Blackpool 2 Rovers 2
Rovers rescued a point at the death in a pulsating Lancashire derby at Bloomfield Road.
The home side lead twice after both sides scored from the spot, Tom Ince opening the scoring for Blackpool before Jordan Rhodes did likewise to equalise. But it was the Seasiders who lead at the break after Dan Gosling's long-range strike crept home.
Rovers piled on the pressure in the second half each had a man sent off, DJ Campbell and Jack Robinson red carded after flashpoint in the Blackpool six-yard box.
Gary Bowyer's side got their reward, eventually, as a 92nd minute free-kick from Tom Cairney skimmed off the head of Steve Davies and into the back of the net.
It was the least Rovers deserved in what was a dramatic ending to a dramatic derby.
Rovers made two changes for the short trip to the seaside. Lee Williamson and Alan Judge coming in with Ben Marshall and Leon Best dropping to the bench.
That meant a first start of the season for Williamson whilst Judge returned to the starting eleven for the first time since the end of August.
From the off it was the home side who showed the greater attacking threat, Stephen Dobbie with a dangerous ball across the area, following on from Jack Robinson's early cross that was claimed by Jake Kean.
The Rovers stopper was then called upon to make an important double save as he parried Tom Ince's centre before getting to his feet to brilliantly deny Dobbie on the rebound.
The front duo of Ince and Dobbie were causing Rovers plenty of problems but it was the other forward, Ricardo Fuller, who helped the home side make the break through.
As Fuller hustled his way into the penalty area under the close attentions of Matt Kilgallon, the veteran striker eventually went to ground with referee Paul Tierney having no hesitation in pointing to the penalty spot.
Tom Ince took the honours from 12 yards and made no mistake as he rolled the ball into the left corner of Kean's net as the 'keeper dived in the opposite direction.
Rovers quickly looked for a way back into the game, a break saw Jordan Rhodes cross for Josh King to take aim, but his shot on the half-volley flew just over the bar.
They continued to press, threatening with a couple of corners, one eventually went out for a throw from which Tommy Spurr thrust into the centre, the ball bobbled around in the box before it fell to Rhodes to shoot, the ball striking the arm of defender Jack Robinson and the referee once again pointed to the spot.
Jordan Rhodes stepped up and made no mistake, rolling the ball into the corner with Gilks diving the other way.
Boosted by their 21st minute leveller, Rovers went in search of a second. Great work by Jason Lowe almost fashioned a chance for Rhodes but he just couldn't reach the ball in the area with an outstretched boot.
It was breathless at Bloomfield as chances at either end within seconds followed. Scott Dann heading off his own line to deny Jack Robinson, then, as Rovers broke, Tom Cairney fed Alan Judge but his shot was beaten away by Gilks before King lashed over the rebound when well placed.
A second goal did follow but it wasn't for Rovers as the Seasiders grabbed the lead once more six minutes before the break.
There seemed little on for loan-man Dan Gosling but as the midfielder let fly from distance an unsighted Jake Kean watched on in horror as the ball crept into the bottom corner of the net.
Rovers perhaps should have been level straight away at the start of the second half. A superb through ball from Tom Cairney saw Rhodes advance on goal, but surprisingly he chose to square for Josh King but the Norwegian international couldn't get his shot away under the close attentions of Chris Basham.
Then Cairney went close himself with a free-kick from the touchline that almost crept in under the crossbar until Gilks' timely intervention.
The lively Stephen Dobbie then replied for the home side, his fizzing effort flashed just past the post via the aid of a deflection.
On the hour DJ Campbell made his Bloomfield Road return, replacing the hardworking Alan Judge as Rovers looked for a way back into the match. The striker getting a mixed reception from the home fans.
Rovers were seeing more of the ball, but chances were still hard to come by. Good play by Josh King down the left saw him win a free-kick but Jordan Rhodes could only head Tom Cairney's centre into the arms of Matt Gilks.
Blackpool then made two changes in quick succession as forwards Steve Davies and Tom Barkhuizen replaced Ricardo Fuller and Stephen Dobbie.
Following a Tommy Spurr centre there was a frantic scramble in the Blackpool area as Basham headed off his own post, Rovers kept play alive before DJ Cambpell crossed for Tom Cairney but he put the ball inches wide when it seemed easier to score.
Gary Bowyer then made a second change as Chris Taylor was sent on in place of Lee Williamson, allowing Tom Cairney to move into the centre of midfield.
But despite Rovers having the majority of the play the home side still posed a threat on the break, Tom Ince crashing an effort just wide of Jake Kean's goal. Before substitute Tom Barkhuizen then took a pot shot from outside the box but Kean claimed high and well.
With less than ten minutes to go both teams were reduced to ten men after an altercation in the area.
Despite the offside flag already raised as Jordan Rhodes saw a shot saved, DJ Campbell closed in to pounce on the rebound but it was claimed by Gilks.
Both sets of players then proceeded to push and shove in the six yard box, a whole host of them ending up inside the goals as the tension rose.
The upshot was a red card for both Campbell and Blackpool defender Jack Robinson, whilst Leon Best was also shown a yellow card for joining in the melee off the bench.
Tempers continued to flare as the referee had to stop play to talk to both captains.
Scott Dann was sent up front as a makeshift partner for Jordan Rhodes as the match entered the final throes, Matt Kilgallon even joined the attack on more than one occasion.
2200 Rovers fans urged their heroes on as five additional minutes were shown and in the 92nd minute their support was rewarded as the visitors grabbed a deserved equaliser.
Chris Taylor had been fouled on the near touchline, and as Tom Cairney sent the free-kick into the box, the ball skimmed off the head of Steve Davies and flew into the back of the net.
There was still time for more drama as Rovers pressed for a winner, Tommy Spurr's long throws causing mayhem in the Tangerine box, on one occasion the ball came out to Tom Cairney at the death but his shot was straight into the arms of Gilks.
It was a lively end to a Lancashire derby that didn't disappoint.
BLACKPOOL: Gilks, Basham, Broadfoot, MacKenzie, Robinson, Angel, Gosling, Dobbie (sub Barkhuizen 72 mins), Bishop, Ince, Fuller (sub Davies 71 mins).
Subs not used: Warner (GK), Grant, Chopra, Zeegelaar, Tyson
Goals: Ince 13 mins (pen), Gosling 39 mins.
Booked: Gosling, Dobbie.
ROVERS: Kean, Kane, Dann (c), Kilgallon, Spurr, Lowe, Williamson (sub Taylor 78 mins), Cairney, Judge (sub Campbell 60 mins), King, Rhodes.
Subs not used: Eastwood (GK), Best, Marshall, Marrow, Morris.
Goals: Rhodes 21 mins (pen), Davies (OG) 90+2 mins.
Booked: Spurr, Williamson, Best.