Rovers reporter Rich Sharpe picks out four talking points from the 1-1 draw with West Brom.


For the seventh game in a row, Rovers conceded the first goal. For a team which has long struggled to come from behind, it’s not an ideal mix.

The 2-1 comeback win against Sheffield Wednesday in November 2019 ended a wait since April 2018, and the 3-1 win over Peterborough, to win a game when conceding first.

The win over Cardiff City in midweek was the first time they had twice trailed in a match, but won, since September 2011. Away from home, that’s not happened in the last 25 years.

In all, they have conceded first this season on 15 occasions. They have gone on to collect 10 points from those matches, with eight equalising goals scored.  Last season, they conceded first on 21 occasions, taking just six points (all draws), despite equalising 10 times.

While we have seen a greater ability to come back from deficits, if Rovers are to looking to have more control of the ball, and subsequently matches, then it would ideally suit them not to have regularly go chasing the game.

But you do have more faith in then coming from behind these days, and not to throw it away late on, being one of two sides in the division to have not conceded a goal later than the 85th minute.



It was some sight to see four substitutes emerge from the dugout on the hour mark, the second time Tony Mowbray has done something similar since the re-start.

Three of them combined for the equaliser as Joe Rothwell became the eighth substitute to score this season. That could have been as high as 10 come the final whistle as both Jacob Davenport and Lewis Holtby had chances to win it late on.

Rovers managed just three goals from subs last season, so have vastly improved on that stat, and the importance of those strikes isn’t to be overlooked.

There was John Buckley’s winner against Sheffield Wednesday, Sam Gallagher’s against Stoke, plus equalising strikes for Rothwell here and Bradley Johnson against Swansea in February.

The other four have all come in winning causes, Armstrong making the games safe against Bristol City, both home and away, Dominic Samuel against Hull City and Stewart Downing against Barnsley, with his goal having put them 2-1 up shortly after coming on, eventually going on to win 3-2.

Rothwell answered his manager’s call for more productivity in the final third with his first league goal of the season, and he could have had his second assist as Rovers pushed for a winner.



At various stages of the season, 60 points has looked a long way off and easily surpassable in equal measure. Having now reached the 2018/19 tally with three matches to go, their aim is now to try and put distance between the points achieved in this season compared to last.

Improvement won’t, and shouldn’t, simply be judged on that, but it’s the quickest and easiest indicator.

Rovers can’t now reach the 70-point mark that Mowbray had felt achievable for his side, the highest they’ve totted up in the Championship since relegation from the Premier League.

They can however match, and possibly even topple, their highest finish of eighth, achieved back in 2013/14.

Rovers are all but assured of a top half finish, and while the odd place might not matter that much, it wouldn’t do any harm to try and be in single figures.

Not that will have given up on the top six, even though Tony Mowbray has admitted it will take them winning all their remaining three games to stand a chance.

That’s not to say there’s not some big games left. They go to Millwall on Tuesday, the Lions having moved right back in to play-off contention with their win at the weekend, while on the final day they go to a Luton side who will hope to still be scrapping for their lives.



Moaning about officials in the Championship is a futile exercise. While there have been questions over the standard of the division this year, the officiating has left a lot to be deserved at times.

At Cardiff on Tuesday, the Rovers boss felt the fourth official was doing more officiating than the man in the middle, and it was easy to see why given the fact it took so long between Lewis Travis going in to a tackle, to then be first adjudged to have fouled Lee Tomlin, and then for it to warrant a yellow card.

Against West Brom, Mowbray felt the Baggies goal shouldn’t have stood, with Mateus Pereira ‘at least half a metre’ offside in the build-up. Joe Rothwell also felt Sam Gallagher should have had a penalty late on.

At Cardiff they were denied a stonewall penalty, though thankfully that counted for little as Dominic Samuel equalised just seconds after being flatted in the box.

Against Leeds there were cases for two of United’s goals to be ruled out, one for a foul on Travis, and the third for offside. And if the foul against Travis wasn’t given, Mowbray was well within his rights to question why Lewis Holtby’s goal was chalked off.

The old adage of things equalling themselves out over the course of the season could well be true, Walton could have seen red against Leeds for instance, but since the re-start, it’s felt like things have gone against Rovers.