Wakefield moved away from the foot of the Super League table as two tries from Ryan Atkins helped them to victory in a game that made up in excitement what it lacked in technical excellence.
The Wildcats made it hard for themselves with a string of handling mistakes.
"We went the difficult route in the second half," said their relieved coach, John Kear. "We kept wanting to give ourselves tackling practice."
Wakefield knew that the wrong result would put them in last place, but the way they started made them look a far better team than that. They were certainly too sharp for the insipid Rovers as they took an early eight-point lead thanks to a try scored after a long period of pressure by Atkins from Oliver Wilkes's pass. Danny Brough put over an immaculate conversion from the touch line.
The Robins were fumbling their way through the game, but suddenly came right back into it with a brilliant try. Daniel Fitzhenry was penned in on the touch line when he took Chaz I'Anson's pass and his clever chip and re-gather gave him the room to release the supporting Scott Murrell.
It turned out to be an isolated moment of encouragement in the first half. Brough and Murrell both kicked a penalty before the interval, but Wakefield struck a more significant blow when Sam Obst was awarded a penalty try after being cleaned out as he was about to touch down another Brough kick.
Jamie Rooney's knock-on helped Rovers begin to exert some concerted pressure after the break, but it took a delicate piece of work from a surprising source to give them their breakthrough.
With nothing else on near the line, their imposing prop, Michael Vella, put in a little kick and followed up to touch down.
On the hour, they got their noses in front for the only time, capitalising on Wakefield mistakes to build pressure and score through Jake Webster. Back came the Wildcats, with Brough's pass giving Atkins, an impressive centre for Wakefield, his second and then putting over the conversion to put his side back in front.
Wakefield squandered a try-scoring chance that would have clinched the game and kept inviting Rovers to punish their mistakes, but somehow hung onto their lead.
"It was a very average game of rugby league," said Rovers' Justin Morgan. "It was a brainless display at times and we had ample opportunities to put the game away."
Wakefield: Grix, Gleeson, Henderson, Atkins, George, Rooney, Brough, Watene, Obst, Moore, Ferres, MacGillivray, Ferguson. Substitutes: Sculthorpe, Bibey, Wilkes, Murphy.
Hull KR: Briscoe, Fitzhenry, Jake Webster, Walker, Steel, I'Anson, James Webster, Vella, Cockayne, Aizue, Newton, Galea, Murrell. Substitutes: Crossman, Mills, J Netherton, K Netherton.
Referee: B Thaler (Wakefield).
l Wigan full-back Richie Mathers will face a disciplinary hearing today after being sent off for a reckless tackle on Matt King during Warrington's 32-20 victory on Saturday.Reuse content