Rovers 1-1 Brighton
It was last-gasp heartache for Rovers as they were held to a 1-1 draw with Brighton & Hove Albion at Ewood Park on Tuesday evening.
Michael Appleton was mere seconds away from earning his first win as Rovers boss which would have been fully deserved after Jordan Rhodes first half penalty put the home side in control.
The first half was a closely run contest, but it was Rovers who had kept Kuszczak in the Brighton goal the busier of the two, and that was the same in the second half as the Seagull's stopper denied Kazim-Richards and Rhodes with excellent saves to prevent the home side doubling their lead.
Five additional minutes were shown at the end of the ninety but just as it looked as Rovers had seen it through to gain a valuable three points, substitute David Goodwillie fouled David Lopez in the box, Lopez making no mistake to break Rovers' hearts.
For his second game in charge Michael Appleton made two changes from the side that tasted defeat on Saturday.
Morten Gamst Pedersen and Markus Olsson both returned to the starting eleven with Ruben Rochina dropping to the bench and Simon Vukcevic missing out.
The first half was an open attacking affair with both sides attacking well early on. The 13th minute saw Rovers threaten first from a Morten Gamst Pedersen free kick into the box, Scott Dann connected well but the ball skimmed off the back of Inigo Calderon to go narrowly over.
Then a flowing move two minutes later saw Jordan Rhodes feed Colin Kazim-Richards on the right, he found Jason Lowe charging forward but his first-time shot was tipped wide by Tomasz Kuszczak tipped the ball wide of goal.
Brighton followed that up with a strong run down the flank from Wayne Bridge, his cross coming off a Brighton head before it reached Ashley Barnes but the forward couldn't find the target with his header.
Liam Bridcutt had Jake Kean scrambling across his area with a shot from distance, the midfielder's effort just flashing wide of the post.
From that point onwards it was all Rovers as they ended the first half strongly. Morten Gamst Pedersen testing Kuszczak with a dipping volley as the home side pressed.
Their reward came just as the 45 minutes were up, a penalty awarded after Adam El-Abd had hauled down Pedersen in the box. Jordan Rhodes stepped up to make no mistake from 12 yards for his fifth consecutive league goal.
Brighton started the second half on the front foot but to a man Rovers battled superbly.
There was no better example of this than in the 53rd minute when after Ashley Barnes had fed Vincete in the area, Danny Murphy got back to make an all-important block.
Rovers grew with confidence and started to threaten once more. Martin Olsson fired over after good work from Jason Lowe before Colin Kazim-Richards found the side-netting after being teed up by Pedersen.
On 78 minutes a fine tackle from Pedersen allowed Kazim-Richards another sight of goal, Kuszczak just about clawing the ball away from goal.
With five minutes left of the ninety the former Manchester United 'keeper was called upon to make another key save. Martin Olsson's centre from the left was nodded back across goal by Pedersen for Jordan Rhodes to see his looping header tipped aside by the Pole.
As the clock ticked over into added time an astonishing five minutes were shown, and it looked like Rovers had seen out the game, particularly after David Lopez had headed onto the roof of the net from Jake Kean's punched clearance.
But on 96 minutes David Goodwillie was a little too eager to get to the ball in his own box, pushing over Lopez in the area, like the first half the linesman flagged for the penalty kick and the Spaniard Lopez made no mistake from the spot.
It was a devastating end to the match for a Rovers side who had worked tirelessly throughout and would have been full value for the three points against a highly-rated Brighton side.
ROVERS: Kean, Kane, Dann, Hanley, Martin Olsson, Markus Olsson (sub Goodwillie 85 mins), Lowe, Murphy (c), Pedersen, Kazim-Richards, Rhodes.
Subs not used: Usai (GK), Givet, Fabio Nunes, Dunn, Nuno Gomes, Rochina.
Goals: Rhodes 45 mins.
Booked: Pedersen, Martin Olsson, Lowe.
BRIGHTON: Kuszczak, Greer (c), El-Abd, Barnes (sub Hoskins 66 mins), Orlandi (sub Mackail-Smith 55 mins), Calderon, Vicente (sub Buckley 55 mins), Dicker, Lopez, Bridcutt, Bridge.
Subs not used: Ankergren (GK), Hammond, Painter, Lualua.
Goals: Lopez 90+7 mins.
Booked: Barnes, Buckley, Bridcutt.