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Kick off 15:00 (UK)

10 February 2018 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 Oldham Athletic 2

Mulgrew and Armstrong goals see Rovers fightback to draw at home to the Latics

10 February 2018

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Birthday boy Adam Armstrong grabbed a second half equaliser as Rovers came back from the dead to draw 2-2 at home to Oldham Athletic at Ewood Park.

Armstrong, who turned 21 on the day, smashed home just eight minutes after a trademark Charlie Mulgrew free-kick got the hosts back into the game.

The double came after Duckens Nazon's first-half brace put the Latics in command before the break.

But a much-improved second-half display earned Rovers a point against Richie Wellens' side, who finished the game with 10 men.

Rovers boss Tony Mowbray made two changes for the clash from the side that suffered a first defeat in 19 at Plymouth last weekend.

Mulgrew made his return after missing out on the last two outings against Walsall and at Plymouth and slotted into the left-sided centre-back position, replacing Armstrong, who dropped to the bench.

Also heading out was Craig Conway, with loanee Jack Payne coming in to replace the Scot, who was also a substitute.

The tweaks meant Amari'i Bell moved further forward to play on the left flank, whilst Payne returned to the XI and took up a place on the right of a three-man attacking midfield bunch behind Danny Graham.

For the visitors, ex-Rovers man Jack Byrne started. The Irishman appeared seven times for the club on loan from Manchester City in the first part of last season.

And they also included players with famous relatives in captain Anthony Gerrard - cousin of ex-Liverpool and England star Steven - and substitute Jonathan Benteke - a recent signing and brother of Crystal Palace and Belgium frontman Christian.

A lively opening couple of minutes saw Payne test goalkeeper Johny Placide, whilst up the other end Craig Davies forced David Raya into a low stop to his left.

It was a quieter following spell but on 26 minutes the visitors grabbed the lead through Haiti international frontman Nazon.

The loanee beat Ryan Nyambe and evaded the challenge of Richie Smallwood, went one-on-one with Raya, and although the Spaniard got something on the attempt, he failed to stop the striker from putting Oldham a goal up.

Rovers were struggling to create, with the only response being Payne's shot drifting wide of Placide's left-hand post.

And further disaster struck seven minutes before the break as Oldham bagged a second of the afternoon, and it came from that man Nazon again.

The Wolves loanee latched onto a ball forward, deceived Mulgrew and saw his low drive find the bottom corner.

The hosts had it all to do and Elliott Bennett tried his luck from range to no avail with a couple of minutes to go until the break as Rovers struggled for fluidy.

When half time did arrive, Mowbray made a double change with Lewis Travis and Armstrong entering the action and replacing Paul Downing and Smallwood.

The swaps resulted in a shift in formation as Mowbray opted to utilise Travis and Bell initially in the wing back roles with Nyambe slotting into a back three alongside Mulgrew and Derrick Williams.

Rovers did improve, but the visitors were resolute, and if anything it looked like they would nick the next goal.

Just before the hour mark, Northern Irishman Cameron Dummigan foraged forward from right back and forced Raya to hold onto his long range strike.

A moment later and Graham glanced a header wide of the target as Rovers tried to engineer a route back into the match.

Mulgrew tried his luck but saw Placide parry his bouncing free kick behind for a corner as the hosts attempted to up the gears.

Mowbray jiggled the pack further at this point, with Bennett switching to the right and Travis moving to central midfield to act as the anchorman in the centre of the park. 

And the switch proved dividends for Rovers as Travis was taken out on after a confident solo run, which left Mulgrew to step up and whip a sublime 25-yard free kick into the top corner to give the hosts hope of a comeback and notch his 12th goal of the campaign.

The pendulum was starting to swing in the home side's favour and Graham headed a whipped Mulgrew corner narrowly wide as Rovers started the create more opportunities.

A couple of minutes later and Mowbray's men did find that equalising goal. A hoof forward from Raya was flicked on by Graham to Bradley Dack, who in turn fed Armstrong, and the loanee cooly swept home at the near post to beat Placide and net his first goal for the club.

It was all Rovers now, and Payne saw his drive blocked as the promotion chasers searched for a winning goal with 20 minutes to go, before the same player forced Placide to expertly tip over his venomous strike soon after.

A superb Dack cross saw Armstrong leap excellently but his header fell inches past the post with 10 minutes to go as the home side continued to press for a late winner.

A moment later and the visitors were reduced to 10 men as Wilfried Moimbe picked up a second yellow for hauling down a rampaging Bennett down the right.

It was wave after wave of Rovers attacks, and, roared on by the home support, Dack dragged an effort wide as Rovers cranked up the pressure on a vulnerable Oldham backline, before Armstrong watched on as his sweet strike flew just past Placide's left-hand post.

Rovers created half-chances late on but couldn't find a way past Placide for the third time, despite eight minutes added time, as Mowbray's men had to make do with a point.

Rovers are next in action on Tuesday night when the team travel to Portsmouth's Fratton Park in League One.

Tickets remain for the trip to Hampshire, and you can purchase yours by clicking here.

Rovers: Raya, Nyambe, Downing (Travis, 46), Mulgrew (c), Williams, Bennett, Smallwood (Armstrong, 46), Payne, Dack, Bell, Graham.

Unused substitutes: Leutwiler, Samuel, Caddis, Conway, Evans.

Goals: Mulgrew, 62, Armstrong, 70.

Oldham: Placide, Dummigan, Moimbe, Gerrard (c), Bryan, Fane, Byrne (Obadeyi, 72), Gardner, Pringle, Nazon (Holloway, 72), Davies (Wilson, 85).

Unused substitutes: De La Paz, Nepomuceno, Benyu, Benteke.

Goals: Nazon, 26, 38.

Booked: Pringle, 31, Fane, 45, Davies 62, Moimbe, 64, 82.

Sent off: Moimbe, 82.

Attendance: 13,665 (2,294 away).

Referee: Darren Drysdale.

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