Adam Armstrong scored a third hat-trick of the season as Rovers finished their 2020/21 season with a 5-2 win over Birmingham City.

They won by the same scoreline in their previous home game, against Huddersfield Town, where Armstrong also went home with the matchball for a second successive Ewood fixture.

That saw him end the season with three hat-tricks, 29 goals, nine in his final six matches and deserving of whatever comes his way in the summer.

Ben Brereton scored Rovers’ second, and substitute Harvey Elliott the fourth, as the pair ended with seven for the season.

Birmingham had led through Kristian Pedersen in the first half, and levelled early in the second through Lukas Jutkiewicz, but Rovers’ firepower was far too much.

Jacob Davenport was brought back into the side as one of two changes, and stood over an early free kick that he left for Adam Armstrong.

The top scorer curled a 25-yard effort up and over the wall, Connal Trueman clutching at thin air as the ball crashed back off the bar.

Birmingham had named a youthful side, four players with squad numbers of 41 and above in their starting XI, but weren’t overawed as they put together some neat moves on a lush Ewood pitch, but lacked end product.

Rovers too hadn’t made the most of their openings, Amari’i Bell getting into good positions on the left, without finding a target with his deliveries.

With their first attempt on goal, the visitors led at the midway point of the first half, a chance that Kristian Pedersen couldn’t miss. Thomas Kaminski dropped a routine ball in at the feet of the defender who rolled the ball into the empty net.

The response from Rovers was instant. A ball inside the full back from Travis spotted the run of Bell who was pushed to the floor by Jonathan Leko, giving referee Keith Stroud little option but to point to the spot. Having seen three spot kicks saved this season, Armstrong remained on penalty duties, and sent Trueman the wrong way to score goal number 27 of the season.

Bell was seeing plenty of the ball, a cross on the half hour was chested down by Ryan Nyambe into the path of Ben Brereton whose shot on the turn flashed just wide of the target.

The two sides then traded long range strikes, Ryan Stirk for Birmingham crashing a 25-yarder just wide, while from a similar distance out, Gallagher’s effort wasn’t able to be held by Trueman who was grateful for an offside flag as Brereton went after the rebound.

Rovers got their rewards before the break as Gallagher and Brereton linked up to great effect. Gallagher was the provider, his excellent ball over the top freeing Brereton who first showed strength to hold off Pedersen and then composure to slot the ball beyond Trueman.

For Brereton, it was what his performance deserved, having proven to be a real nuisance with his running power and close control in the opening 45 minutes.

Rovers had the second half’s first shot, as John Buckley thumped an effort straight at Trueman, before one of the visitors’ half time changes drew them level. A deep cross from Steve Seddon was perfect for Lukas Jutkiewicz who, too easily from a Rovers perspective, headed beyond Kaminski.

Chances kept coming for Rovers though, Lenihan attacking a right wing corner only to see his glanced effort fail to hit the target.

Mowbray made a triple switch before the hour, including a return for Daniel Ayala as well as farewell appearances for Downing and Elliott.

Elliott curled over from the edge of the box before Rovers made a fourth change, sending on Tyrhys Dolan, just as the chances looked to have dried up.

That was until Armstrong stepped forward to score goal number 28 of the season, but first from outside the box, his 71st minute effort having too much power for Trueman as the ball squirmed under the ‘keeper.

Elliott than added some sparkle to the performance eight minutes from time, played in by an excellent Corry Evans pass, the loanee racing clear of the defence before beating the keeper with an outstanding, and audacious, chipped finish.

And why stop there? Armstrong completed his second successive Ewood hat-trick, Evans again with the assist, the striker firing through the legs of Trueman to wrap up his hat-trick.

Rovers: Kaminski, Nyambe, Lenihan, Harwood-Bellis (Ayala, 57), Bell, Travis, Davenport (Downing, 57), Buckley (Evans, 74), Gallagher (Elliott, 57), Brereton (Dolan, 67), Armstrong

Substitutes: Pears, Johnson, Douglas, Bennett, Dolan

Birmingham City: Trueman, Pedersen, Leko (Halilovic, 46), Cosgrove (Jutkiewicz, 46), Gardner, Harper (McGree, 74), Dacres-Cogley, Miller (Simmonds, 78), Seddon, Stirk (San Jose, 82), Gordon

Substitutes: Jeacock, Colin, Bela, Dean