Rovers kicked off the new Championship season with a hard-fought 2-1 victory against West Brom at Ewood Park.

Dilan Markanday and Harry Leonard struck during a ruthless two-minute spell midway through the first half.

Matt Phillips pulled one back for the Baggies but Rovers held on to secure a third successive win on the opening day.

Jon Dahl Tomasson made just one change from the side that faced Girona in pre-season, with Aynsley Pears coming for Thomas Kaminski after his move to Luton Town.

Leonard, who signed a new four-year deal at Ewood Park last week, got the nod up front while Sam Gallagher was sidelined by an injury.

Aynsley Pears, who also committed his future to Rovers over the summer, started in goal following Thomas Kaminski’s move to Luton Town.

Markanday was preferred to Ryan Hedges out wide, while Adam Wharton and Niall Ennis both made the bench.

Meanwhile, Jeremy Sarmiento was named on the bench for the Baggies after joining on a season-long loan from Brighton.

The opening stages were cagey, with both sides getting into some decent areas but failing to create openings in the final third.

Phillips had the first shot on goal after cutting in from the left wing but his strike was beat away by Pears.

Rovers went in front when Markanday won back possession high up the pitch and then provided a composed finish past Alex Palmer after combining with Lewis Travis.

It was a big moment for the youngster, who had a tough start to his Rovers career and spent the second half of last term on loan at Aberdeen in the Scottish Premiership.

Things got even better for Tomasson’s side moments later, with Sam Szmodics winning back possession almost immediately and teeing up Leonard, who squeezed a shot past Palmer at his near post.

The Academy graduate has been at the club since under-10 level and it was clear to see how much his first senior goal meant.

Jed Wallace went down in the box as West Brom searched for an immediate response, but his appeals were waved away by referee Dean Whitestone.

Nathaniel Chalobah then sent a low drive wide of the near post before Palmer made a smart stop to keep out Tyrhys Dolan’s effort from the edge of the box.

Brandon Thomas-Asante managed to get past his man with a clever turn on the stroke of half time but his shot across goal was palmed away by Pears.

Szmodics had a goal-bound effort blocked at the other end after combining effectively with Leonard, who continued to look lively.

The visitors came out of the blocks quickly in the second half and could scored when Thomas-Asante’s cut-back fell to Jayson Molumby in the box, but his strike was blocked by Joe Rankin-Costello. There were appeals for a handball but the officials were happy with it.

The Baggies continued to apply pressure and pulled one back when Phillips beat Pears with a lovely strike from the edge of the box.

The momentum had swung and Rankin-Costello had to make a crucial challenge in the box as Molumby was about to pull the trigger.

Tomasson brought Wharton and Hedges off the bench in an attempt to wrestle back control, with Tronstad and Markanday coming off.

Leonard had a big chance to restore Rovers’ two-goal cushion midway through the second half after latching onto Travis’ pass but the slotted wide from a one-on-one scenario.

The young forward managed to get in behind the backline again moments later but dragged wide on his weaker foot. It was a harder chance, with a defending breathing down his neck as he connected with the ball.

Wallace had a low drive blocked by Dom Hyam 15 minutes from time before West Brom boss Carlso Corberan was sent to the stand following a discussion with the referee.

Szmodics continued to provide energy in the final third and tried his luck, but the midfielder’s strike sailed over the bar.

Palmer somehow denied Dolan from close range before Wharton’s strike hit a defender in the box heading into stoppage time. The youngster insisted it had struck an arm but a corner was awarded.

Nine minutes were added on as the new EFL rules came into effect, but Rovers did a good job of maintaining possession and keeping the ball in the opposition half to protect their lead in the final stages.

Pears, Rankin-Costello (Brittain 77), Hyam, Carter, Pickering, Tronstad, (A Wharton 59) Travis, Dolan, Szmodics, Markanday (Hedges 59), Leonard. Unused: Hilton, S Wharton, Batty, Garrett, Buckley, Ennis.