Rovers gained their first point of the season when conceding the first goal as Sam Gallagher came off the bench to score in the 1-1 draw at Luton Town.

The game came to life in the closing stages, Luke Berry putting the hosts ahead in the 69th minute only for Gallagher, introduced moments before, levelling with his second of the season.

A game that was a quiet affair in the opening hour came to life late on, with the referee in the thick of the action, as was Luton goalkeeper Simon Sluga who saved well from Gallagher.

Thomas Kaminski being passed fit to play after not training during the international break after testing positive for Covid-19 was a positive for Rovers who made two changes, with recalls for Barry Douglas and Tom Trybull.

The early stages screamed ‘first game back after the international break’ as Rovers in particular struggled to get up to speed with proceedings as the hosts came out of the blocks quickest.

Ryhs Norrington-Davies, forward from left back, had put a cross in moments before his sixth minute strike cutting in onto his right foot. Kaminski pulled his hands away, knowing the ball was drifting wide.

Mowbray had warned his side of Luton’s set piece threat, but they allowed Elliott Lee space to fire goalwards from 12 yards after Sonny Bradley won the first header, with Darragh Lenihan throwing himself in the way of it.

The main signs of life for Rovers came from Joe Rothwell whose ability to drive forward from midfield is making him a key component of the three-man midfield. His one-two with Armstrong saw him cross for Ben Brereton whose header was saved low down by Simon Sluga, though the referee did penalise the attacker for a foul.

The game was drifting with neither side taking control, with the referee an irritation to both benches with some of his decisions.

Rovers did have the ball in the net at the midway point of the half, Armstrong turning in after Sluga denied Scott Wharton’s header, though the linesman was quick to flag for offside.

That was a rare sight of goal for the Rovers striker who had been averaging three shots on target per game coming into this one.

His next sight of goal didn’t arrive until the 42nd minute, Luton getting bodies back to block his shot after being teed up by Brereton.

Rovers weren’t overly extended at the back as the break neared, though a Wharton slip did present Harry Cornick with a late chance. The defender miscued his attempted clearance into the path of the striker, but on the turn, his shot lacked any power as Kaminski held on.

Trybull was having a tough day in the middle of the park, not looking comfortable playing on the right of the three, and it was from his missed tackle on halfway that saw Luton create the first opening of the second half. Moncur came forward down the left, his fierce shot palmed away by Kaminski.

Rovers’ sloppy start to the second half continued five minutes after the re-start, Wharton not getting the necessary distance on his clearance as Dewsbury-Hall came forward. He did all the hard work to get into a shooting position on the edge of the box, only to lose his footing at the vital moment.

Rothwell’s breaks forward continued to be Rovers’ main source of attacking threat, their shot at goal of the half coming 11 minutes in. That was from Joe Rankin-Costello, the ball rolling nicely into his path from Brereton’s cross, but from 20 yards, he couldn’t test Sluga who watched it over the bar.

The hosts made a double change at a point in the game where it was Rovers who were trying to up the tempo. A short corner was worked to Rothwell whose shot from 25 yards was swerving as Sluga held on well.

The keeper would expected to have been worked as Armstrong wrapped his foot around an effort from the left edge of the box, as Brereton was crowded out, but the shot had too much height as it whistled over.

Rovers had just made an attacking change, as Sam Gallagher replaced Trybull, only to fall behind with 21 minutes to go. Collins slipped as he took his shot from distance, but the outstretched boot of Berry managed to turn it beyond Kaminski.

Things got worse for Rovers, a booking for Bradley Johnson making it five for the season, and with it a one match ban.

But Rovers were soon back on level terms, Gallagher levelling just moments after coming onto the pitch. An Elliott ball to the back post was nodded across goal by Douglas and Gallagher got infront of his man to guide the ball into the corner, away from the wrong-footed Sluga.

What had been a quiet game before it was starting to gain some life, as it ticked into the final 20 minutes.

An enforced change saw Ryan Nyambe on in place of Joe Rankin-Costello, who limped off holding his hamstring, more distribution to the Rovers backline.

Luton looked like getting their noses back infront as the game remained in the balance, Mpanzu’s corner well met by Sonny Bradley, and well clawed away by the left hand of Kaminski.

Rovers looked to be making the better case for winning it however, Sluga denying Elliott before palming away Gallagher’s shot which Brereton and then Rothwell couldn’t scramble home.

There were contentious moments in the four additional minutes, first Adam Armstrong seemingly pushed to the floor when racing clear on goal, while Brereton was adjudged to have dived as he went down in the box under contact.

Rovers’ push for a late winner was thwart, their anger directed towards the referee, as they left the field feeling like an opportunity had slipped away.

Luton Town: Sluga, Cranie (Tunnicliffe, 90), Bradley, Pearson, Cornick (Bree, 59), Berry (Mpanzu, 77), Lee (Collins, 59), Moncur (Lua Lua, 77), Rea, Dewsbury-Hall, Norrington-Davies

Substitutes: Shea, Lockyer, Clark, Nombe

Rovers: Kaminski, Rankin-Costello (Nyambe, 76), Lenihan, Wharton, Douglas, Trybull (Gallagher, 68), Johnson, Rothwell, Brereton, Elliott, Armstrong

Substitutes: Pears, Downing, Bell, Davenport, Buckley, Carter, Dolan