It would have been hard to contemplate having travelled all the way to the MKM Stadium on Boxing Day not to see a ball kicked that the re-arranged fixture would actually bring with it a greater sense of frustration and injustice second time around.

The intriguing aspect of a fixture list is throughout the course of a season you will always face sides in and out of form, with and without injuries and with different levels of preparation.

Rovers travelled to East Yorkshire on Boxing Day in fine form and full health, set to face a Hull side battling with Covid, eventually their numbers dipping to such a level they put forward a request to postpone.

Less than month later Rovers made the same trip albeit still in fine form, but without their first choice wing-backs, a mainstay in midfield but still in fine form.

Hull had suffered three defeats on the spin, yet a long-awaited takeover, confirmed on the eve of kick-off, meant there was a carnival atmosphere not usually associated with a side on such a run.

While Rovers were miffed by the Boxing Day postponement they were incensed by two refereeing decisions that swung the game in the hosts’ favour.

These sound like excuses because they could well be. It is therefore only right to say that by the end Hull could have won by a greater margin that 2-0 and Rovers didn’t perform to a level on the night that we have become used to.

They were punished by an eighth minute George Honeyman goal, Keane Lewis-Potter too easily able to pick out the midfielder who danced his way around Jan Paul van Hecke before finding a finish that squirmed through Thomas Kaminski.

Yet there were further punished by referee Tom Bramall not perceiving a push from Di’Shon Bernard on Ben Brereton not to be a foul. Had he, then the result would have been a penalty and likely a red card.

Whatever the reasoning, it wasn’t given.

Then, at a time where Rovers had started the second half brighter and were readying a triple change, a deep cross to the far post saw Tom Eaves head into the unguarded net, the reason it was due to a cynical block on the Rovers ‘keeper by defender Sean McLoughlin.

Kaminski looked to have been caught underneath the ball, and may well not have reached it, but he stood no chance after being pole-axed.

Again, nothing doing.

Mowbray first raised his concern about the level of officiating in the Championship in after a defeat at Leeds United in November 2019 and has been consistent in his assessment that standards aren’t at the level required.

He has remained measured in his responses when doing so, but the latest episode would have left him seething inside.

Rovers haven’t lost in the league since November 3, this was a reminder of how much it hurts, particularly in these circumstances.

Now isn’t the time for a major post-mortem of what is a rare defeat though, the players have shown incredible resolve and character during this run and if they can bounce back from a club record home defeat, you would bet they can from a 2-0 defeat at Hull.

Nevertheless, there are lessons to be learned.

Fears ahead of the game when the teamsheet landed about being too open were proved correct.

In March 2020, when Rovers knew a win at Derby County would have taken them into the top six, Mowbray went with a bold selection, only to see it backfire as the Rams ran through an unprotected Rovers midfield of Lewis Travis and Stewart Downing. With the opportunity to move into the automatic spots here, he went with a similarly brave approach.

With Travis unavailable for the first time this season, Mowbray instead opted to move to a front three, bringing back Sam Gallagher, and dropping John Buckley back in alongside Rothwell.

That meant Rovers had the technicians in midfield and fleet of foot to cause Hull problems, as they did on occasions in the first half, but no defensively-minded player in the middle of the park.

Mowbray would likely have been contemplating a change after an opening quarter where they didn’t get out of the blocks, when two fine Buckley passes created openings for Brereton and Reda Khadra and a sense of just how they could get back into the game.

Their best spell came in the first 10 minutes of the second half without creating many stand-out chances.

Prior to that there was an over-eagerness in the first half to play the ball in behind, Gallagher struggled on his first start since October and Khadra too disappointed.

There felt a hole in the side that wasn’t filled with Travis unavailable, ending his ever-present run.

Shifting Buckley back meant for a new-look attack and appeared to stifle his influence on the game, not quite sure whether to continue with the pressing that has made him one of the most influential midfielder’s in the league, or sit back in a more organised shape.

The fact that Bradley Johnson and Jacob Davenport, more natural replacements for Travis that would have enabled Rovers to stick with the shape that has worked so well of late, weren’t entrusted felt key.

Johnson has started only twice this season, used again off the bench, the eight time he has been introduced as a sub.

Davenport has played only 17 minutes since making back-to-back starts against Sheffield United and Bristol City either side of the international break, while Liverpool loanee Leighton Clarkson has returned to his parent club.

It feels an area of the pitch Rovers are light in, particularly given the fact that neither Johnson or Davenport were turned to when the opportunity arose.

It feels imperative that Rovers add to that area of the pitch before the transfer window closes.

A side that was able to name the same outfield players for six consecutive games is starting to creak a little.

Rovers were without their first-choice wing-backs, Joe Rankin-Costello feeling his way back into action on his first start since April on the right, while Edun continues to deputise for Pickering on the left.

Deyovaisio Zeefuik and Dilan Markanday will add some much-needed strength in depth, with tests coming up for Rovers.

Questions over their credentials centred around how they would cope with the loss of key personnel, another as to how they would fare for goals when Brereton wasn’t available.

Rovers have scored just once in their last three league matches and they will be without their 20-goal top scorer for the visit of Middlesbrough and trip to Luton Town.

They will need to find a route to goal without him, and will need to be much better on the ball than they have been in recent matches.

Though nothing should detract or take-away from the incredible run Rovers have been on, to get into promotion contention this season is credit to everyone involved.

There are obstacles to overcome in the upcoming games and may well use the sense of injustice at seeing their unbeaten run end to fuel the start of another.