If you were a Blackburn Rovers fan watching at home, you’d have been excused for letting out a large sigh after just three minutes.

That was the moment Wes Harding’s early header hit the net, leaving Rovers behind in the opening stages at The Den. As goals go, you can file this one under ‘soft’.

Rovers failed to clear their lines after two bites at the cherry and Harding’s close-range header squirmed through the hands of Leopold Wahlstedt, who doesn’t need telling he should have saved it. A setback for everyone and the Millwall fans had their tails up.

The Den is famed for its ferocious atmosphere and even on an October midweek night, far more experienced teams would have buckled under the pressure. Millwall looked dangerous every time they came forward whilst Rovers were like a rabbit caught in the headlights.

After conceding one, the most important thing was not to buckle again; to weather the storm. That’s what Rovers did and they started to grow into the match.

As the half wore on, Rovers began to grow in stature, building from the back and remaining calm. Wahlstedt wasn’t phased by his early error and stuck to the process of playing out from defence. It would’ve been quite easy for the young goalkeeper and defence to try and go back to from quickly to ease the pressure.

But Rovers are well drilled. Bullish in their philosophy, for better and worst. They are a vision of their head coach and his fingerprints are stamped all over every performance.

Rovers had looked most dangerous down their right-hand side, with the impressive James Hill, Callum Brittain and Joe Rankin-Costello combining. It was little shock when that combination fashioned the equaliser, a lovely flowing move that did have a hint of fortune with Bartosz Bialkowski’s botched attempt to keep out the strike.

Suddenly, it was Rovers on the front foot. Sondre Tronstad’s influence grew in the game and the visitors were the ones controlling possession and the flow of the game.

What was missing was that little spark in the first half. They were quiet on the left side with Arnor Sigurdsson unable to get into the game. But when you have a team of right-backs, does it really matter?

That same side unlocked the Millwall defence again. A raking 70-yard switch from Hill found Brittain buccaneering forward. The rest did not reflect a man who hadn’t scored a league goal for four years. Chop, finish, exquisite.

In typical Rovers style, they had chances to finish the game off. Andrew Moran and Sam Szmodics were both denied by Bialkowski, who atoned for his early error to deny the latter with a fantastic stop.

No victory at The Den is complete without the away side defending their box manfully. Scott Wharton, drafted in at half-time for the injured Dom Hyam, would’ve been forgiven for feeling a little rusty after such little Championship football in 2023.

But he stood up to the test. Hayden Carter grew in stature too and the pair were magnificent at handling the Millwall bombardment. The whole team dug in and ran their socks off, from the first minutes.

Rovers longed for a comeback draw, never mind victory last season. That was the big question mark over the group after struggling to find a way back into games when they fell behind. Well, this team is evolving.

The win at The Den last season was as dramatic as they come. This was a more mature display, seeing out the victory as they failed to do on a few occasions in last year’s run-in. That’s development and character.

For such a young side, they have seen out the last two victories really well. Wahlstedt has not been peppered in the final stages of either game but equally has been reliable when called upon. The way he bounced back after an early error speaks volumes about his character too.

Across the defence, there has been a lot of improvement. Hill has been a revelation since coming into the side and is now one of the first names on the team sheet. You could say the same for Tronstad, who has not put a foot wrong.

The encouraging thing for a player is Tomasson doesn’t have favourites. If you’re in the team and you perform, you keep the shirt. So that keeps those on the fringes hungry, knowing that when they get the chances, if they grab it, you stay in.

Hyam will go for a scan on his ankle on Wednesday and if he’s out, Wharton will get that chance. He’s had to remain patient, as did Tronstad, but this could be his chance to get in the team regularly again.

It bodes well for the harmony of the group. As Tomasson always says, he doesn’t pick the team ‘the players choose themselves’. Whether that’s a bit of a hyperbole or not, the sentiment is fair.

So that’s three wins in a row; up to tenth from 20th at the time of writing. The Championship is as stodgy as ever in that middle portion and it doesn’t take much to climb the ladder or, equally, drop back down it.

Swansea City are another opponent that Rovers should fancy themselves again. That’s not complacency but confidence. Now is the time for Rovers to put their foot on the gas.