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Rovers Review: August

A look back at the 2017-18 campaign, starting with the opening month of the campaign

4 June 2018

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Hopes, dreams and expectations started the month of August off, with many demanding an instant return to the Championship ahead of a month which totalled four league games and three cup outings...

A trip to the seaside was on the cards on the opening day and 1,555 Rovers fans made the long journey down to Essex to soak up the Southend sunshine with the aim of returning to East Lancashire with the three points.

But it wasn't to be, and despite an outstanding Charlie Mulgrew free kick, it counted for little. First half goals from Ryan Leonard and Michael Kightly resulted in Rovers returning north empty handed for their efforts.

There was a chance to bounce back in the EFL Cup three days later though and bounce back they did. It was a return to Coventry City for boss Tony Mowbray, who of course spent 18 months with the Sky Blues prior to linking up with Rovers.

Corry Evans got Rovers off to a flyer as he smashed home from range, only for Duckens Nazon to equalise soon after.

But new signing Richie Smallwood was on hand to fire home another long range effort  just after the half hour mark to give Rovers the lead once again.

Into the second half and another summer signing bagged his first goal of the season as former Coventry loanee Dominic Samuel notched from close range to send Rovers into round two.

A chance to get back on track in the league came with our first game at Ewood Park in 2017-18, with Doncaster Rovers making the trip to East Lancashire.

But things didn't go to plan as three second half goals from John Marquis, a James Coppinger penalty and an Alfie May tap in knocked the stuffing out of Rovers.

Samuel grabbed a late consolation with his second goal in a week but Rovers were still waiting to get off the mark in League One.

A tough test followed as Rovers made the trip to Valley Parade to take on a Bradford side who reached the League One play-off Final just a couple of months earlier and hadn't lost at home in the league in over a year.

A tightly-contested first half saw the score remain as it started at the break. But following a pinpoint Craig Conway cross from the left, Samuel was there to produce a diving header and that was the difference as Rovers started their climb up the table.

A break from the league saw near neighbours Burnley visit Ewood in the second round of the EFL Cup on the 23rd day of the month.

A hotly-contested clash saw Sean Dyche's side run out victors thanks to first half goals from Jack Cork and Robbie Brady.

A chance to make it back-to-back League One wins was soon on the agenda though with a visit from MK Dons just three days later.

And it was to be a memorable afternoon for everyone involved with the club.

Derrick Williams opened the scoring early on into the game with a thumping effort before racing off for that celebration, only for Ed Upson to even things up a little while later.

But a few moments later and Mulgrew found the net with another one of his trademark free kicks to hand Rovers the advantage going into half time.

With 13 minutes to go, Mulgrew completed his brace with a header from a couple of yeards out before Samuel added to his and Rovers tally to make it an emphatic 4-1 win at Ewood.

It was a good end to what was a tricky start to life in League One and a solitary goal from new boy Joe Nuttall proved to be the difference between Rovers and Stoke City Under-21s in the Checkatrade Trophy to earn a 1-0 victory.


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