Daniel Ayala marked his one year anniversary of being a Rovers player with a crucial opening goal that set them on their way to victory against Hull City.

His second of the season was followed quickly by Ben Brereton’s fourth as Rovers, who toiled for the opening hour, stormed into life after the introductions of Reda Khadra and Dan Butterworth.

Their arrivals brought an energy to the performance, and crowd, as Rovers upped their intensity and threatened to run away with things.

Ayala has now featured in all seven Championship fixtures to date, only three short of the 10 he made in the whole of an injury-hit debut season, but is showing all the knowhow Tony Mowbray knew he was getting at the back, helping Rovers to a first clean sheet in 16 games, and also chipping in with a welcome goal or two.

It continues to be an encouraging start to the season for Rovers, this their third win in seven games, and with just one defeat, they have made positive strides.

Tyrhys Dolan switched to the left, as John Buckley moved out to the right flank to accommodate Clarkson’s return.

From there, Dolan showed some smart foot to cut inside and work an opening, his curling effort whistling past the by far the closest either side had come.

Ironic cheers of ‘we’ve had a shot’ came from the smattering of away fans who had made the trip, Matt Smith’s 22nd minute effort deflected wide by Daniel Ayala.

Not that Rovers were carving out opportunities, Clarkson, who replaced the injured Sam Gallagher in a move that saw Ben Brereton move into the central striker role, volleyed wide after an early corner was cleared.

With the visitors having kept back-to-back clean sheets coming into the game, the challenge that faced Rovers was cleared, with patience and imagination required on a night where they were seeing plenty of the ball.

The ironic chant from the away fans actually was the start of a decent spell for the visitors who grew visibly in confidence and had the first effort on target 33 minutes in, a thumping Josh Magennis effort from the edge of the box requiring strong hands from Thomas Kaminski to repel it.

A near carbon copy of his earlier effort from Dolan moments later required the fingertips of Matt Ingram to turn it behind, but a pedestrian first half for Rovers ended with the visitors on top as Mallik Wilks drew a save, albeit routine, from Kaminski just before the break.

Ryan Nyambe had been one of Rovers’ main attacking outlets, but Keane Lewis-Potter was looking to exploit the space left by the full back when breaking forward, and he did just that two minutes after the re-start, his shot bouncing just infront of Kaminski from the edge of the box before the Belgian gathered at the second attempt.

The offside flag then came to their rescue, Callum Elder’s cross turned in by Josh Magennis, but the full back had just strayed beyond the last defender when cutting the ball across.

That had to act as a wake-up call for Rovers and it most certainly did.

They responded with a double change, Reda Khadra on for his debut alongside birthday boy Dan Butterworth who lifted the crowd, as well as the performance.

Both had efforts at goal within seconds of their arrival, the one from Butterworth catching goalkeeper Ingram by surprise as his swerving strike was stopped by the keeper’s chest.

The marked improvement from Rovers culminated in them taking the lead just after the hour mark. Joe Rothwell’s deep corner was met by a towering Ayala header that nestled into the corner.

Ewood was alive, and so was Butterworth, drifting beyond Richie Smallwood with ease before sliding in Brereton whose effort was beaten away by Ingram.

As Travis thumped an effort wide, in the space of 10 minutes, and two substitutions, the game had been turned on its head.

As at the weekend, it was a quickfire double from Rovers. Brereton, boosted by the support he was now receiving, found room on the left edge of the box to curl a bullet of a shot out of reach of Ingram and into the corner.

Having let a two-goal lead slip, that will have firmly been on the minds of Rovers fans and players alike, though they sensed the chance of a third as Butterworth and Brereton both flashed efforts wide of the target.

Kaminski did have to save from George Moncur, as the Rovers defence backed off, and when the same happened again moments later, he went within a whisker of bending an effort inside of the post.

There was to be no late drama this time around though, Rovers holding out for a welcome clean sheet to help in some way banish those Luton memories.