ELLIOTT Bennett finishing the game with a bandaged head, Rovers having made all of their changes, two enforced through injury, illustrated the desire Tony Mowbray’s side showed to haul themselves back from the brink against Reading.

Without Bradley Dack and Kasey Palmer, Rovers lost Adam Armstrong to injury, in a further blow to their already threadbare attacking options.

They trailed 2-0 at the break to two Jon Dadi Bodvarson goals in a first half where they were uncharacteristically poor all over the pitch.

But it takes a lot to keep this Rovers side down, and with an unbeaten start to the season and proud home record to maintain, they fought back through two Charlie Mulgrew penalties in the second period to take a share of the spoils.

Rovers enjoyed a bright start, though not quite as dazzling as the new LED advertising boards around the perimeter of the Ewood Park pitch.

Joe Rothwell, in for his first league start, crashed a curling effort against the bar before failing to find the target with his left foot follow-up.

And visiting goalkeeper Vito Mannone had to be at full stretch to keep out an Armstrong curler in the ninth minute as Mowbray opted to partner him with Danny Graham in a 4-4-2.

Reading, to their credit given their poor start to the season, went with an adventurous look to their team, and were rewarded with a 12th minute opener.

There looked to be no immediate danger when Darragh Lenihan attempted to head the ball back to David Raya, but Bodvarson gambled and got to the bouncing ball first to hook the ball beyond the advancing keeper and in to the unguarded net.

There had been warning signs for Rovers, who were sloppy in possession in and around their own box several times before going behind.

And without a link between defence and attack, they were plating hopeful football with direct balls forward not finding a target.

That wasn’t the case when Reading made it 2-0 with 25 minutes on the watch. Tyler Blackett had acres of space on the left to measure a cross for an unmarked Yakou Meite, and although Raya saved superbly diving to his right, Bodvarson swept home the rebound.

Rothwell was the most likely to create something for the hosts, and had an effort well blocked by Liam Moore, before a chance for Lenihan saw him head straight at Mannone when unmarked from a Richie Smallwood cross.

That was Smallwood’s last action, replaced by Dominic Samuel at half time, as the crowd tried to roar their side in to action.

And Rovers were very much alive. Five minutes after the re-start Charlie Mulgrew thumped a spot-kick down the middle after Paul McShane hacked down Bennett.

There was more effort and drive about Rovers who were playing with an extra energy since the break. They were committing bodies forward and it made for an end-to-end encounter as the hour mark passed.

Ryan Nyambe had to be alert to make an excellent far post block to deny Bodvarson a hat-trick while a failure to get shots off was proving something of a downfall in attack for Rovers.

The options up front were beginning to look particularly thin when Samuel was forced off, with Joe Nuttall on for the final 20 minutes.

That injury brought a third change in formation, and almost instantly brought Rovers level.

Bennett’s shot was blocked by Andy Yiadom, only for the defender to recover to knock the ball behind.

But from the resulting corner, Mulgrew was brought down after an almighty scramble, with the skipper picking himself up to find the left-hand corner from 12 yards.

Try as they might, in a pulsating end to the game, Rovers couldn't quite complete the turnaround.

The energy levels were quite incredible, with Bennett and Nyambe in particular putting in huge shifts but it couldn't bring about a breakthrough, Nuttall's header from Craig Conway's cross was the closest they came but the youngster's effort landed on the roof of the net as both sides collected a point.