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Kick off 19:45

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13 December 2016 Venue Ewood Park Attendance

Kick off 19:45

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Report: Rovers 2 Brighton 3

Gallagher double not enough to prevent Rovers from slipping to defeat.

13 December 2016

Sam Gallagher scored a fine second half brace but it wasn't enough as ten-man Rovers slipped to a narrow 3-2 loss to Brighton & Hove Albion.

The win for the Seagulls sees them go to the top of the Sky Bet Championship table as Rovers suffered a second successive 3-2 defeat.
 
Shane Duffy returned to haunt his former employers when he headed the opening goal just past the quarter hour. But the visitors were grateful for a fine David Stockdale save as he kept out Danny Graham's near-post strike.
 
Dale Stephens stretched the visitor's advantage in the second half, but although Gallagher quickly made it 2-1, Rovers were then reduced to ten men as Gordon Greer saw red for two bookable offences.
 
Brighton substitute Glenn Murray added a third, and whilst Gallagher plundered his second of the night with almost the last kick of the game, it would prove to be mere consolation.
 
Ahead of the match Rovers made two changes from the side that tasted defeat to Preston on Saturday evening.
 
Into the starting eleven came former Brighton defender Gordon Greer, who replaced the injured Charlie Mulgrew, whilst Marvin Emnes got the nod ahead of Liam Feeney who dropped to the bench.
 
Tonight's visitors also made two changes as Jiri Skalak and Tomer Hemed came in for Jamie Murphy and Glenn Murray.
 
Despite the heavy Lancashire rain it was a lively opening under the Ewood lights with both sides looking to gain an early advantage.
 
Just three minutes in and Sam Gallagher robbed Brighton captain Bruno Saltor on the left wing, his cross diverted into the path of Jason Lowe but the midfielder's shot was deflected wide. The resulting corner from Craig Conway sparked an almighty scramble in the six-yard box but Danny Graham was unable to force the ball over the line.
 
The Seagulls immediately sent the ball long upfield to Sam Baldock, but Jason Steele saved the striker's shot low down at his post.
 
Rovers continued to enjoy the greater possession, but from a Brighton corner the visitors would grab a 16th minute opener.
 
Oliver Norwood sent the ball in from the left and the familiar figure of Shane Duffy rose highest to power home his first goal following his move from Rovers to the south coast at the end of August.
 
Despite the disappointment of going behind, Rovers maintained their attacking play, pinning their opponents back for long spells.
 
That patience almost paid off on 31 minutes when they went close to getting back on level terms through man of the moment Graham. A Derrick Williams ball into the area was chested into the path of the striker who blasted the ball goalwards but David Stockdale pulled off a sensational near-post save.
 
Rovers then thought they should have been awarded a penalty when Conway went down under the challenge of Sebastien Pocognoli, but referee Oliver Langford ignored the blue and white appeals.
 
The visitors were content to soak up the pressure and hit Rovers on the break. Steele slid along the increasingly skiddy surface to keep out shots from Baldock and Jiri Salak, whilst Anthony Knockaert was well off target with a sighter from distance.
 
Emnes saw a shot deflect wide as the first half drew to a close. His short corner with Conway would be played to Ben Marshall who let fly from outside the box, Stockdale just about getting enough behind the shot to prevent it crossing the line.
 
Jason Steele was called into early action as the second half got under way, the Rovers number one diving to his left to palm away a speculative strike from outside the area from Skalak.
 
Whilst at the other end Marshall took advantage of the space in front of him to race goalwards before letting fly with a left-foot shot from 25-yards, the ball just clearing the corner of post and bar.
 
But despite the even start to the second half it was the Seagulls who grabbed the all-important second goal.
 
Norwood hit a free-kick into the Rovers penalty area, and although Darragh Lenihan headed clear, it was straight to Stephens lurking on the edge of the box and he hit a sweet volley into the far corner of the goal.
 
Yet within five minutes Rovers had reduced the deficit. Conway with a ball into the area that Stockdale couldn't fully clear under pressure from Graham, but whilst Williams failed to get a clean connection on his shot, Gallagher had no such worries as he blasted through the bodies and into the back of the net.
 
But any hopes of a way back into the game effectively ended when Rovers were reduced to ten men on 74 minutes. Gordon Greer had earlier seen yellow for a second half foul on Tomer Hemed, and when Skalak went to ground under a challenge soon after the defender received his marching orders for a second bookable offence.
 
Taking full advantage of the extra man the visitors added a third goal in the closing stages. Steele couldn't hold a low shot from Lewis Dunk and substitute Glenn Murray cheekily chipped home the rebound.
 
The Seagulls had chances to stretch their advantage further as Murray and Skalak both fired wide. But it was the impressive Gallagher who plundered a fantastic second goal as he raced clear from half-way to smash the ball past Stockdale in the final minute of added time for his 9th of the season.
 
Alas there was little time for Rovers to press for one last chance as the referee blew to signal a second successive 3-2 defeat.
 
ROVERS: Steele, Marshall, Lenihan, Greer, Williams, Gallagher, Lowe (c), Evans (sub Akpan 56 mins), Conway, Emnes (sub Feeney 73 mins), Graham.
 
Subs not used: Raya (GK), Byrne, Stokes, Nyambe, Bennett.
 
Goals: Gallagher 67, 90+4 mins.
 
Booked: Greer 61 mins, Lowe 71 mins, Gallagher 84 mins.
 
Off: Greer 74 mins.
 
BRIGHTON: Stockdale, Saltor (c), Dunk, Stephens, Skalak, Baldock (sub Sidwell 83 mins), Hemed (sub Murray 72 mins), Knockaert (sub March 90 mins), Pocognoli, Norwood, Duffy.
 
Subs not used: Ankergren (GK), Bong, Goldson, LuaLua.
 
Goals: Duffy 16 mins, Stephens 62 mins, Murray 80 mins.
 
Booked: Skalak 13 mins, Norwood 43 mins.
 
Attendance: 9,976 (including 426 visiting supporters)

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