Football, we’ve missed you. So much was different, but that winning feeling remained, few things can replicate that.

The 2pm confusion as the teamsheets landed was back, ‘why is Armstrong on the bench?’, ‘where is Nyambe?’, ‘who is playing left back?’

Thankfully, the only things fans had to be irate at come the final whistle were the initial struggles to connect to iFollow and at referee Oliver Langford’s decision to award a foul on goalkeeper Dan Bentley, when the Rovers attackers were observing 2m social distancing.

While Christian Walton won’t reflect fondly on the Bristol City goal, unable to keep out Jamie Paterson’s header despite getting two strong hands to it, most things went right for Rovers on their return to action.

And while it wasn’t football as to how we’ve become accustomed, the nuances that surround the run-in could possibly play in their favour.

Take for example, the return of Corry Evans in the middle of the park, his quiet efficiency a welcome return, Bristol City offered nothing like the space that Derby County were afforded last time out.

With Lewis Travis yet again a driving force, the pair flanking the oozing class of Stewart Downing, Rovers were well served in the middle of the park.

There have been theories that controlling games will be key in the run-in, and while Rovers had that, it was their ability to simply over-run Bristol City that proved to be the difference. They looked much the sharper and stronger, and bar a sloppy spell just after the first half drinks break, they dominated.

While Downing had the legs of Evans and Travis either side, at the top end of the pitch it was the deft of touch of Lewis Holtby as a false No.9 with Ben Brereton to the left, and Sam Gallagher to the right.

Brereton looked to have gone from a boy to a man, without the anxiety of his every move being watched by an expectant crowd, and but for his studs failing him after rounding goalkeeper Bentley, would have had his first of the season.

They enjoyed the better of the opening, good work from Brereton teeing up Elliott Bennett to thump a strike goalwards that Bentley just about clung on to. The captain then turned provider as his free kick was headed wide by Darragh Lenihan on his return from suspension.

The Irishman being pulled out of position in the 34th minute proved fatal however, Tommy Rowe crossing from the left where an unmarked Paterson glanced the visitors infront.

Only the top two had won more on the road than the Robins, but there was little room for concern as inside three minutes Rovers levelled, Evans’ cross towards the back post out of reach of Gallagher, but also City ‘keeper Bentley.

Going in level was the least Rovers deserved, and with nine subs named, and five available to be used, they were also going to prove crucial. And while their impact was key, Rovers controlled the second half from the off.

First Brereton had an unfortunate malfunction of his studs, before Langford’s bizarre decision denied Joe Rankin-Costello a first senior l goal.

But there was no stopping Tosin Adarabioyo’s curling effort on the hour mark, the centre back assessing his options before finding the top corner, with Bentley’s outstretched hand unable to keep it out.

While the visitors were able to turn to former Burnley man Nahki Wells and ex-Rovers loanee Kasey Palmer, as well as Benik Afobe, off their bench, it was a Rovers trio of attacking changes  that gave them an extra lift.

While Holtby, Brereton and Gallagher walked off, Armstrong injected pace right from the off, and should have had a 13th of the season when blazing over from the left edge of the box.

But it was from there he would make the game safe, just as he did at Ashton Gate in December. The City defence made the fatal mistake of backing off as he drove towards goal, the attacker making just enough room to curl a trademark shot in to the far corner.

A two-goal lead hasn’t always been the most secure from a Rovers perspective, but this was watertight, restricting the visitors to long range efforts, and if anyone was going to score again, it would be Rovers.

Victory against Bristol City at Ashton Gate in December moved Rovers one point outside the play-off spots, exactly where they found themselves at the end of their first Championship match in 104 days.

They were the outsiders in the top six race at the start of play, and having yet to crack the ceiling of seventh in the last two seasons, they remain so.

Keeping Lenihan and Adarabioyo’s partnership at the back, and Travis and Evans’ in midfield, going will be vital to their chances, and it will require more sustained contributions, rather than flashes, from their attacking options.

But as the Championship marathon becomes a sprint to the line, Rovers look to have the pace to last the distance.