kick four minutes before half time, the final chance of the half.
Efforts from Curran and Sordell failed to test Julian early in the second half, and on 48 minutes Rovers survived a scare when Rooney turned met Barcham's well but saw his shot crash against the bar and rebound to safety.
Appeals for a penalty were turned down on 52 minutes when John Welsh went down when running for a ball from Thomas-Moore and the midfielder fired high over the bar three minutes later.
Edds created a chance for himself before forcing Julian into a save on 57 minutes with his right foot, and the Australian midfielder again tested the keeper from a McLaren corner three minutes later, this time Julian blocking a header.
Rovers finally found the breakthrough on 68 minutes. A shot from Curran hit the post, the striker sent the rebound back towards goal and Thomas-Moore turned the ball in from close range to the delight of the travelling support.
The home side pressed forward for an equaliser and made two quick substitutions. After Shaleum Logan blocked a shot from Barcham, Daniels was relieved to watch the follow up effort from Palmer go just past the post.
At the opposite end Sordell shot straight at Julian and the striker was replaced soon after by Gornell.
Though the home side searched for a way back into the game in the closing stages, the closest they came were shots from Dennis Oli and Josh Gowling that went over the bar as Rovers picked up all three points.
Gillingham: Julian, Fuller, Gowling, Dennehy, Palmer, Rooney (Oli 68), Bentley (Miller 70), Jackman, Barcham, Weston (Walker 82), Jackson. Substitutes not used: Royce, Maher, Wynter, Payne.
Tranmere: Daniels, Logan, McCready, Broomes, Bakayogo, Welsh, Taylor (Edds 24), McLaren, Curran, Sordell (Gornell 77), Thomas-Moore. Substitutes not used: Collister, Cresswell, Barnett, Mahon, Shuker.
Referee: Roger East
Yellow cards: Curran (17), Sordell (43), Weston (62), Bentley (71), Gornell (80), Dennehy (80), Daniels (89), McLaren (90+2)