Tony Mowbray felt missed chances proved costly for his side in the 4-1 defeat at Bristol City.

Rovers led 1-0 after Charlie Mulgrew scored direct from a corner, while Kasey Palmer hit the post from inside the six yard box as they chased a second.

After Josh Brownhill levelled from a free-kick, Adam Armstrong was denied by the legs of Niki Maenpaa when clean through on goal, before the hosts ran in three unanswered goals after the break.

Marley Watkins scored 10 minutes after the re-start before substitute Famara Diedhiou made it three with 19 minutes to play.

Marlon Pack made it an afternoon to forget for Rovers, adding a fourth with nine minutes to play.

“I think from our point of view it was a case of missed chances in the first half,” the Rovers boss said.

“That could have put the game to bed.

“I don’t think it would be exaggerating to say that we could have had three or four in the first half.

“It didn’t happen for us.

“They are a decent side, have attacking threats and we have to accept that and then went chasing the game which left us a bit inbalanced and that can happen with football at times.

“It can be cruel at times in the Championship, teams have attacking threats, good players and have to take this defeat on the chin and move on.”

Mowbray sent on Ben Brereton, Joe Rothwell and Joe Nuttall in search of a way back in to the game.

But the hosts hit them on the counter to grab a third, before Rovers gave away a poor fourth goal scored by Pack.

And Mowbray added: “We lost a bit of discipline for the third and fourth goals with so many attacking players on the pitch trying to get back in to the game.

“The balance of the team wasn’t the balance of a team that we would normally be playing.

“There were four attacking players on and left ourselves exposed a little bit.

“I’ve done that all my career, sometimes you can lose heavily in games, it can happen in football at times, you either keep it quite tight and lose 1-0 and think ‘that was all right’ or you go and try and get back in to the game.

“That’s the nature of the game and they took advantage of that.

“The frustration for us is that we weren’t two or three goals up in the first half which would have been a true reflection.

“They have some threats, you could feel that first half, but Kasey Palmer’s chance, and Adam Armstrong’s chance you would have backed him to score that.

“It is what it is and we’ll move on to the next game.”

Rovers looked low on energy in a second period in which they were second best.

Mowbray turned to his bench in search of a way back in to it, adding: “I think up until their second goal I thought we were fine and could win the game.

“Yet this team haven’t been on the losing side very often.

“The last 20 minutes in my mind we have to be better, but we had a lot of strikers on the pitch and there is the frustration, the last 20 minutes.

“The first 60 or 70 minutes I thought we were good and deserved more than we got but you have to accept football can be cruel and it was.”