After starting the game on the bench the former Burnley man managed to be in the right place at the right time to give Bolton victory when a draw looked a likely outcome.
But even though Rovers came away from the game empty handed, Appleton still saw enough to be encouraged by his side.
Speaking to reporters after the game, he said: "Obviously Bolton are on a good little run at the minute and sometimes you go on a purple patch like that and things go for you," he said.
"But I certainly believe that the harder you work the luckier you become.
"I think that if we continue to play with the commitment, the effort and the attitude that we showed it was certainly a performance that sums me up as a person as well as a manager.
"I need 11 players who enter the field of play wanting to put in the type of performance that they did tonight."