Richie Smallwood told the Rovers players ‘I’ve got this’ after taking the gloves following the injury to David Raya in the 1-1 draw at West Brom.

Smallwood played the final 14 minutes in goal after Raya was stretchered off with Rovers having made all three of their substitutes.

Rovers held on for a deserved point on the road handed to them by a stunning equaliser from Harrison Reed.

Smallwood revealed he had never been in goal in a match at any level, with his experiences only coming as a youngster.

“Only when I was younger playing with my friends every night, when it was my turn I’d go in, or at five-a-side when you’re playing in the big goals and you dive about,” the 27-year-old said

“I didn’t know what any of the distances were or anything, it’s really strange.

“From goal kicks I felt fine, confident, it was the crosses that were really hard to judge on where to be.”

Elliott Bennett had been the other contender to take the gloves, but a combination of Smallwood’s insistence, and Mowbray feeling the 29-year-old would be needed more outfield, meant Smallwood got the nod.

And after keeping a clean sheet to see Rovers to a 1-1 draw, he added: “When I saw them asking for the stretcher I knew he (Raya) was definitely coming off.

“I said that I’d go in goal and then Benno said he was really good, but I said ‘no, I’ve got this, you go and keep the shape of the team and Reedy can work in the centre and we’ll be fine’.

“Thankfully it stayed that way.

“I thought there were going to be lots of shots, there were more crosses, but I did think they would take on more shots with me being in goal.”

Rovers, who felt they should have been awarded a penalty for handball in the first half, trailed to a Craig Dawson header at the break.

But they levelled with around 20 minutes to play through an excellent Reed strike which leaves them 12th in the table after 15 games.

And Smallwood said: “I thought they didn’t deserve the lead that they got and was disappointing to concede from a set piece, we thought David might have been able to come for it.

“We had chances as well, so I thought the first half was even, and second half we were the better team.

“But we can’t argue, they were in the Premier League last year and we were in League One. We’ve shown that we can compete with everyone.

“It was great to come from behind and show the character of the team with a worldie goal and I thought we were on top at that time.

“It was just unfortunate circumstances with David going off and playing with 10 men for the final 15 minutes.

“I thought we again showed the spirit of the team and overall it’s a good point.”

The final whistle was greeted by jubilant scenes in the away end, with Smallwood adding: “It seems to mean more when you go down to 10 men and you hang on, for however long.

“To see the team fight and dig in and come away with something the fans appreciate that and was what we tried to do at every point of the game.

“Two injuries, going to 10 men, and then the penalty (appeal) which I thought was clear to be fair.

“I reminded the officials of that at half-time, said ‘it was clear as day, two hands up, a clear penalty’.

“Thankfully we got the equaliser through a great goal.”