Ashley Ward ended a 16-hour goal drought for Rovers’ strikers as he netted the only goal in a 1-0 win at Nottingham Forest on this day 20 years ago.

Ward’s point-blank finish at the City Ground ended 16 hours of playing time, seven weeks, 49 days or 10 games of football since Nathan Blake was the last Rovers striker to score a goal

The Welsh international, restored to Graeme Souness's line-up at the City Ground, was able to witness at first hand the end of a critical spell which says much about why Rovers have struggled to make an impact this season.

Here is Peter White’s match report from the game on March 25, 2000.

I suspect that new manager Graeme Souness got more out of this game than the simple satisfaction of three points and his strikers being back in business.

For, against a Nottingham Forest side who were as uninspired as anything we have seen in opposition this season, familiar Rovers failings were on view.

Indeed, the manager's frustrations, after he left his first-half seat in the directors' box for a place on the touchline in the second half, were obvious.

Nothing wrong with the way Rovers battled and grafted but they should have more to offer against the feeble opposition they faced in the first half.

In other words, they should have buried Forest by the interval. But, instead, they had to battle to hold onto that early lead and were indebted to one or two moments of outstanding defending, as well as a little bit of luck to claim the win.

For they could easily have had a first-half penalty given against them for Simon Grayson's challenge on Alan Rogers.

The referee, who seemed content to ignore some of the more serious incidents anyway, waved play on. So he was at least consistent. So were his linesmen in their own way. One was flag happy, the other seemed to have his arm glued to his side. Check the stats.

Souness, however, would certainly have settled for seven points out of nine before he took control and, perhaps even more important, I am sure he has learned a great deal about the players he has inherited.

There are those - and it isn't impossible - who still believe the total of 75 points which should achieve a play-offs place is within reach.

But, long term, the more important objectives are at least being served.

Souness will want to make changes at the end of the season and every game he witnesses at the moment is like money in the bank to him.

He can see how an expensive collection of strikers are struggling to score, despite Ward's deadlock breaker, it's patently obvious that they are often too careless in possession and, while they held out well at the back on Saturday, Rovers tend to invite pressure and problems because of their own failings rather than the strength of the opposition.

Much of that, he believes, is down to confidence.

Yet they could not have asked for a better start than to take the lead in the game's first serious attack.

David Dunn, a breath of fresh air at the moment, found Damien Duff with a good ball down the left. He did well to put in a low cross which eluded Blake and a defender leaving Ward, unmarked inside the six-yard box, with a simple finish.

The striker might have had another following a mistake by the struggling Colin Calderwood but had his shot deflected before Forest's first genuine threat.

Alan Kelly put Grayson in trouble, the full back lost possession to Rogers and then seemed to bring him down as he homed in on goal. But penalty appeals were ignored. It often seems to be that way in this division.

Kelly made amends with a fine save from Marlon Harewood, who lost his markers for once, and then did well to grab a Rogers cross which could have caused danger. But, in between, Christian Dailly should have sealed it - putting an unmarked header from Dunn's accurate cross over the top when he had a great chance to score.

The second half was just as scrappy, both teams giving the ball away far too often for the comfort of their managers.

Veteran keeper Dave Beasant twice saved bravely and decisively at the feet of Ward and Egil Ostenstad and also made another good stop from Keith Gillespie.

Forest, whose best first -half spell came while they were down to 10 men with Calderwood off the field having treatment, had the better of things in terms of pressure without creating too much after the break.

Dunn, prominent in an attacking sense, got back superbly to rescue his defence with a goal-saving tackle on sub Stern John, who also left Grayson for dead but finished weakly.

Forest, really, were too impoverished in attack to punish Rovers, even though they finished the game with three strikers.

In the end, it was a good win to keep the hopes of the supreme optimists alive but everyone knew it should not have been such a close call.

Rovers: Kelly, Dailly, Short, Grayson, Harkness, Flitcroft, Dunn, Duff, Johnson (Gillespie, 57), Duff, Ward, Blake (Ostenstad, 79)

Subs: Miller, Broomes, Jansen