Rovers dominated from start to finish in their best performance under Tony Mowbray as they thumped Sheffield Wednesday 5-0 at Hillsborough.

They were 4-0 up inside 47 minutes, which included a brace for Lewis Holtby, as Rovers recorded a first win since December 14.

They were helped by a Massimo Luongo red card midway through the first half, when Rovers led after Holtby’s first, but even when the numbers were equal, they were by the stronger side.

So comfortable were Rovers they were able to play the ball around with ease in the second half, one which started with Darragh Lenihan adding a fourth moments after the re-start.

Holtby had added a third, and his second, in first half stoppage time, with Sam Gallagher getting his name on the scoresheet in the second of two added minutes at the end of a game in which Rovers dominated from start to finish. 

Joe Rothwell replaced Corry Evans in the one change to the starting line-up, with Jacob Davenport, Joe Rankin-Costello and Ben Brereton coming in to the matchday squad.

It was a good start by Rovers who were seeing plenty of the ball down their right, with Ryan Nyambe and Sam Gallagher, again used on the wing, heavily involved.

Gallagher did well in the 11th minute to hold up the ball well enough to allow Rothwell in to a promising position on the left where his cross was deflected behind by Julian Borner, booked moments later for a foul on Holtby.

From that set play Stewart Downing’s delivery was met by Darragh Lenihan, but not with the required contact to turn it goalwards.

Having started well, Rovers got the goal their play deserved in the 20th minute. Armstrong saw a shot saved, but when the ball came his way again, he headed in to the path of Holtby who swept home his second of the season.

The Armstrong-Holtby combination was to link up again shortly afterwards, the German crossing from the let with Armstrong glancing a header just wide.

The home fans had to wait 23 minutes to see their side test Christian Walton, but he wasn’t overly extended by a Massimo Luongo drive that came as Rovers failed to clear their lines.

Luongo would then be shown his marching order, just 24 minutes, catching Travis late, and then the crowd by surprise as Jarred Gillet had no hesitation when producing the red card.

A goal, and a man, up, Rovers were enjoying a promising start and would see plenty of the ball before doubling their advantage nine minutes before the break. Nyambe teed up Travis whose shot was tipped on to the post by the outstretched hand of Cameron Dawson, only for the keeper to see the ball go in off his back.

Garry Monk sensed the need to change and turned to the giant figure of Atdhe Nuhiu just after the goal had gone in.

But Rovers would have a third before the break, Armstrong again the provider in first half injury time, squaring for Holtby to force the ball home from close range.

Having scored in the dying seconds of the first half, Rovers couldn’t have started the second any better. Rothwell, who won the corner after a brilliant break which almost led to another goal, took it short to Downing whose delivery to the far post was fired in to the roof of the net by Lenihan on the volley.

If Rovers weren’t enjoying themselves before, they were now as they stroked the ball around with confidence. Holtby had a hat-trick in his sights, on to blast over when teed up by Gallagher.

Wednesday had made all three of their changes by half time, and had little by way of threat all game. A good move just before the hour saw Bannan and Nuhiu link up to tee up Sam Hutchinson who curled wide from the edge of the box.

The game was beginning to drift as it tipped in to the final quarter, with fouls and spells of Rovers possession the order of the day.

A Gallagher goal would have topped off the day for Rovers, and he would go close with 18 minutes remaining, holding off Borner before thumping an effort goalwards which Dawson blocked with his chest.

Lewis Travis, not flavour of the month with the home fans, was replaced by Jacob Davenport, on for only his second Rovers start. And he was quickly in to the action, firing over from 25 yards.

Armstrong deserved a goal himself, after two assists, and only the boot of Dawson kept out his low shot after being played in by a neat reverse Rankin-Costello pass.

Rovers weren’t giving up on their hopes of a fifth, with a Downing free kick forcing Dawson to save down low, before Rankin-Costello had the ‘keeper scrambling across his goal, as his shot fired juts wide.

The fifth would arrive, eventually, in injury time as Rankin-Costello played in Gallagher who confidently fired in to the roof of the net for his fourth of the campaign and round off an outstanding day out for Mowbray's side.

Sheffield Wednesday: Dawson, Fox, Lee (Hutchinson, 46), Bannan, Winnall (Nuhiu, 37), Borner, Murphy, Reach, Luongo, Iorfa, Urhoghide (Lees, 46)

Subs: Wildsmith, Rhodes, Harris, Pelupessy

Rovers: Walton, Nyambe, Lenihan, Adarabioyo, Bell, Travis (Davenport, 73), Downing, Armstrong, (Brereton, 87), Holtby, Rothwell (Rankin-Costello, 58), Gallagher

Subs: Leutwiler, Williams, Graham, Bennett