“It was a hard one – it was unbelievably difficult to get the three points tonight on the back of two away defeats and this incredible run of five away games on the spin,” said Clough.
“It was very important to stop the rot and to stop it with three points.
“Rochdale are a very formidable side here at home and were 11 unbeaten here before tonight. But we made it difficult for them to create chances and we didn't make mistakes.
“I thought we had enough situations in the first half to get a goal and didn't. A couple of (Rhys) Oates' shots, if they had been a yard or two either side of the keeper they're in. But everything seemed to be straight at him.
“But he turned provider in the last 10 minutes.
“It was about time we went into the last 10 minutes away from home at 0-0 and not chasing the game.
“If you are nice and solid and you that clean sheet intact you are always liable to nick one.”Clough made four changes and went from a back four to a back three for the second half.
“We changed the formation to start with. We felt we had to having conceded six goals in the last two on the road,” he said.
“At half-time I thought we needed more of a threat so we pulled Hawks (Oli Hawkins) back and made it a nice solid three and Bish (keeper Nathan Bishop) wasn't overly extended.
“We could do it better but we did manage to keep them at arm's length for the last 10 minutes.”Stags now head for struggling Oldham Athletic on Saturday and Clough said: “We still need to be at full throttle. I told them I don't care about performances now with 11 games to go.
“Earlier in the season you look for patterns and performances.
“This time of the season you win any how, any way. Pitches are difficult and three points is all that matters.”
On goal hero Bowery, he added: “Jordan has been a bit disappointed to be left out as he was involved in that excellent run we had.
“It does his chances a world of good of being involved on Saturday.
“It was back to basics a little bit tonight in terms of being solid and making sure we got that clean sheet. Then you rely on your strikers to get a goal.”