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Match Reports

Report: Rovers 2 Fleetwood 2

Find out how Tuesday's match at Ewood Park unfolded

31 October 2017

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Bradley Dack scored for the third home game running and Joe Nuttall grabbed a goal on his league debut, as Rovers were held to a 2-2 draw by Fleetwood at Ewood Park.

After a goalless first half, Dack opened the scoring on 53 minutes, heading home his fourth of the season after Danny Graham had seen his shot saved.

Fleetwood levelled soon after when David Raya produced a smart save to deny Ashley Hunter, but substitute Aiden O'Neill was on hand to slot home the rebound. 

Rovers introduced Nuttall midway through the second half and the youngster made an instant impact, firing Rovers back in front on 77 minutes with a predatory finish from close range.

However, the hosts were unable to see the game out, as another substitute, Wes Burns, bundled the ball over the line from a corner after Raya failed to hold on.  

Tony Mowbray's side had strong appeals for a penalty waved away in the closing stages, as Sam Hart's shot looked to strike an arm in the box, but Rovers were forced to settle for a point.

Ahead of the game, Mowbray made one change to the side which drew 0-0 at Wigan at the weekend, with Graham coming into the starting line-up in place of the suspended Elliott Bennett.

With Dominic Samuel also suspended and Harry Chapman ruled out with a hamstring injury, that meant a place on the bench for young striker Nuttall, who has netted 12 goals for Rovers' Under-23s this season.

Rovers started brightly, with Peter Whittingham seeing a long-range strike deflect over and Derrick Williams heading a Charlie Mulgrew cross over the bar in the opening minutes. 

Fleetwood then came close to taking the lead with their first attack on nine minutes, as Bobby Grant unleashed a crisp left-foot strike from the edge of the area, which forced a fine fingertip save from Raya.

Grant tried his luck again on 25 minutes, with an ambitious volley from 25 yards out, which Raya held onto well just below his bar.

Rovers were enjoying plenty of possession, but were struggling to find a way to break down Fleetwood's back five.

On the half-hour mark, Craig Conway's deep cross was brought under control by Marcus Antonsson, who then blazed high over the bar.

Rovers threatened again on 38 minutes, as Dack skipped past a couple of challenges, before seeing his shot saved by the legs of Alex Cairns.

A minute later, Dack drove forward again, before slipping the ball through to Antonsson, whose shot was beaten away by the Fleetwood keeper.

Richie Smallwood picked up his fifth booking of the season on the stroke of half-time, as the two teams headed down the tunnel still looking to make the breakthrough.

And it arrived less than eight minutes into the second half.

Williams delivered a delightful cross to the back post, where the unmarked Graham saw his volley somehow kept out by Cairns, but Dack was on hand to head home the rebound.
The lead didn't last long however, as Fleetwood equalised on 65 minutes. A long ball forward was flicked on by Jordy Hiwula to Hunter, who saw his shot saved, but O'Neill was on hand to stroke home the follow-up.

Rovers responded by bringing on Corry Evans for Smallwood and Nuttall for his league debut in place of Graham.

And the switch had the desired effect.

Soon after, Antonsson twice went close in quick succession, before Williams' sweet strike from outside the area was a whisker wide of finding the far corner.

Then, on 77 minutes, Rovers regained the lead. A deep cross from the right was headed back across goal by Williams and Nuttall was in the right place to fire the ball into the roof of the net. 

However, five minutes later and Fleetwood hit back again. George Glendon's corner from the right was spilled by Raya and Burns bundled the ball over the line.

Rovers had strong appeals for a penalty waved away on 87 minutes when Hart's shot looked to strike an arm, but the referee remained unmoved. 

The point takes Rovers back into the top six, still with a game in hand on most of the teams above.

ROVERS: Raya, Nyambe, Downing, Mulgrew, Williams, Smallwood (Evans 69), Whittingham, Conway, Antonsson (Hart 81), Dack, Graham (Nuttall 69). 
Subs not used: Leutwiler, Caddis, Harper, Gladwin. 

Booked: Smallwood, Williams.
Goals: Dack (53), Nuttall (77)

FLEETWOOD: Cairns, Coyle, Bell, Eastham, Hiwula (Burns 73), Dempsey, Grant (O'Neill 46), Bolger, Glendon, Hunter, Cargill (Cole 60). 
Subs not used: Neal, Pond, Schwabl, Sowerby.

Goals: O'Neill (65), Burns (82)
Booked: O'Neill


Attendance: 10,399 (430)

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