NORWICH City away, Derby County at home, Millwall away, Bolton Wanderers away, Wigan Athletic away, Blackpool at home, Norwich at home, Brentford at home, Birmingham City away, and now Nottingham Forest at home.

That’s 10 times this season Blackburn Rovers have failed to take three points after going in front.


And if you are looking for one of the major reasons why Rovers, bar from a brief couple of weeks, have not graced the top six then that statistic is it.

And that is despite the fact they have a 35-goal strike-partnership in Rudy Gestede and Jordan Rhodes.

Only Watford’s Troy Deeney and Odion Ighalo, with 20 each, have scored more in the Championship in 2014-15.

And the problem facing Rovers is it is only going to get harder next season as, on this evidence, at least one of their prolific strikers is destined for a bigger stage.

Whereas the 18-goal Rhodes was virtually anonymous, Gestede was nothing short of magnificent, his hat-trick of headers taking his tally for the term up to 17 in the league and 19 in all competitions.

The towering targetman looked every inch the Premier League forward as did Michail Antonio, the game’s other outstanding performer, for Forest.

As with everything at Ewood Park, Venky’s will have the final say if Gestede, Rhodes or anyone else from Gary Bowyer’s squad are to be sold in the summer.

But unless there are sales, there appears to be no chance that the club’s embargo for failing Financial Fair Play will be lifted.

That will leave Rovers boss Bowyer to scour the loan and free transfer market for the key additions it is clear he needs.

Not for the first time this season his side were, in the first half at least, overrun by opponents with more power, more pace and more movement.

Rovers’ outnumbered and outplayed midfield, the excellent Craig Conway aside, were pedestrian in comparison.

But in spite of that, this was a match they still should have won.

On three occasions, thanks to Gestede and Conway, they had the lead and on three occasions they tossed it away.

Given Rovers’ dire financial position and given the restrictions imposed on the club by Financial Fair Play, there is logic in Bowyer’s policy of buying young players, improving them and then selling them on for a profit.

How much would Gestede, for example, go for now?

After 31 goals in 49 starts it is not exaggerating to suggest 30 times more than the £200,000 Rovers paid Cardiff City for him in January last year.

But this largely youthful team Bowyer has built lacks leaders, players who would never accept losing one lead, let alone five, like they have done in the last two games.

However whereas at Birmingham in midweek Rovers’ inability to turn one point into three was down to their softness in both boxes, there was nothing wrong with their finishing – well, Gestede’s – here.

Instead it was slack pressing, marking, tracking and clearing at the other end of the field that cost them dear.

Make no mistake Forest should have been out of sight at the end of the opening period.

Simon Eastwood saved superbly from Henri Lansbury and Gary Gardner while Modou Barrow curled over when he should have scored.

Gestede, in contrast, was the epitome of ruthlessness.

He opened the scoring in the third minute when he closed down Eric Lichaj’s clearance and beat Karl Darlow to the ball and bravely headed it into the empty net.

And, after Antonio headed Forest level four minutes later, Gestede put Rovers back in front in the 35th minute with a bullet of a back-post header from one of many inviting Conway crosses.

But parity was restored on the stroke of half-time when Adam Henley backed off Antonio and he crossed for the criminally untracked Lansbury to fire first time past Eastwood. It was all too easy.

Having chased shadows for most of the first half, Rovers at last got to grips with Forest after the restart and Ben Marshall headed against the bar from a Conway cross.

But Gestede showed him out to do it in the 82nd minute when he rose highest to meet another Conway cross delivered deep to the back post.

That should have been that.

But Rovers allowed Forest to equalise for the third and final time in the 88th minute, Marshall’s woeful clearance dropping to Antonio and he did the rest from 25 yards.