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Rovers Review: November

A look back on how Rovers got on in November 2017

20 June 2018

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November was to prove one of those months where we'd look back on and really feel that we stamped our authority on the division after a tricky start to life in League One...

Rovers began the month in FA Cup action, with League Two side Barnet visiting Ewood Park for the first ever meeting between the two sides. Simeon Akinola gave the visitors a shock lead in East Lancashire, but Rovers battled back and responded well with three second half goals from Joe Nuttall, Danny Graham and Marcus Antonsson earning progress into the second round of the competition.

Three days later and another cup competition saw Rovers head to Rochdale for a Checkatrade Trophy clash at Spotland. Things didn't start well, with Scott Wharton seeing red in the early part of the game, but just before the break it was Tony Mowbray's side who took the lead as Joe Nuttall bagged his second goal in 72 hours. Ex-Rover Jordan Slew equalised late on for the hosts and Keith Hill's side went on to win 5-3 on penalties.

Following an international break, Rovers had to wait 11 days until their next game, but a trip to Bury really saw Mowbray's men turn on the style in front of a crowd that had more of our fans than the hosts. Bradley Dack was the star of the show as he grabbed both assists for Marcus Antonsson's first half brace before scoring one of his own from long range in the second half to earn a 3-0 victory on the road.

Confidence was high heading into a trip south to take on Oxford United at the Kassam Stadium, and Rovers were at it straight from the off. Two from Charlie Mulgrew either side of Marcus Antonsson's tap in saw Rovers race into a three-goal lead just 22 minutes into the encounter. Jack Payne - who would go on to sign for us in the January transfer window - pulled one back just before half time to give the hosts hope of a comeback. But Joe Nuttall added a fourth with 20 minutes to go and although John Obika scored late on, Mowbray's side held on for a 4-2 away win.

Back on home turf later that week, we hosted Bristol Rovers at Ewood Park for another crunch game, and it was to be a real tight affair against Darrell Clarke's outfit. After a goalless first half, Ellis Harrison put the visitors in front with an excellent finish just before the hour which prompted a double-change from Tony Mowbray in putting Danny Graham and Dominic Samuel straight into the action from the bench. And those substitutions paid dividends for the boss as Samuel was felled in the box and Charlie Mulgrew stepped up to slam home the penalty to level the scores. Rovers tails were up and soon after it was Samuel who grabbed the winner, heading home to earn Rovers a priceless 2-1 home victory.

After three straight wins, confidence was flowing through the Rovers camp, and things were to get even better for Mowbray's men, for our Tuesday night trip to Blackpool at the end of the month. Marcus Antonsson continued his rich vein of form to open the scoring at Bloomfield Road, and although Kelvin Mellor's planted header equalised for the home side, Bradley Dack found the net just before half time. Centre back pairing Charlie Mulgrew and Paul Downing added to our tally just after the hour, and although Danny Philliskirk grabbed a late consolation, our trip to the seaside was another memorable one for the Rovers faithful.

Following our brilliant month, Charlie Mulgrew and Tony Mowbray deservedly earned the Player of the Month and Manager of the Month awards respectively. 

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