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Match Reports

Match Report : 18/08/2015

18 August 2015

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Report: Rovers 1 Cardiff City 1

Grant Hanley rescued a point for Rovers with a goal two minutes from time in an exciting 1-1 draw at Ewood Park.

One sloppy moment five minutes into the game almost proved costly until the captain's timely finish to secure a point for the home side.

It was a disaster of a start from Rovers point of view as a poor clearance from David Raya was seized upon by Lee Peltier and he found Joe Mason who gave Cardiff a fifth minute lead.

Rovers looked for a way back but were frustrated in the final third, Fode Koita saw a header ruled offside, before Hope Akpan and Shane Duffy saw great chances spurned.

The second half continued in similar fashion with Nathan Delfouneso unlucky to see his volley strike the crossbar, whilst Duffy and Hanley went close.

The final stages saw everyone thrown forward and Rovers' perseverance finally paid off in the 88th minute.

After a corner was initially cleared, Craig Conway sent the ball back into the box and Hanley pounced at the back post.

Added time saw Rovers threaten further, with goal line clearances and unheeded penalty appeals, but they couldn't get the three points their play deserved.

Rovers went into the match looking for a strong start but inside five minutes they found themselves a goal behind - and it was all of their own making.

Guilty of over-playing at the back, keeper David Raya opted to pass short to the recalled Tommy Spurr, he in turn was caught in possession by Lee Peltier, and the defender's centre was swept home by a gleeful Joe Mason.

Rovers immediately looked to get back on level terms, Fode Koita on home debut heading into the arms of David Marshall from a Craig Conway free-kick, before an interception from Shane Duffy saw the Irishman race forward. But with attacking options left and right the defender opted to shoot and dragged his effort well wide.

Despite those Rovers opportunities, it was the Bluebirds who carried much the greater threat, enjoying the better possession where it counted.

Cardiff midfielder Joe Ralls took advantage of the acres of space to test Rovers from distance, Raya fumbled the midfielder's strike, the young Spaniard grateful for his captain Grant Hanley for a desperate clearance as the visitors closed in.

Seconds later fellow Cardiff midfielder Kigasho Dikgacoi was next to try his luck with a similarly well-struck effort, but the 25-yard shot flashed inches wide.

Rovers ended the first half strongly with a host of chances that should have seem them on level terms but they were left frustrated in front of goal.

First the lively Koita saw a header from a Spurr free-kick chalked off. The Frenchman denied a debut goal in blue and white by the linesman's flag having strayed into an offside position.

Then from a Spurr long throw the ball ran through to Hope Akpan, but on his first start, his goal-bound header was clawed away by keeper Marshall on the line.

Rovers kept the ball alive with the home side doing everything but levelling.

Conway's centre skimmed the head of Koita but Nathan Delfouneso couldn't apply the finish. The ball deflected to Duffy who took a wild swipe at the ball six-yards out, but it only found the back of the stand.

It was a strong end to the half from Rovers, but their sloppy play at the beginning meant they trailed at the break.

After ending the first half in the ascendency, Rovers were forced into a change at the break with Koita picking up a knee injury, needing to be replaced by Modou Barrow. The Swansea speedster operating up front alongside Delfouneso.

With the added injection of pace there was a much-needed urgency to Rovers' play at the start of the second half.

On 57 Delfouneso was inches away from grabbing his third goal in successive games. Having controlled the ball on his chest the forward turned and hit a sweet shot on the volley, but the ball took just enough of a deflection on it's way to goal to ensure it was the crossbar that was struck.

Duffy threatened from the resulting corner kick, but the defender couldn't keep his header down.

Set-pieces looked to be Rovers' best way to get on level terms. A Conway free-kick skimmed the head of Ben Marshall, but Hanley couldn't find the back of the net with his back post header, the ball going the wrong side of the upright.

A further change followed just past the hour mark as Danny Guthrie replaced Adam Henley, with Jason Lowe switching to right-back, whilst the visitors also made a change, Kenwyne Jones - who scored against Rovers in the corresponding game last season - replacing Alex Revell up front.

With the visitors offering little as an attacking threat as the closing stages saw Rovers send Duffy up front to add to their forward options, but it was his defensive partner who would grab the all-important equaliser two minutes from time.

As an initial corner was cleared, Craig Conway sent the ball back into the are and Grant Hanley arrived at the back post to fire home with aplomb.

Boosted by the equaliser Rovers pressed for a winner in time added on. Hanley saw a close-range header claimed by Marshall in the Cardiff goal, before an almighty scramble in the box saw Cardiff somehow clear.

In the end Rovers will be disappointed to have only taken a point from the game because of the chances creating in both halves, but similarly, they'll be grateful for Hanley's timely finish to claim at point.

ROVERS: Raya, Henley (sub Guthrie 62 mins), Duffy, Hanley (c), Spurr, Marshall, Lowe, Akpan, Conway, Delfouneso, Koita (sub Barrow 46 mins).

Subs not used: Steele (GK), Kilgallon, Olsson, Williamson, O'Sullivan.

Goals: Hanley 88 mins.

Booked: Akpan, Duffy.

CARDIFF: Marshall (c), Peltier, Morrison, Whittingham, Ralls, Mason (sub Noone 85 mins), Pilkington, Dikgacoi (sub Gunnarsson 74 mins), Connolly, Revell (sub Jones 65 mins), Malone.

Subs not used: Moore (GK), Fabio, Doyle, Ameobi.

Goals: Mason 5 mins.

Booked: Connolly, Peltier, Morrison.

Attendance: 12025 (including 377 visiting supporters)

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