Blackburn Rovers returned to winning ways in the Championship as they beat Bristol City 2-1 thanks to a second-half header from Scott Wharton.

Jon Dahl Tomasson's side were seeking a remedy after back-to-back league defeats to Yorkshire opposition but responded timely with a confidence-boosting win at Ewood Park.

A quiet first half an hour had seen little quality but the moment of the match brought the breakthrough. Sam Szmodics' first-time pass picked out Arnor Sigurdsson and he did really well to gather the ball in his path and then finish past the goalkeeper.

The second half brought more goal-mouth action as Rovers doubled their lead minutes after the restart. Scott Wharton rose highest to meet brother Adam's corner, netting his second goal of the season and marking a fantastic individual display.

Bristol City made sure it was a tense ending at Ewood Park though as they pounced on an error at the back and fed the ball to Mark Sykes to finish for 2-1. They then pushed for an equaliser with Jason Knight going closest but he was denied by Leopold Wahlstedt.

That proved to be the last of the action in either box, with Rovers withstanding late pressure to hold out for their fifth win of the season at home.

Tomasson made history with the Blackburn Rovers team news by naming 15-year-old Rory Finneran among the substitutes. 

The highly-regarded midfielder has been with the club since Under-8s and has been offered a professional deal after progressing through the ranks at Brockhall. Finneran is now the youngest player to be named in a Rovers matchday squad, having been born in February 2008.

Niall Ennis was handed his first Championship start since signing for the club in the summer. Arnor Sigurdsson was the other alteration, with Callum Brittain moving to right-back and James Hill dropping to the bench. 

After the highs of an attendance which surpassed 20,000 on Saturday, this was a far more subdued atmosphere which radiated onto the pitch. Both teams gave the ball away cheaply in the final third and neither mustered enough quality to test the other's goalkeeper.

Tommy Conway had the first noteworthy effort on goal, skipping inside before unleashing a powerful left-foot strike which whistled just over Wahlstedt's goal.

Rovers responded in turn as Wharton sent Szmodics scampering away in-behind but he couldn't quite get the ball under control as Zak Vyner recovered and cleared. The forward then sent a shot narrowly wide of the post after a free-kick lay-off.

The opening did arrive 10 minutes before half-time and it was the best moment of quality in the game that provided it. Szmodics received the ball from Wharton and laid it around the corner first time for Sigurdsson to run on to and finish. It was a great take from the Icelandic forward to gather the ball in his stride and then slot past Max O'Leary.

Ennis' first league start lasted just 45 minutes with the forward withdrawn at half-time. He didn't appear to have a knock entering half-time, so let's hope it was just a pre-planned change.

The striker took up some decent positions and tried to provide a platform for his side to build from. He didn't get a sight of goal but it was an encouraging display which will, hopefully, be the catalyst for him kicking on this season.

After a slow start to the first half, Rovers got themselves off to a much quicker start in the second, doubling their lead after seven minutes. It was a goal made in the family as one Wharton crossed for the other to rise highest and head his second goal of the season.

It is another confidence-boosting moment for the defender, who had enjoyed an excellent first 45 minutes. After a difficult 2023, the 26-year-old is now ending the year in fantastic form after a consistent run in the team following Dom Hyam's injury.

Remarkably, you'd have to back to October 2022 for the last time Wharton started a league match at Ewood Park and Rovers won. His goal certainly helped them on their way to end that statistic.

Bristol City almost responded immediately after as Conway flashed a shot just wide of the post and shortly after they did reduce the arrears. Rovers were caught playing out from the back and they were punished.

Hayden Carter's pass into Andrew Moran wasn't the best but the young midfielder lost possession and the visitors fed to Sykes to make it 2-1. 

As you might imagine, that spurned the Robins on to probe for an equaliser. Rovers struggled to hold the ball in the final third as easily after Ennis went off and that allowed them to keep coming back at them.

Jason Knight let fly from 25 yards and tested the athleticism of Wahlstedt, who leapt across his goal to keep the ball out. The goalkeeper was called upon again to preserve the lead as Knight tried to finish off a lightning counter-attack but he was down quickly from six yards.

Rovers negotiated the final few minutes under a siege of pressure but came out the other side despite five minutes added on. There was a flurry of late cards with the home fans and players growing increasingly frustrated with referee James Linington.

It proved not to matter though as the final whistle was greeted with loud cheers. After disappointing back-to-back defeat, it is the perfect tonic to take into the weekend for a tough trip to Southampton.

With Wednesday night's results still to follow, the win lifts Blackburn up to eighth, one point behind the play-off places.