The striker came off the bench and slotted home in the 83rd minute at Craven Cottage to secure three points which eases the pressure on Martin Jol.
The west London club had not won a league game since their opening-day victory over Sunderland, but Bent insists he was always confident his side would respond.
“It is massive to hold on to the lead,” said Bent.
“Today is a building block, we go from there and move on. I am always confident, I know the quality of players we have and I know the position in the league we are in is false.”
Meanwhile, manager Jol could not hide his delight at seeing his side secure their second win of the campaign.
“Relieved, emotional, whatever you want to call it, we needed those three points for sure,” said Jol.
“We realise we didn’t play our best match but there is a lot of relief because we needed the points.
“We couldn’t keep the ball and couldn’t pass. Although they looked better than us, they had a lot of chances from set pieces. For all their pressure they only had a few chances.
“They could have a penalty and we could have had one as well.
“We need wins and wins will give us more stability. I can cope with the pressure. The players realise that and, if the manager can cope with it, they can cope as well.
“Today we showed a great team spirit and fought like lions.”
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