Rovers battled bravely with 10 men but suffered a narrow 2-1 defeat against Hull City after Aaron Connolly's late double.

Jon Dahl Tomasson’s men were up against it after Harry Pickering was shown a straight red card during the first half.

Rovers took the lead through Sam Gallagher 16 minutes from time and looked set to secure an unlikely victory.

But Connolly struck twice in the final 10 minutes to ensure his side would leave Ewood Park with all three points.

Tomasson made one change from the side that drew at Rotherham last weekend, with Ryan Hedges coming in for Dilan Markanday.

Leo Wahlstedt missed out through illness, with Joe Hilton named on the bench in the Swedish goalkeeper’s absence.

Joe Rankin-Costello started in the right-back role despite making a positive impact in the final half hour at the New York Stadium after moving higher up the pitch.

Niall Ennis and Gallagher, who returned to action against the Millers, were both named on the bench as Harry Leonard got the nod up front.

Scott Twine came straight into the starting line-up for the visitors following his season-long loan from Burnley.

The first chance fell to Ozan Tufan, who scored a hat trick against Sheffield Wednesday last weekend, but the midfielder was denied by a smart stop by Aynsley Pears low to his left.

The shot stopper was called into action against moments later, denying Twine at his near post after he had skipped past Rankin-Costello’s challenge.

The main talking point of the first half came after 17 minutes when Pickering was given his marching orders by referee Oliver Langford. The defender was judged to have brought down Liam Delap on the edge of the box as the Manchester City loanee raced towards goal.

There were a few nerves when set-piece specialist Twine stepped over the ball for the resulting free-kick, but he couldn’t keep his strike down.

In response to the sending off, Tomasson brought Callum Brittain off the bench in place of Tyrhys Dolan. Brittain slotted in at left-back, while Szmodics moved over to the left flank.

Despite going down to 10 men, Rovers still tried to play their usual game and dictate the play against the Tigers.

The home crowd rose to their feet in the 23rd minute to applaud Jack Walker 23 years on from the club legend’s passing. A tribute video was always shown on the big screen ahead of kick-off and cries of, “There’s only one Jack Walker,” rang around the stadium.

Twine continued to cause problems on the left and managed to pick out Tufan in the box with a clever cut-back, but Brittain made an important block.

But Rovers also posed questions in the final third, with Leonard inches away from getting his head to Brittain’s looping cross at the far post.

Lewis Travis then picked out Rankin-Costello with a clever backheel, but he failed to test Matt Ingram in the Hull goal from a tight angle and the sides went in level at the break.

Liam Rosenior’s side tried to crank up the pressure and make their man advantage count early in the second half, with Delap sending an effort over the bar after finding half-a-yard of space in the box.

Twine then fired into the side netting from a tight angle after a clever turn by Delap to skip past Hyam.

Tomasson made a double change in an attempt to swing the momentum back in Rovers’ favour, with Sam Gallagher and Niall Ennis replacing Leonard and Szmodics.

The injection of energy in the final third had a positive impact but Rankin-Costello could only fire over at full stretch after Brittain’s cross had been parried by Ingram.

Pears made another big stop at the other end to deny Delap from close range after the young forward had combined with ex-Fulham man Jean Michael Seri.

Hull also turned to the bench in the hope of breaking the deadlock, with Aaron Connolly joining the fray.

Substitutes John Buckley and Jason Lokilo were both booked following a melee near the corner flag which started with a collision between Gallagher and Lewie Coyle.

Brittain then tried his luck from well outside the area. His effort had Ingram scrambling to his left but crept wide of the post.

Rovers broke the deadlock 15 minutes from time when Gallagher found the bottom corner with a ruthless finish after some good work by Ennis. It was the forward’s first goal of the campaign and sent the home crowd into raptures.

Twine sent another free kick over the bar as Hull searched for an immediate response, and the Tigers were back on level terms inside the final 10 minutes.

Seri picked out Connolly in the box with a precise chipped pass and the forward made no mistake with a thumping volley. Pears had played well in the Rovers goal but there was nothing he could do on this occasion.

Rovers nearly went back in front when Ennis crashed an effort against the foot of the post after he was threaded through by Wharton. The young midfielder went down in the box seconds later but play was waved on.

There were chaotic scenes at the death as Gallagher was denied by a smart stop by Ingram before Ennis’ header was cleared off the line by a defender. Wharton also sent a volley wide of the post and Tomasson must have been wondering how his side hadn’t gone ahead.

Rovers were hit with a real sucker-punch at the other end when Connolly latched onto a long ball and kept his cool to slot past Pears.