For all the talk of an improved style, Rovers need a result, one they never threatened, or would have deserved, during a desperately disappointing night at Birmingham City.

They reverted back to a more direct approach following the introduction of Danny Graham, and while that brought some success, it was a night of few positives as Rovers went a fifth game without a win against a Blues side who had won just once in five themselves going in to the evening.

Sam Gallagher was handed a recall, leading the line against his former side for who his goal on January 30 2018 was his last league strike, and fired a shot wide of the near post inside two minutes.

The hosts came quickly in to the game thereafter though, aided by some sloppy Rovers passing as Tosin Adarabioyo was forced to block from Kerim Mrabti.

Christian Walton was then called in to action to deny Fran Villalba who ran on to an Mrabti pass as Rovers were caught flat footed, with Dan Crowley curling just over seconds later. Rovers’ display was summed up by a square pass along their own defensive third from Derrick Williams straight to Mrabti who forced another good block out of Adarabioyo.

The mistakes that had earlier crept in were now something of an epidemic, with Bradley Johnson in particular guilty of gifting the ball away with Rovers were looking lost for ideas. A clear sign of the frustration was demonstrated by how deep Bradley Dack, a rare bright spot in a torrid opening, was dropping to try and get involved in the game.

Their one hope looked to be trying to utilise the pace of Adam Armstrong in behind, though full back Krisitian Pedersen tracked his darting run from out to in to superbly stop his shot troubling Lee Camp.

Williams was again guilty of giving the ball away in the 26th minute, with Jude Bellingham drawing a save out of Walton who was equal to his effort that while well struck was straight at the ‘keeper.

While Rovers were short of ideas, Birmingham put together their best move of the half to take the lead in the 31st minute. They worked it well through the lines, with Crowley coming in from the right to link with Mrabti before standing up a cross to the far post allowing advancing full back Colin the chance to head home.

Not even that could stir Rovers in to life as they ended the half as poorly as they had started it, looking lost and second to every bouncing ball.

No-one could have complained were wholesale changes to have been called for at the break, but instead, Mowbray sent out the same XI and asked for a reaction.

They showed as much attacking threat in the opening three minutes of the second half as they had done in the entirety of the first, with Lewis Travis seeing a shot deflected just over after being invited to have a go from distance.

Adarabioyo headed over unmarked from a Downing corner, but still they lacked fluidity when trying to play out from the back.

Having resisted the temptation to make changes at the break, and to the joy of the travelling fans, Mowbray introduced Danny Graham and Joe Rothwell just after the hour mark.

Suddenly it felt like there was a game on with Graham and Dack both having shots blocked before Downing flashed another just wide of Camp’s left-hand post.

But it could have been game over in the blink of an eye as Crowley’s pull back found the run of Villalba whose well struck effort was saved by the legs of Walton.

There was nothing Walton could do about Jutkiewicz’s strike with 17 minutes to play, only to dive in vain and see the ball crash back off the underside of the crossbar and on to the goal-line as Rovers escaped again.

If any team was going to score the game’s second goal it looked to be the hosts as Walton saved well from a powerful Jutkiewicz strike.

But 10 minutes from the end came the chance Rovers had craved, and at the feet of Graham, but after taking a touch to steady himself, his side-footed effort was wide of the near post.

It was a more unlikely source who went close moments later, captain Elliott Bennett, without a goal since March, lined a shot up from 30 yards that after a deflection needed the back-peddling Camp to tip over.

A late Williams shot in to the side netting was their final flourish. The poor run continues.

Birmingham: Lee  Camp, Maxime Colin, Marc Roberts, Harlee Dean, Kristian Pedersen, Dan Crowley (Jacques Maghoma, 73), Jude Bellingham (Josh McEachran, 62), David Davis, Fran Villalba, Kerim Mrabati (Alvaro Gimenez, 80), Lukas Jutkiewicz

Subs: David Stockdale, Wes Harding, Jake Clarke-Salter, Odin Bailey

Blackburn: Christian Walton 5, Ryan Nyambe 6, Tosin Adarabioyo 5, Derrick Williams 4, Elliott Bennett 5, Lewis Travis 5, Bradley Johnson 4 (Joe Rothwell, 62), Adam Armstrong 5, Bradley Dack 6, Stewart Downing 5 (John Buckley, 76), Sam Gallagher 4 (Danny Graham, 63)

Subs: Jayson Leutwiler, Amari’i Bell, Corry Evans, Joe Rankin-Costello