Rovers 2-3 Peterborough United
A first half hat-trick from Dwight Gayle gave Rovers too much to do as they lost 3-2 to Peterborough United at Ewood Park.
Rovers had a shocking first 45 minutes as the visitors scored three unanswered goals. Gayle grabbing two in quick succession to see the home side trail 2-0 inside 13 minutes, by the half hour it would be three as the striker grabbed his hat-trick.
Rovers could have reduced the scoreline before the break but Jordan Rhodes blazed from close-range over after Scott Dann had been denied.
Unimpressed, the manager made three changes at the break. Giving debuts to David Jones and Cameron Stewart, as the pair, along with Adam Henley, were introduced.
Those changes had the desired effect as Rovers looked much the brighter side in the second half. Hopes rose when Jordan Rhodes fired a goal back on 73 minutes.
David Jones then marked an impressive debut display with a second for the home side in added time, but it proved to be mere consolation as Rovers couldn't make any further advances as time ran out on their comeback.
Back on home soil Michael Appleton made just the one change from the side that lost 3-0 away at Leicester City in midweek.
Markus Olsson the man to come into the side with Morten Gamst Pedersen dropping to a substitute's bench that contained new signings Cameron Stewart and David Jones.
Looking to get back to winning ways Rovers couldn't have had a worse possible start at Ewood Park.
They were already warned when Danny Swanson wasted a great chance on seven minutes, firing wide with just Jake Kean to beat, but he, and Peterborough, would make amends moments later.
It was Swanson who forced two near post saves on eleven minutes before the third attempt fell to Dwight Gayle the in-form striker firing the visitors in front from close-range high into the roof of the bet.
Two minutes later and the lead was doubled as Rovers failed to deal with a cross from the left and Gayle headed across goal and into the far corner of the net. It was the striker's 9th goal since joining Peterborough from Dagenham in November.
Inside 30 minutes the young forward was celebrating his and Peterborough's third goal. Lee Tomlin was given too much time and space to shoot from the edge of the box, Kean did well to save the midfielder's effort but was powerless as Gayle had time and space to fire home the rebound.
Jordan Rhodes wasted an excellent chance to reduce the deficit on 38 minutes, but after Bobby Olejnick had saved brilliantly to deny Scott Dann, the Rovers' top-scorer lashed the rebound high over the bar.
The visitors threatened once more before the break. A quick counter-attack from Peterborough saw Danny Swanson steer a shot just beyond Jake Kean's left-hand post.
Rovers response was to make a triple change at the break as Adam Henley was joined by debutants David Jones and Cameron Stewart. Bradley Orr, Danny Murphy and David Bentley the players making way as the manager looked for a way back into the game.
The changes added more attacking impetus to Rovers, but they still struggled to carve open chances. The referee's whistle thwarting the home side on a couple of occasions in goalmouth scrambles from corner.
With David Jones snapping at the heels of the opposition the momentum was slowly turning in Rovers' favour, fellow sub' Cameron Stewart advanced before letting fly but his effort was straight at Olejnick.
With 17 minutes to go Rovers pulled a goal back when a misplaced pas was seized upon by Jordan Rhodes, the striker shrugged off the challenge of Michael Bostwick before lashing left-footed into the roof of the net.
Rovers kept pressing, DJ Campbell pulled the ball back for Jason Lowe to strike but the ball flashed a foot wide, then Adam Henley fired goalwards only to see his shot saved.
With four minutes to go Rovers thought they'd scored once more when a cross from Stewart saw Rhodes hook the ball goalwards, as Olejnick slide to claim the players appealed that he had cross the line but the officials waved away the shouts.
David Jones capped an impressive second half display by grabbing Rovers' second in added time, the midfielder doing well to get the ball under control before curling it beyond Olejnick and into the corner of the net.
It was an impressive response from the team in the second half but it came too late as the final whistle blew to condemn Rovers to defeat.
ROVERS: Kean, Orr (sub Henley 46 mins), Dann, Hanley, Rekik, Bentley (sub Stewart 46 mins), Lowe, Murphy (c) (sub Jones 46 mins), Markus Olsson, Campbell, Rhodes.
Subs not used: Sandomierski (GK), Givet, Pedersen, Nuno Gomes, .
Goals: Rhodes 73 mins, Jones 90+2 mins.
Booked: Lowe, Dann.
PETERBOROUGH UNITED: Olejnick, Zakuani, Bostwick, Swanson (sub Newell 78 mins), Tomlin, McCann, Rowe (c), Little, Payne, Gayle, Menez-Laing (sub Ferdinand 76 mins).
Subs not used: Day, Alcock, Brisley, Barnett, Knight-Percival.
Goals: Gayle 11, 13, 27 mins.