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21 October 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 3 Portsmouth 0

The Blues are up to sixth after a big win at Ewood Park

21 October 2017

Rovers returned to winning ways with a comfortable 3-0 victory over Portsmouth on a wet and windy day at Ewood Park.

In a dominant first-half display, Danny Graham struck the bar, before the lively Harry Chapman set up Bradley Dack to score his second goal in as many games.

After the interval, the hard-working Graham grabbed a goal he deserved, stroking the ball into the bottom corner from the edge of the box.

Rovers were forced to play the final three minutes with 10 men, as substitute Dominic Samuel was sent off for kicking out at a Portsmouth player, but Craig Conway wrapped up the win with a lovely lob over the keeper in the 90th minute. 

Having claimed just a point from the two previous fixtures against Plymouth and Oldham, it was a near-perfect performance to round off the week.  

Ahead of the game, Chapman was handed his first league start of the season after a string of impressive introductions from the bench. 

The young winger was one of two changes from the midweek draw against Plymouth, with Paul Downing also coming back into the starting line-up following a hamstring strain.

That meant Ryan Nyambe moved across to his more familiar right-back role, with Paul caddis and Marcus Antonsson dropping to the bench.

They were joined in the dugout by Corry Evans, who was fit enough to make the 18 after recovering from an ankle injury.

It was a special day for the Bennett family, as brothers Elliott (Rovers) and Kyle (Portsmouth) lined up against each other for the first time in league football.

Rovers made a bright start, penning Portsmouth back deep inside their own half in the opening quarter of an hour, but without reward. 

The visitors were happy just to soak up the pressure and look to play on the break.

The first real chance of the game went Rovers' way on 21 minutes. A ball into the box was laid off by Graham to Dack, who curled a shot just wide of the far post.

On 25 minutes, Richie Smallwood let fly from fully 35 yards out and his powerful swerving shot had to be palmed over the bar by Luke McGee. 

The hosts went closer still moments later. Smallwood slipped the ball through to Dack, whose shot was saved by the legs of McGee and Graham's follow-up clipped the top of the crossbar.

Against the run of play, Portsmouth almost opened the scoring on the half-hour mark. Nathan Thompson crossed from the right, Kyle Bennett volleyed goalwards and David Raya had to tip the ball around the post.

The goal Rovers' dominance deserved arrived on 38 minutes. Chapman did brilliantly to win possession, before driving at the Portsmouth defence. He then slipped in Dack, who smashed a shot into the top right corner. 

Rovers picked up where they left off after the break, on the front foot, with Charlie Mulgrew stinging the palms of McGee from a free-kick on 54 minutes.

Moments later, Oliver Hawkins headed over the bar on a rare foray forward from the visitors.

From Rovers' next attack, they doubled their lead with a well-worked move. Bennett played the ball to Williams in space, the full-back drove forward before finding the feet of Graham, who coolly stroked the ball into the bottom corner from the edge of the box.

As the conditions worsened and the tempo of the game slowed, chances became less frequent.

Kyle Bennett and substitute Brett Pitman fired just wide from distance at one end, whilst Peter Whittingham's low drive just missed the target at the other.

On 84 minutes, Conway countered quickly, before playing in fellow substitute Samuel, but he dragged his shot just wide of the far post.

That would prove to be Samuel's last involvement as he was shown a straight red card for kicking out at defender Christian Burgess moments later.

Rovers then wrapped the game up in the 90th minute as Conway latched onto a loose ball, before scampering past the Pompey defence and delicately lifting the ball over the advancing McGee for his first of the season. 

Up next for Tony Mowbray's men is a trip to high-flying Wigan Athletic next weekend. 

ROVERS: Raya, Nyambe, Downing, Mulgrew, Williams, Smallwood, Whittingham, Chapman (Conway 68), Bennett, Dack (Evans 76), Graham (Samuel 74). 
Subs not used: Leutwiler, Caddis, Gladwin, Antonsson.

Goals: Dack (38), Graham (58), Conway (90)
Booked: Nyambe
Sent off: Samuel

PORTSMOUTH: McGee, Clarke, Burgess, O'Keefe, Hawkins (Pitman 63), Kennedy (Naismith 76), Donohue, Lowe, Thompson, Bennett (Chaplin 64), Close.
Subs not used: Bass, Rose, Evans, Haunstrup.

Booked: Donohue.

Attendance: 11,673 (1,209 Portsmouth fans)

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