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30 December 2017 Venue Ewood Park Attendance

Kick off 15:00 (UK)

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English Football League - League One

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Match Reports

Report: Rovers 2 Scunthorpe 2

Rovers end 2017 with a draw after letting leads slip at Ewood Park

30 December 2017

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Danny Graham's brace wasn't enough as Rovers twice let a lead slip in an entertaining 2-2 draw with Scunthorpe United at Ewood Park.

Graham scored early in each half to hand Rovers the lead on two occasions, but the visitors, who started the game a place and two points behind Tony Mowbray's side, battled back to earn a point.

It was a tale of two slip ups from Rovers which assisted Scunthorpe's fightback, despite the hosts dominating the majority of the match.

On a positive note, it's now 14 domestic games unbeaten for Rovers, who end 2017 just outside the top two in League One.

Boss Mowbray made one change to the XI; Peter Whittingham returning to the starting lineup, replacing Corry Evans in the only alteration to the side who started the Boxing Day win over Rochdale.

Mowbray was boosted by Dominic Samuel's return to the squad, with the striker starting on the bench against the Iron after missing the last two games due to sickness.

However, both Craig Conway and Joe Nuttall missed out through illness, with the duo both picking up the virus that has spread through the Rovers camp in the last week or so.

For the visitors, ex-Rover Josh Morris started on his return to Ewood Park. The winger made 22 appearances for Rovers after coming through the youth system before departing in 2015 for Bradford City.

It turned out to be the perfect start for Rovers as excellent play down the right from Bradley Dack and Ryan Nyambe saw the right back pick out Graham. The striker fired goalwards and the shot was too hot for Matt Gilks to handle, with the ball falling over the line and into the net.

But to their credit, the visitors responded excellently and found a quickfire equaliser just five minutes later.

The ball found forward Kevin van Veen on the right who fired at goal and beat David Raya at his near post to level things up.

It was turning into a cagey affair with neither side creating too much, but Hakeeb Adelakun went close just before the half hour mark; shooting a couple of yards over Raya's upright.

Just a moment later and Elliott Bennett forced Gilks into a full stretch save down low to his right to tip the winger's sweetly struck 25-yard drive around the post.

Rovers were upping the ante and Derrick Williams tested Gilks with a header after getting on the end of Whittingham's lofted ball in from the left.

The same pair combined just before the break but Williams' header from Whittingham's free kick ended up finding the roof of the net rather than the back of it as Rovers continued to press for a second goal.

Just 90 seconds into the second half and Rovers regained the lead with Graham grabbing his and his side's second goal.

Dack floated a ball over to Marcus Antonsson at the back post, who in turn found Graham and the number 10 slotted home his eighth goal of the season.

A superb counter attack just six minutes later almost saw Rovers grab a third but Bennett's pass was a little too strong for Dack and the ball was cleared before Dack tested Gilks just a minute later.

And Rovers were punished soon after as another mistake led to Scunthorpe levelling things up again with Conor Townsend tucking past Raya on 55 minutes.

Duane Holmes' cross from the right wasn't dealt with by Bennett who missed his clearance and Townsend gobbled up the opportunity from close range despite Raya getting a touch.

At the other end, Morris' strike took a deflection and was fortunately easy for Rovers' Spanish stopper before Antonsson fired over the bar after cutting in from the left for Rovers.

Antonsson tested Gilks at his near post just a minute later after getting the better of Charlie Goode as the hosts searched for a third goal.

But the Iron came again and Raya had to be alert to tip Holmes' bouncing strike clear of danger with 20 minutes remaining as the game became more stretched.

Rovers were getting closer and Dack cracked the post after a neat pass from Richie Smallwood as Mowbray's men looked to turn the screw with ten minutes remaining.

Dack went close to winning the game twice for Rovers late on but his first strike went wide and his second - from a free kick - was held by Gilks and the points were shared.

The result keeps Rovers in third place, but Mowbray's men have an opportunity to put more pressure on the top two when they visit Rotherham on Monday afternoon at the New York Stadium.

Rovers: Raya, Nyambe, Downing, Mulgrew (c), Williams, Smallwood, Whittingham, Bennett, Dack, Antonsson (Hart, 72), Graham (Samuel, 63).

Unused substitutes: Leutwiler, Ward, Caddis, Tomlinson, Evans.

Goals: Graham, 7, 47

Scunthorpe United: Gilks (c), Townsend, Wallace, Ojo, van Veen (Novak, 72), Morris, Hopper, Adelakun (Sutton, 83), Holmes, Goode, Burgess.

Unused substitutes: Watson, Madden, Lewis, Church, Butroid.

Goals: van Veen, 12, Townsend, 55

Attendance: 12,784 (882 away).

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