ROVERS raised both their performance and energy levels against Shrewsbury Town to record their most impressive victory of the season so far.  

From minute one Rovers swarmed around the Shrews and in truth, beat the visitors at their own game courtesy of a terrific display both with and without the ball.

They were thoroughly deserving of the victory which hauls them right back in to automatic promotion contention after a festive period full of frustrations and dropped points.

The performance was made all the more impressive given Rovers were without so many first-team players and means they have now matched the 15 game unbeaten run the visitors enjoyed earlier in the season.

Not even a controversial refereeing call could deny Tony Mowbray’s side who came up with the goods when it mattered most.

Their experienced players came to the fore and while the penalty decision, which allowed Shrewsbury to level 10 minutes before the break, was galling, it actually helped invigorated the home crowd who would roar their side to victory.

These are three points that should help revitalise a Rovers side who were below their best in the previous four league outings which brought with them six points.

That could quite easily have been 12, given the missed opportunities, but such was the determination in the dressing room, they weren’t going to let this opportunity go begging.

They pinned Shrewsbury back with an energy and doggedness which typified a real team ethic and allowed them to be on the front foot from the first whistle to the last.

Danny Graham forced a save from Dean Henderson within the opening five minutes, before the Manchester United loanee pulled off an outstanding one-handed stop to deny Bradley Dack moments later.

So it was no surprise that it took something special for Rovers to take the lead, Charlie Mulgrew curling a 13th minute free-kick over the wall and with the precision to find the bottom corner from 25 yards.

Rovers pressed for a second but were pegged back when referee John Brooks, rather than his linesman who would have had the better view, pointed to the spot after Carlton Morris went down under the challenge of David Raya. The Spaniard’s protests changed little, with Jon Nolan sending him the wrong to make it 1-1.

The visitors finished the half the stronger after what would turn out to be their best spell of the match, with Rovers happy to hear the half-time whistle.

But from the moment Graham made it 2-1, sweeping the ball home after Dack hit the post, Rovers regained full control.

Adam Armstrong went close to scoring with almost his first touch, denied on the line by Henderson, before the cushion did become two goals as Rovers made the game safe.

The referee eventually gave a penalty after Dominic Samuel was flattened in the box, Mulgrew stepping up to calmly roll the ball in to the net to make it 3-1.

And Rovers were the more likely to add some added gloss to the scoreline in the latter stages before settling for their two goal win.

Mowbray’s men found the performance they needed in the boss’ 50th game in charge, marking the occasion with the biggest victory of the season.

But having remained unbeaten against the teams in the top 10 of the division, the tests for Rovers lie in matches against the lesser likes in the division.

Though play like this and they will take some stopping, whoever the opposition.  They showed they are a force to be reckoned with, now it’s time to back that up and seal the deal in the remaining 20 games.