ROVERS celebrated promotion back to the Championship with a 2-1 final day win over Oxford United at packed Ewood Park.

A crowd of 27,600 packed into a sun-kissed stadium to watch the League One finale and celebrate a memorable season.

Darragh Lenihan’s first goal for Rovers set them on their way and although James Henry levelled for the visitors, substitute Jack Payne hit the winner for Tony Mowbray’s side.

The end of the game was marred by a pitch invasion prior to the final whistle by a minority of Rovers’ fans.

Once the playing surface was clear the referee quickly brought an end to proceedings and Rovers were able to celebrate on the pitch at full time with the League One runners-up trophy.

A crackling Ewood atmosphere greeted the teams and it made for a lively start to proceedings with both sides playing on the front foot.

Rovers created a couple of half chances for Danny Graham as they settled into the game but the striker couldn’t connect with either.

The breakthrough came on 13 minutes from an unlikely source. Defender Lenihan arrived at the back post to power home a header for his first goal for the club in his 88th appearance.

Oxford threatened sporadically with Malachi Napa and John Mousinho denied by David Raya but it was Rovers making most of the running.

Mowbray’s men were making real progress down the right with Dominic Samuel and Ryan Nyambe teaming up well together. The duo created space for Richie Smallwood to advance into the area and tee up Adam Armstrong but he was denied by Simon Eastwood at the near post.

A lively Elliott Bennett run handed Rovers a golden opportunity to double their lead on the stroke of half time when the winger was upended by Eastwood in the penalty area.

Charlie Mulgrew stepped up to take the spot kick but his effort was pushed around the post by Eastwood.

Bennett was involved again shortly after when he picked up a clever Graham lay off but his shot was off target and Rovers had to make do with a one goal interval lead.

After a quiet start to the second half Rovers sprung into life when Bennett saw a low drive tipped wide by Eastwood before Derrick Williams headed over Mulgrew’s corner from close range.

Samuel, who was still finding plenty of room on the right, came close to a second for the hosts when he was played in by Corry Evans but his fierce drive was well saved by Eastwood who was enjoying a good game against his former club.

Oxford equalised against the run of play when James Henry finished neatly across David Raya after good work by Obika. The forward had come close to scoring himself moments earlier but was denied by a brilliant Ryan Nyambe block before recycling the ball and steering a cross into the path of Henry.

Rovers searched for a way back into the contest with Armstrong denied three times in quick succession by Eastwood.

Tony Mowbray then threw on Payne as one of three quickfire changes, and he made an immediate impact as he restored Rovers’ lead on 76 minutes with a powerful right foot drive after cutting inside.

The strike means the Huddersfield loanee has now scored for Rovers against Oxford and for Oxford against Rovers in the same season having been on loan with the U’s earlier in the campaign.

Rovers thought they had a third just minutes later when Graham bundled home a Samuel cross but the referee spotted an infringement.

The final moments were marred by a pitch invasion by the minority but that didn’t detract from the party atmosphere as the players celebrated on the pitch after the game.