Report: Rovers 0 Hull City 2
Rovers suffered their first defeat in five outings as they went down 2-0 at home to Hull City.
Two unanswered strikes from Abel Hernandez and Mohamed Diame saw the visitors return to the top of the table with an impressive second half showing.
With two of the meanest defences in the league going head-to-head opportunities were at a premium in the opening 45. Hernandez and Diame going close for the visitors, whilst Ben Marshall and Craig Conway tested Allan McGregor at the other.
But it was in the second half were the Tigers showed their credentials with two goals on the counter in the space of ten minutes.
On 53 minutes Hull claimed possession on halfway with Diame sending Hernandez clear and he rounded Jason Steele to score.
The roles were reversed ten minutes later as Hernandez teed up Diame to double the visitors' advantage.
Between the goals Elliott Ward saw an effort cleared off the line, but it was Tigers sub Chuba Akpom who could have stretched Hull's advantage in the closing stages but Steele saved well.
The result leaves Rovers still looking for their first league win of 2016, Fulham are the visitors to Ewood Park this Tuesday night.
Paul Lambert handed three home debuts for the visit of Hull City.
After impressing last week at Middlesbrough, Elliott Ward, Tony Watt and Jordi Gomez were all given their first Ewood starts.
The manager was forced into three changes from the draw at the Riverside as injuries to Grant Hanley (shoulder) and Danny Graham (hamstring) meant they weren't risked. Then Hope Akpan pulled out of the warm-up after feeling unwell.
That meant Shane Duffy claimed a berth in the heart of the Rovers defence, as well as the captain's armband, with Simeon Jackson and Craig Conway also starting.
The visitors made one change from the side that lost narrowly at Burnley, with Tom Huddlestone getting the nod ahead of Isaac Hayden, and it was the Tigers who had the better of the opening exchanges.
After Abel Hernandez had lashed well wide, the Uruguayan then struck the post, but the flag had already been raised as his strike-partner Mo Diame was offside in the build-up.
Sam Clucas saw a poked effort comfortably saved before Rovers fashioned their first sight of goal on 15 minutes.
Rovers worked the ball well down the right and with space opening up for Ben Marshall, he cut inside to let fly with a left-footed shot, but Allan McGregor got down to parry.
More intricate passing involving Darragh Lenihan, Craig Conway and Jordi Gomez saw the Spaniard feed the Scot, but Conway's low shot from distance was easily claimed.
But it was the visitors who were the livelier in front of goal as Diame showed great skill to skip past a pair of challenges, but he fizzed his strike narrowly over the bar.
It was an intriguing first half with both sides enjoying their moments with Rovers ending the first half with a sight of goal. Good work from Conway down the left saw him feed Watt in the area, he saw his shot blocked, it ran to Darragh Lenihan but his strike deflected narrowly over the bar.
Hull started the stronger of the two sides as the second half got underway, Hernandez and Sam Clucas going close. And it wouldn't take the Tigers long before they got on the scoresheet.
Tommy Spurr was caught in possession upfield and the visitors took full advantage, breaking quickly, Diame got the better of Ward to thread the ball to Hernandez and he rounded the onrushing Steele before slotting home.
Gomez saw a header deflect wide as Rovers looked for an immediate response, the resulting corner kick reaching Elliott Ward at the back post but his side-footed strike was cleared off the line by Andrew Robertson.
But despite that flurry of Rovers chances it was Hull who doubled their advantage just after the hour mark. Huddlestone with a clever ball over the top that saw Hernandez beat the offside trap and he squared for Diame to tap home.
As Rovers huffed and puffed in an attempt to get their forward play going, it was Steve Bruce's side who continued to threaten on the counter.
A third goal almost followed on 78 minutes as Robertson raced through on the break, he teed up substitute Chuba Akpom but Steele made a fine save.
Rovers' best chance of a way back into the game looked to be from a set-play. A short corner from Gomez teed up Marshall who shot from the corner of the area, but McGregor beat the ball away.
Then a Craig Conway free-kick was only cleared as far as Evans, but the Northern Ireland international saw his effort palmed away by the Hull keeper.
But that was a close as Rovers came to getting on the scoresheet as the Tigers saw the remaining minutes out comfortably to return to the top of the Championship table.
For the home side, they need to pick themselves up quickly, Fulham are the visitors to Ewood Park on Tuesday night.
ROVERS: Steele, Marshall, Ward, Duffy (c), Spurr, Evans, Conway, Lenihan, J. Gomez, Watt (sub Brown 56 mins), Jackson (sub Bennett 74 mins).
Subs not used: Raya (GK), Henley, Kilgallon, Taylor.
HULL CITY: McGregor, Odubajo, Davies, Huddlestone, Hernandez (sub Akpom 76 mins), Snodgrass (sub Elmohamady 81 mins), Clucas, Livermore, Diame (sub Meyler 86 mins), Dawson (c), Robertson.
Subs not used: Jakupovic (GK), Maguire, Hayden, Diomande.
Goals: Hernandez 53 mins, Diame 63 mins.
Attendance: 13,902 (including 1311 visiting supporters)