The return of Anton Forrester proved to be the high point for Eric Kinder on an otherwise disappointing evening for Rovers' Under-21s on Wednesday.
The striker marked his return from a nine-month injury lay-off to score twice against Derby County at Ewood Park last night, but Rovers ended the match on the losing side in a 4-3 thriller.
Forrester sustained both a cruciate and medial knee ligament injury whilst on loan at Bury last March, but he showed no signs of rustiness against the Rams, much to the delight of Kinder.
"In the first half if I’d been on Derby County’s staff I’d have been wondering why we had come in 3-1 down," said the Rovers coach. "But we took our chances.
"I thought we had a decent start, and we were always going to be a threat up front with Kingy and Anton Forrester, who I was really pleased for because he’d been out for such a long time.
"You don’t expect anything from a player kicking a ball for the first time in nine months but he got himself two goals and he had a great battle with their centre half.
"I’m really pleased he’s back on the road to full fitness because he’s worked ever so hard. He’s ahead of schedule which is a great to him so let’s hope he can kick on now.
"Those two up front gave us a focal point which we could hit and we knew we could always get the ball in behind and if we got crosses then we knew we would cause trouble."
Rovers carried a goal threat with King and Forrester up front, but chances dried up after the break as both made way, with Kinder far from impressed with the way his side performed in the second half.
"Them two coming off, one coming back from nine months and the other who needed a bit of game time, I don’t believe they can make such a difference to the side. We were weak, we were poor in the second half.
"Some of the players were out of position but that’s reserve-team football. They didn’t grab that opportunity and I thought we were physically and mentally weak and they were miles better than us.
"We’ve got to have a look at ourselves as players and staff as that’s unacceptable what happened in the second half. It was so disappointing, it’s really hard to talk about it."
The Under-21s return to action after the Christmas break with an away match against Bolton Wanderers on Monday 5th January at the Lancashire FA County Ground, Leyland.