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Report: West Bromwich Albion 1 Rovers 1

Your Rovers battlers secure a point on the road despite ending the game with the King of Ewood in goal!

27 October 2018

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Rovers produced a battling and heroic performance to take a point against West Bromwich Albion despite ending the game with Richie Smallwood in goal.

The visitors were forced to play out the final part of the game with a man light after David Raya was forced off with injury with all three substitutes already used.

That resulted in Smallwood making a debut in goal and earn himself a clean sheet for his efforts.

The drama all started when Craig Dawson opened the scoring in the first half before Rovers equalised through a stunning Harrison Reed strike.

Rovers had to ride out a storm late on, but they held on for an excellent point against a Baggies side who many believe will be up towards the top of the table come May 2019.

Tony Mowbray named five changes for his return to the Hawthorns, with Darragh Lenihan, Adam Armstrong, Amari'i Bell, Corry Evans and Danny Graham all missing out on a place in the starting XI.

Replacements came in the form of Jack Rodwell, Derrick Williams, Craig Conway, Joe Rothwell and Kasey Palmer.

Six minutes into the encounter and we saw the first opportunity as Conor Townsend, who scored against Rovers for Scunthorpe last season, saw his strike held high up by Raya.

Rovers were dealt a blow soon after as skipper Charlie Mulgrew picked up a rib injury and counldn't continue, with Bell coming on to replace the Scotland international.

That resulted in a defensive reshuffle, with Williams slooting into central defence alongside Rodwell, with Bell taking up the left back spot.

Rovers saw a stonewall penalty waved away when a blatant handball stopped Reed's cross from reaching a team-mate in the middle before former Burnley man Jay Rodriguez missed a sitter at the other end.

The striker raced away from Williams, and after seeing Raya in his way of his first attempt, the follow up was blazed into the Rovers supporters behind the goal just after the half hour mark.

With five miutes to go until half time, Albion took the lead as a Matt Phillips corner was met by Dawson at the back post, who planted his header into the back of the net.

But Rovers could and should have levelled things up a moment later. Neat feet from Bradley Dack saw the playmaker thread a pass through to Joe Rothwell, but he couldn't beat Sam Johnstone when one on one with the former Aston Villa 'keeper.

Rothwell tested Johnstone again a minute or two later, this time after cutting inside before firing towards goal with his left foot.

Elliott Bennett was next to try his luck, as his shot from range was pushed away by Johnstone, but Rovers went in at the break a goal down, which wias frustrating after an encouraging opening 45 minutes against the Baggies.

The visitors raced out of the traps at the beginning of the second half, and an excellent solo run from Palmer saw the Chelsea loanee nip away from Kyle Bartley before leathering the ball over the bar just a minute after the interval.

At the other end, another set piece routine saw a floated corner find Tosin Adarabioyo, who tried to loop his header over Raya, but he also beat the upright with his attempt.

Another change saw Rodwell hobble off as Rovers' defensive woes continued, with Lewis Travis replacing the former England man.

Bennett saw his bouncing strike grabbed at the second attempt by Johnstone just after the hour as Rovers pressed for an equaliser.

Rovers went even closer just a minute later as Dack's free kick whistled just inches past Johnstone's right hand post with 23 minutes remaining.

But just a moment later Rovers worked an equaliser in stunning style the impressive Reed produced a belter to level things up as he curled into the top corner from 25 yards.

It was exactly what Mowbray's men deserved having bossed the early part of the half.

But with 78 minutes gone, and with all substitutes used, Rovers were dealt a huge blow when David Raya was caught by Rodriguez's boot. That resulted in Smallwood donning the gloves and taking an unfamiliar position inbetween the sticks.

With 10 men, Rovers were doing all they could to cling on with a 5-5-0 formation late on as the hosts laid siege, with Smallwood doing enough before Williams hacked an effort off the line in added time.

And that was to be that at Rovers secured a great point in front of their travelling contingent. Heroes, the lot of them - well done, lads!

West Bromwich Albion: Johnstone, Bartley (Robson-Kanu, 87), Sako (Hoolahan, 60), Morrison, Livermore (c), Phillips, Townsend, Barnes (Brunt, 76), Rodriguez, Adarabioyo, Dawson.

Unused substitutes:  Myhill, Mears, Field, Burke.

Booked: Bartley, 17

Goal: Dawson, 40

Rovers: Raya, Bennett, Rodwell (Travis, 59), Mulgrew (c) (Bell, 15), Williams, Reed, Smallwood, Conway, Rothwell, Palmer (Armstrong, 66), Dack.

Unused substitutes: Leutwiler, Brereton, Evans, Graham.

Booked: Palmer, 22

Goal: Reed, 70

Referee: Scott Duncan

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