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Match Reports

Report: Rovers 1 Aston Villa 1

Late strike prevents Rovers from earning all three

15 September 2018

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A late second half strike from Conor Hourihane earned a point for Aston Villa after Bradley Dack had given Rovers the lead with 15 minutes remaining in a pulsating game at Ewood Park.

After Danny Graham's scuffed shot, Dack flicked home for his fifth goal of the season with time running out to give the hosts the lead.

But in added time it was Hourihane who broke Rovers hearts as he fired in a sensational free kick to claim an undeserved point for Steve Bruce's side.

Rovers defended well for the majority of the game, keeping the visitors at bay for long periods and limiting Villa to half-chances before Hourihane's thunderous strike.

Tony Mowbray made one change from the side that suffered defeat to Bristol City before the international break with Dack returning to the XI in place of Kasey Palmer, who dropped to the bench.

For the visitors, Bruce made three changes with Glenn Whelan, Anwar El Ghazi and Jonathan Kodjia dropping to the bench. 

Neil Taylor, Tammy Abraham and Albert Adomah all came into the starting XI for the game.

The visitors started the brighter and Adomah nearly found the net just four minutes into the encounter but a deflection off Ryan Nyambe ensured the score remained the same.

Rovers were finding their feet and went close to opening the scoring 11 minutes in when a teasing Charlie Mulgrew cross from the right was inadvertently headed towards his own goal by Tammy Abraham and forced goalkeeper Orjan Nyland to produce a smart save with his legs.

It was a breathless opening half an hour in East Lancashire and after a Dack header was ruled out for offside, John McGinn went down in the box under a Richie Smallwood challenge which was waved away by referee Stephen Martin.

McGinn was in action moments later as his excellent cross was looped goalwards by Abraham but David Raya was on hand to pluck the header out of the air.

It was end to end and Mulgrew tested Nyland with a bobbling free kick in the final notable chance of an enthralling first half of football.

Like the first half, it was the visitors who were quickest out of the blocks for the second, with Abraham twice going close; forcing Raya into a low stop from range before narrowly heading wide moments later.

Mowbray changed things up around the hour mark with Ben Brereton and Harrison Reed both entering the action to earn their home debuts as Rovers began to create some chances.

Danny Graham had the best chance of that period but could only stretch and nod a Nyambe cross onto the roof of the net and away.

At the other end, substitute Kodjia and Abraham linked up before the striker curled wide of Raya's left-hand post from the edge of the box.

With 18 minutes remaining it was Mile Jedinak's turn to go for goal but Raya held the stinging strike well and kept his clean sheet intact.

Three minutes later though and Rovers struck through that man Dack, who flicked home from close range to notch his fifth goal of the season to send the home fans wild.

Mulgrew kept Nyland busy late on with a powerful free kick, whilst Abraham had what looked to be Villa's best chance to grab an equaliser with a couple of minutes remaining which was easy for Raya to claim.

But with almost the final kick of the game, Hourihane stepped up to curl into the corner of Raya's net from 25 yards and earn his side a point.

Rovers are next in action on Tuesday night when we take on Derby County at Pride Park. You can purchase your tickets for the game by clicking here.

Rovers: Raya, Nyambe, Lenihan, Mulgrew, Bell, Evans (Brereton, 58), Smallwood (Reed, 66), Bennett, Dack, Armstrong (Williams, 74), Graham.

Unused substitutes: Leutwiler, Rothwell, Conway, Palmer.

Goal: Dack, 75

Booked: Evans, 47, Lenihan, 53

Aston Villa: Nyland, Taylor, Tuanzebe, Chester (c), McGinn, Grealish, Jedinak (Hourihane, 76), Abraham, Hutton, Elmohamady (Hourihane, 76), Adomah (Kodjia, 69).

Unused substitutes: Moreira, Whelan, Bree, El Ghazi.

Goal: Hourihane, 90

Booked: McGinn, 17

Referee: Stephen Martin.

Attendance: 15,982 (3,998 away)

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