Rovers 3-0 Forest
A whirlwind second half display saw Rovers score three unanswered goals to start 2013 with a convincing win over Nottingham Forest.
After the first half had been a tight affair the game sprang into life two minutes into the second half when Ruben Rochina was the grateful recipient as Daniel Ayala's clearance cannoned off the forward and into the back of the net.
A fantastic fingertip save from Jake Kean saw the young goalkeeper deny Billy Sharp and after that Rovers took full advantage with two goals in the space of four minutes.
Rovers' second inevitably came from top scorer Jordan Rhodes, beating defender and goalkeeper to Morten Gamst Pedersen's threaded pass to fire home from a tight angle.
The third soon followed and it was started and finished by Colin Kazim-Richards. The loan star finding a willing runner in the form of Adam Henley and as the ball was swept back towards the area Kazim-Richards lashed home.
Forest pushed for a way back into the game, but the attitude, commitment and desire was top notch from Rovers as they registered the perfect start to 2013.
For his second game in temporary charge Gary Bowyer made one change from the side that had defeated Barnsley at the weekend.
Colin Kazim-Richards, introduced at the start of the second half in the 3-1 win at Oakwell, was back in the starting eleven, replacing the man he replaced on Saturday, Simon Vukcevic. The Montenegrin missing out through injury.
The opening exchanges gave an indication as to how the first half would play out as Rovers and Forest both showed plenty of endeavour but chances were few and far between.
Alex McLeish's side threatened early but Simon Cox was denied on two occasions by excellent tackles from Scott Dann and Grant Hanley.
Rovers then tested the Forest goal on 11 minutes, Ruben Rochina seeing a shot claimed at the second attempt by goalkeeper Lee Camp after good work from Martin Olsson and Joshua King as the home side started to come more into the game.
Just past the midway point Rovers were awarded an indirect free-kick in the Forest penalty area after Camp handled Danny Collins' back pass. Danny Murphy tapped the ball to Colin Kazim-Richards but his shot was blocked by the massed wall.
Rovers continued to pose the greater threat without ever creating clear-cut opportunities. Josh King saw a near post shot turned aside by Camp, whilst Colin Kazim-Richards volleyed a Martin Olsson cross onto the roof of the net from a tight angle.
The start to the second half saw Rovers up their game and they deservedly took the lead on 48 minutes, albeit with some fortune.
Joshua King certainly has pace and he showed a clean pair of heels to his marker to stretch the Forest defence, Ruben Rochina took up possession to take the ball to the edge of the area and as defender Daniel Ayala slid in to tackle the ball rebounded against the shins of Rochina and crept past Lee Camp and into the bottom corner of the net.
Moments later Rochina was the provider with a wonderful cross-field pass for Jordan Rhodes but he struck the ball narrowly wide.
The key moment of the second half happen on 57 minutes. Forest really hadn't threatened too much in the game, but as Dan Harding crossed into the box Billy Sharp found rare space and headed goalwards. It seemed destined for the bottom corner but Jake Kean pulled off an amazing fingertip save to keep the ball out.
From then on it was all Rovers, Grant Hanley wasted a great chance with a header from Ruben Rochina's corner kick, the young Scot putting the ball narrowly wide.
Rochina soon made way for Morten Gamst Pedersen and the Norwegian would go on to play a key role as Rovers grabbed a second on 75 minutes.
An interception from Pedersen set Rovers on the attack, Colin Kazim-Richards shielding the ball before playing it onto Pedersen who slid the ball across the box to where Jordan Rhodes somehow got to the ball ahead of Camp and Collins before turning and finding the back of the net with a cute finish from a tight angle.
Rhodes had started 2012 with a goal against Notts County. He started 2013 with a goal against their city rivals.
Rovers were rampant and four minutes later a third duly arrived.
Again it was a flowing move, Colin Kazim-Richards starting and finishing the move, setting Adam Henley away on the right before reaching the return pass to smash the ball home from the edge of the box for an emphatic finish.
With the game wrapped up it was all about keeping the clean sheet and to a man the team worked to ensure that. There was a no better indication of that than five minutes from time when a Greg Halford shot Danny Murphy got back onto the line to clear the ball away. From the resulting corner kick Morten Gamst Pedersen was there to head away.
'Barmy Army' rang out around the ground as Rovers saw out the remaining minutes to clinch their first win of 2013, their first clean sheet and back-to-back wins.
ROVERS: Kean, Henley, Dann, Hanley, Martin Olsson, Lowe, Murphy (c), Kazim-Richards, King (sub Markus Olsson 73 mins), Rochina (sub Pedersen 61 mins), Rhodes (sub Goodwillie 90+2 mins).
Subs not used: Usai (GK), Nuno Gomes, Morris, Rosado.
Goals: Rochina 48 mins, Rhodes 75 mins, Kazim-Richards 79 mins.
Booked: Murphy, Kazim-Richards, Lowe.
FOREST: Camp, Harding, Collins (c), Moussi, Guedioura (sub Blackstock 73 mins), Reid, Halford, Cox, Lansbury (sub Cohen 64 mins), Sharp, Ayala.
Subs not used: Evtimov (GK), Gillett, McGugan, Moloney, Majewski.