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Rovers Review: December

A look back on how December 2017 went for an upwardly mobile Rovers following a great November

19 July 2018

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Following a terrific November, could the momentum from that excellent month take Rovers through to the festive period?

A home FA Cup clash against Crewe Alexandra kicked the month off, and after initially going to plan, the nine-man hosts were forced into a replay back at the Alexandra Stadium. A strong start saw Rovers go 3-0 up against the League Two side inside the opening 20 minutes, with Dominic Samuel bagging a brace and Danny Graham also scoring. But after Rekeem Harper was sent off after giving away a penalty, Chris Porter slotted home to give the visitors hope. And hope turned to joy for Crewe after Elliott Bennett was sent off and ex-Rovers Eddie Nolan scored a header before Porter did similar soon after and the tie went to a replay.

Rovers were on the road the following Saturday, with a tricky test at Peterborough being the game. The hosts got off to a great start thanks to former Newcastle man Steven Taylor heading home to give Posh the lead, and that was how it stayed for the remainder of the first half. But Rovers came flying out of the blocks and turned the game on it's head, with Charlie Mulgrew continuing his fine form in front of goal before a Bradley Dack brace - one of which was voted your Goal of the Season - put us 3-1 up. Jack Marriott scored from close range late on, but Rovers held on for a valuable three points to take back to East Lancashire.

The return leg at Crewe came soon after on the 13th of the month, and a Danny Graham strike in the snow was enough to send Rovers through to face Hull City at home in the next round.

Back at Ewood three days later, Rovers were keen to keep their long, unbeaten run going when Charlton Athletic made the long trip up from south-London. An own goal from ex-Rover Leon Best handed us the lead on the half hour mark before Danny Graham continued his fine form by scoring from close range after Joe Nuttall's dinked cross.

Two days before Christmas saw Rovers head to struggling Northampton with the aim of tucking into their turkey three points better off, but it wasn't to be after a somewhat lacklustre display from the under-the-weather side. Initially named in the XI, Charlie Mulgrew was ill in the warm up and had to sit out the clash. Sam Foley's header gave the hosts a shock lead at Sixfields, but Rovers improved after the break and when Bradley Dack equalised it looked like we'd go on to win. A missed Marcus Antonsson penalty late on meant Rovers would go home disappointed to only draw 1-1.

An own goal from Kgosi Ntlhe and a Charlie Mulgrew penalty gave Rovers the perfect Boxing Day first half when Rochdale made the short trip to East Lancashire, and that was enough to earn all three points against Keith Hill's side.

Two poacher strikes from Danny Graham twice gave Rovers the lead against Scunthorpe United at Ewood four days later for our final game of 2017, but on two occasions the Iron bounced back thanks to goals from Kevin van Veen and then Conor Townsend late in the second half to share the spoils in an entertaining 2-2 draw.

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