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Match Reports

Match Report : 23/04/2016

23 April 2016

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Report: Rovers 2 Bristol City 2

Danny Graham struck a brace as Rovers had to come from behind to draw with ten-man Bristol City at Ewood Park.

After a slow start at Ewood Park it was Graham who opened the scoring on 18 minutes with the home side's first sight of goal, sweeping home a centre from Jordi Gomez.

As Rovers missed chances to extend their lead, City could have levelled before the break as Bobby Reid struck the post.

But two goals in four second half minutes turned the game on it's head. First substitute Jonathan Kodjia levelled on 70, before Aaron Wilbraham put the Robins in front.

With Rovers staring at a fourth consecutive home defeat, they were thankful for Graham once more. The on-loan striker rising highest to nod home Jason Lowe's centre for his sixth goal for the club.

The visitors would end the match with ten man after Korey Smith saw red, but Rovers couldn't take advantage of the extra man as the points were shared.

At a chilly Ewood Park it was the visitors who were the stronger of the two sides in the opening minutes, forcing Rovers back with a pair of early corners.

But once the home side clicked into gear they were celebrating the opening goal of the game on 18 minutes.

Matt Kilgallon made progress down the left to feed Gomez, and the Spaniard's near post centre was swept home left-footed by Graham.

Rovers had opportunities to extend their advantage against a shell-shocked Robins side. Gomez, the only change from the midweek draw at Nottingham, unafraid to try his luck from distance, but his 25-yard strike was high over the bar.

Moments later a strong forward run by Corry Evans set Gomez into the penalty area, he beat his man before shooting across goal, but his effort was once again just wide of the far post.

But Rovers could have regretted those missed opportunities as the visitors were almost gifted a 37th minute equaliser.

Jason Steele threw the ball straight to Bobby Reid, but after getting the better of Grant Hanley in the area the Bristol man was unlucky to see his shot bounce off the near post and behind.

Rovers ended the first half with another sight of goal, but Gomez was just off target with a long-range strike.

The visitors were forced into a change at the break as Aiden Flint, who required treatment in the first half after landing awkwardly, didn't reappear. Alex Pearce on as his replacement.

And like the first it was City with the early pressure at the start of the second half, giving Rovers a couple of nervy moments in defence from corners, whilst a deflected Bobby Reid shot from distance saw Steele scampering across his line to save.

At the other end Kilgallon set Graham racing forward, the striker back-heeled the ball to into the path of Ben Marshall, but on his left foot he shot across goal and wide.

Both sides made changes as Craig Conway replaced Connor Mahoney, and Jonathan Kodjia replaced Reid, and it would be the Robins' top scorer who would fire the visitors level with 20 minutes to go.

It was Rovers' inability to put any pressure on the ball that lead to their downfall as Korey Smith and Kodjia exchanged passes with ease before the Frenchman's scuffed effort somehow beat Steele and nestled into the back of the net.

Four minutes later Lee Johnson's side completed the turnaround as Rovers were cut apart once more.

Substitute Luke Ayling started the move after beating Kilgallon, and as passes went unchallenged, Aaron Wilbraham slid the ball home at the back post to make it 2-1 to the visitors.

But on 80 Rovers were thankful for Graham once more as he notched his second of the afternoon as Jason Lowe delivered a peach of a ball into the box, the striker rose to head into the back of the net.

With four minutes remaining the visitors were reduced to ten men after Korey Smith saw red after an altercation with Grant Hanley. The City midfielder inexplicably thrusting his hands into the face of the Rovers captain as he laid on the floor after a headed clearance.

But despite having the man advantage Paul Lambert's side weren't able to put their opponents under any undue pressure in the closing stages.

The closest they came to grabbing a late winner was when Marshall forced a save from Richard O'Donnell with a long-range strike. The resulting corner saw Elliott Ward threaten but the defender couldn't get his shot away to leave Rovers having to settle for a point.

ROVERS: Steele, Lowe, Ward, Hanley (c), Kilgallon, Mahoney (sub Conway 63 mins), Akpan, Evans (sub Lenihan 86 mins), Marshall, J. Gomez (sub Jackson 76 mins), Graham.

Subs not used: Raya (GK), Grimes, Duffy, Bennett.

Goals: Graham 18, 80 mins.

Booked: None.

BRISTOL CITY: O'Donnell, Flint (sub Pearce 46 mins), Smith, Tomlin, Golbourne, Reid (sub Kodjia 63 mins), Baker, Wilbraham (c), Pack, Bryan, Matthews (sub Ayling 56 mins).

Subs not used: O'Leary (GK), Wagstaff, Freeman, Odemwingie.

Goals: Kodjia 70 mins, Wilbraham 74 mins.

Booked: None.

Off: Smith.

Attendance: 12,752 (including 785 visiting supporters)

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