Report: Rovers 2 Derby County 3
Rovers suffered their first home league defeat of the season in five-goal thriller at Ewood Park.
Ben Marshall put Rovers in front inside a minute but the visitors roared back thanks to goals from Jamie Ward and Will Hughes to lead at the break.
The Rams then grabbed a controversial third through Ward before Rudy Gestede made it 2-2 with 12 minutes to go to set up a pulsating end to the match.
As Rovers threw everything at Derby in the final few minutes substitute Shane Duffy almost scored with his first touch as he headed onto the crossbar.
It was a valiant effort, but try as they might, Rovers just couldn't grab the all-important third goal to earn a share of the spoils.
It was an unchanged Rovers side that took to the field against the Rams, boss Gary Bowyer keeping faith with the squad that defeated Wigan Athletic 3-1 at Ewood at the weekend.
The visitors made three changes from their Sunday draw with Nottingham Forest as Zak Whitbread replaced the suspended Jake Buxton, whilst Cyrus Christie and Jamie Ward swapped places with Ryan Shotton and Johnny Russell who dropped to the bench.
Rovers were certainly out of the traps quickly as they took the lead inside the first 52 seconds.
Man of the moment Ben Marshall needed no second invitation to shoot as he latched onto a Tom Cairney pass, his effort deflecting off Derby captain Richard Keogh before looping past keeper Lee Grant and into the back of the net.
But credit to the visitors, they responded quickly and effectively, evening up the scores on 9 minutes. Simon Dawkins spreading play to Craig Bryson who's ball across the area deflected perfectly into the path of Jamie Ward and the returning forward made no mistake by blasting home.
Spurred by their equaliser the Rams went close to taking the lead just four minutes later, Bryson fizzing an effort narrowly over the crossbar.
After that whirlwind start the game settled down somewhat with the visitors seeing the more of the ball.
Aside from an Alex Baptiste ball that flashed across goal and a Corry Evans poked effort that was cleared, it was Derby who were carrying much the greater threat.
That was emphasised on 37 minutes when the visitors took a deserved lead, Ward this time the provider for Will Hughes who bent the ball beyond Paul Robinson to complete the turnaround.
It could have been three before the break as Hughes found Chris Martin unmarked but he volleyed over the bar.
Rudy Gestede tested Derby keeper four minutes into the second half, the striker turning well with his back to goal to left fly only to be denied by Grant's fingertips as he touched the ball around the post.
But it was the Rams who got the crucial next goal on 58 minutes, albeit in controversial circumstances.
As Craig Conway looked to shield the ball he was brought down from behind by Jamie Ward, but as Rovers waited for a whistle that never came, Ward advanced towards goal before curling a superb left-footed strike into the far corner.
Craig Conway fired narrowly wide as Rovers looked to hit back straight away, whilst Ward was denied a hat-trick goal by Robinson at his near post.
Ryan Tunnicliffe was introduced on 65 minutes as Rovers looked to wrestle momentum back, Conway the man to make way, almost immediately he broke through the centre but his ball for Jordan Rhodes was cut out.
The loan man then found space in the centre to feed Tom Cairney in the area, but he slipped at the vital moment.
The home side were then denied twice in quick succession as they pressed from a corner, Grant denying Hanley, before a Baptiste header was cleared off the line by Zak Whitbread.
Rovers set up a barnstorming final 12 minutes when Rudy Gestede made it 2-3 with an opportunist goal. Taking a throw from Marshall, the Benin international controlled the ball on his chest before turning and poking the ball past Grant at the near post.
From the restart Rovers roared forward once more, Tom Cairney inches away from levelling as his 25-yard effort was tipped over the bar, the midfielder carrying much more of a threat after moving to the right.
But the visitors weren't without their moments in front of goal either, Paul Robinson having to be alert to beat away a Chris Martin shot, before Rams substitute Jordan Ibe could only find the side netting after getting the better of Alex Baptiste.
Rovers made a late double change as Luke Varney and Shane Duffy were introduced, Irishman Duffy almost scoring with his first touch as he headed a Marshall corner onto the bar.
Everything was thrown forward in the final exchanges as Rovers did all they could to grab a late leveller, but despite a sustained spell of pressure, Derby held out to claim all three points.
ROVERS: Robinson; Baptiste, Hanley (c), Kilgallon (sub Varney 89 mins), Olsson; Conway (sub Tunnicliffe 65 mins), Cairney, Evans (sub Duffy 90 mins), Marshall; Gestede, Rhodes.
Subs not used: Steele (GK), King, Williamson, Taylor.
Goals: Marshall 1 min, Gestede 78 mins.
DERBY: Grant, Christie, Forsyth, Bryson, Keogh (c), Dawkins (sub Ibe 73 mins), Martin, Ward (sub Russell 73 mins), Eustace, Whitbread, Hughes (sub Mascarell 82 mins).
Subs not used: Roos (GK), L. Naylor, Thomas, Shotton.
Goals: Ward 9, 58 mins, Hughes 37 mins.
Booked: Ward, Eustace.
Attendance: 13,566 (including 677 visiting supporters).