Rovers FT: Blackburn 1 Doncaster 0

Rovers' James Husband  and ex-Keepmoat man Tommy Spurr battle for the ball
Rovers' James Husband and ex-Keepmoat man Tommy Spurr battle for the ball

A second half rally by Doncaster Rovers failed to save a point at Blackburn.

Paul Dickov has wielded the axe as promised both on and off the field with David Syers, James Harper and Billy Paynter probably not the last to leave the club before the end of January.

The theme continued as Dickov took his side to Blackburn this afternoon, looking for a change in the run of form which has seen Rovers take just two points from the last 21 available.

The particularly poor defeat to Stevenage enraged Dickov and left him in no mood to give second chances as seven changes were made, just one because of injury.

Certainly from the early stages, it did not look as though the result pattern would shift at Ewood Park.

Blackburn were in control from the start as Rovers were forced back into their own half.

Marshall proved a particularly threatening outlet on the left up against the deputising McCullough.

The hosts had a couple of early chances from distance with Marshall lashing well over from the edge of the box while Cairney connected well with a Gestede knock-down but sliced his shot wide.

On-loan Hull midfielder Cairney really should have given Blackburn the lead on nine minutes.

Marshall galloped to the byline and cut back to Cairney, who side-footed over with the goal gaping.

Blackburn looked to have a strong shout for a penalty on 23 minutes, undone by the overly dramatic way Williamson tumbled in the box.

Khumalo certainly seemed to have his hand on the midfielder’s shoulder just inside the box but referee Simpson gave no more than a lingering glance.

Rovers’ first real attempt of the match did not come until the 28th minute though they had gradually crept their way into the game by this point.

Forrester, operating off lone striker Brown, brought the ball down 20 yards out but rushed his shot and scuffed the ball well wide.

Husband - back in the side for the first time since September due to injury - was lucky to only earn a yellow card after a late, studs-up challenge on Dann.

Turnbull produced a superb stop at full stretch after Marshall cut inside and lashed a shot from 25 yards that seemed destined to creep inside the post.

The hosts grabbed the opening goal on the stroke of half time.

Khumalo misjudged a long ball allowing Rhodes to gallop clear and pick out GESTEDE who rose above Meite to head down past Turnbull.

Lowe almost added a second in stoppage time as he drilled a half volley from a clearance narrowly over.

HALF-TIME

Blackburn..........1

Rovers................0

There was to be some change in the second half as Rovers had the majority of the play, with the hosts pushed onto the back foot.

Rovers began to use the wide areas better with Coppinger in particular a lively presence.

Though things were coming together well outside the area, there remained little spark within the final third.

Meite met a rare Rovers corner but could not turn the ball on target.

Blackburn showed their threat on the counter as Rhodes latched onto a long clearance and forced a decent save from Turnbull.

Dickov switched personnel and formation to give Rovers more presence up front, sending on Peterson for Forrester to set up a standard 4-4-2 while Duffy replaced Peterson. When passages of play did work for Rovers it came through short passing triangles.

Wellens and Coppinger forged a decent chance, linking up close to the byline only for the latter to be off-balance as he shot allowing for a simple block.

Cotterill was added to the mix as Dickov looked for service for the big central pairing but it did not prove forthcoming until late in the game.

A pair of fine saves from Robinson kept Blackburn ahead as the game entered stoppage time.

First, he parried away a fine close range header from Peterson from a Duffy corner.

And second later he made a fine low stop as Wellens struck first time a De Val ball over the top on the angle.

Changes may have come in personnel but the final result was worryingly familiar for Rovers.