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Match Report


Posted Tue 01 Apr 14 at 21:45 PM

Rovers 3 Brighton & Hove Albion 3

For once it was Rovers who were left to rue a late equaliser as Brighton snatched a share of the points at Ewood Park.

It was a fourth consecutive draw for Gary Bowyer's men as Albion came back to earn a point in another entertaining yet frustrating encounter.

David Rodriguez gave the visitors the lead on 17 minutes but Rovers roared back thanks to close-range strikes from Tom Cairney on his return, and Jordan Rhodes to put them in front at the break.

Rovers looked in control but it was the Seagulls who drew level on 79 when former Rover Gordon Greer scored at the near post, but Rovers thought they had won it when Jordan Rhodes scored from the spot after he had been fouled in the box four minutes from time.

But whilst it was Rovers who grabbed late goals to earn points at Watford and Millwall in the last seven days, on this occasion it was Brighton's turn as substitute Dale Stephens headed home a Jesse Lingard cross with just two minutes left as the match ended 3-3.

With the welcome news that Grant Hanley had his red card against Millwall successfully overturned on appeal, Rovers made just the one change for this evening's match.

Tom Cairney hadn't featured for Rovers since the win over Reading back in February, but he returned to the starting eleven at the expense of Luke Varney who dropped to the bench.

It was the visitors who were brighter out of the blocks under the Ewood lights, former Rover Keith Andrews with two early efforts, the first narrowly over from 25-yards, the second a low ball across the six-yard box that was claimed by Paul Robinson.

Jordan Rhodes then collected a Tom Cairney pass up to the striker to turn and shoot but Matthew Upson blocked well for a corner.

However, on 17 minutes the deadlock was broken. Jesse Lindgard did well to David Rodriguez to the right of the area, and he advanced before somehow he squeezing his shot past Paul Robinson at the near post to put the visitors in front.

But, as this past week has shown, Rovers can react well to going down and it didn't take them long to go back on level terms.

After Lee Williamson had been fouled right on the edge of the area, the returning Tom Cairney took the 18-yard free-kick, it was low and round the wall with Jordan Rhodes running onto the ball to poke home in the opposite corner for Rhodes' 21st goal of the season.

Aside from an excellent save by Paul Robinson to deny an offside Rodriquez, the remaining play in the first half was centered firmly towards the Seagull's goal

Rhodes glanced a header wide after good work from Cairney and Craig Conway, then former Brighton loan man Conway crossed for David Dunn but his header deflected wide.

Four minutes before the break Rovers' pressure told and it was a tale of the two Tom's. Tommy Spurr showing great speed to race into the area to square to the back post to where Tom Cairney fired home from an acute angle with a rare right-footed strike.

Rovers came out strongly in the second half as they looked to put daylight between themselves and Brighton.

A Craig Conway cross almost found the back of the net as it deflected off defender Bruno to loop over Tomasz Kuszczak but the ball struck the far post.

Jordan Rhodes then stung the gloves of the Polish international, before Conway saw a shot tipped behind.

Next it was Tom Cairney's turn to shoot goalwards, but again Kuszczak was equal to his efforts.

Both sides made changes, Dale Stephens, Kazenga Lualua and Solly March on for the visitors, Chris Taylor and Joshua King on for Rovers.

It was Albion midfielder Solly March who caught the eye, he saw a dangerous cross from the byline flash across the box, before Paul Robinson was forced into an excellent one-handed save to deny him.

Those threats weren't heeded as the visitors drew level on 79 minutes. Kazenga Lualua scuffed a corner kick to the near post and Gordon Greer was able to escape the clutches of his marker to flick the ball home at the near post.

Rovers came back and on 85 minutes they earned their first penalty kick at Ewood Park this season after Rhodes was sandwiched between two defenders when attempting to get on the end of a Craig Conway cross.

Kuszczak tried to delayed proceedings, but Rhodes wasn't flustered and he cooly slotted home as the Albion goalkeeper dived in the opposite direction.

But holding onto a lead has been Rovers' achilles heel and that came back to haunt them once more as just 90 seconds later Jesse Lingard has too much room down the left to cross and Dale Stephens arrived unmarked to head home to make it 3-3.

Rudy Gestede was thrown on in the final minutes as Rovers looked to regain and he had the last chance of the game but he couldn't direct his back post header on target.

Rovers have little time to dwell on the draw as Ipswich Town are the next visitors to Ewood Park this Saturday.

ROVERS: Robinson; Keane, Hanley (c), Kilgallon, Spurr; Cairney, Evans (sub Taylor 68 mins), Williamson (sub Gestede 88 mins), Conway; Dunn (sub King 70 mins), Rhodes.

Subs not used: Eastwood (GK), Kane, Varney, Feeney.

Goals: Rhodes 25 mins, 86 mins (pen), Cairney 41 mins

Booked: None.

BRIGHTON: Kuszczak, Bruno, Greer (c), Andrews, Rodriguez (sub Lualua 75 mins), Ward, Forster-Caskey (sub March 63 mins), Ulloa, Upson, Lingard, Ince (sub Stephens 46 mins).

Subs not used: Brezovan (GK), Dunk, Calderon, Lopez.

Goals: Rodriguez 17 mins, Greer 79 mins, Stephens 88 mins

Booked: March, Bruno.

Attendance: 12,332 (including 272 visiting supporters)

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