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Match Reports

Report: Rovers 2 Derby County 0

Rovers turn on the style to return to winning ways after an outstanding performance at Ewood Park

9 April 2019

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Rovers produced arguably their best performance of the campaign to confidently brush aside play-off-chasing Derby County at Ewood Park.

Second half goals from Man of the Match Joe Rothwell and the returning Bradley Dack sealed the three points for a dominant Rovers, who showed their class to upstage the high-flying Rams.

A dazzling display from Rothwell saw him brilliantly score the opener with 14 minutes remaining before Dack sealed things by simply tucking home from a yard out in added time to make it a night to remember for Tony Mowbray's men.

Following defeat at home to Stoke City last time out, Mowbray named five changes to his starting XI from the weekend encounter.

There were returns to the side for Derrick Williams, Lewis Travis, Harrison Reed, Dack and Craig Conway, with Elliott Bennett taking the armband in place of regular skipper Charlie Mulgrew.

The Scotland international hadn't recovered from an ankle injury picked up against the Potters on Saturday and was left out of the squad.

Only two minutes were on the clock when the first opportunity of the game arrived, with former Rover Tom Lawrence twisting before turning Craig Bryson's cross over the bar.

At the other end, Darragh Lenihan tested Kelle Roos before an exquisite Rothwell pass fed Danny Graham, but the experienced frontman could only fire into the side-netting.

Rovers were having all the ball, with the midfield duo of Travis and Reed in particular impressing, but it was an error from the former that led to the Rams almost taking the lead against the run of play.

The youngster's pass was loose and cut out by Lawrence, with the Welshman skipping past a couple of challenges and finding countryman Harry Wilson, who could only slide the ball wide of David Raya's left-hand post.

A moment later and Conway stung the gloves of Roos before the Derby 'keeper tipped a rasping Amari'i Bell drive around the post.

From the resulting corner, Williams smashed wide of the target after the ball dropped kindly for the left back 12 yards from goal.

That resulted in Rovers going in level at the break despite their dominance, but Mowbray will have been pleased by what he saw from his side in the opening 45 minutes.

Derby improved after the break, with Lawrence's low attempt having to be clipped behind by the gloves of Raya just 10 minutes into the second half.

But Rovers came again, and a strike from Williams was hooked off the line by a Derby man after a flurry of corners really cranked up the pressure on the visitors.

The next opportunity came shortly after as a peach of a cross from Conway found Darragh Lenihan at the back post, but the Republic of Ireland international could only head an inch or two wide of Roos' post.

Time was running out for a winner, but with 14 minutes remaining the outstanding Rothwell earned reward for his superb display with his first goal in blue-and-white.

After being sent clear, the 24-year-old raced through to produce a delightful dink over Roos, with his shot kissing the post on the way to nestling into the back of the net.

It was richly deserved for both Rothwell and Rovers, and the score could have been more for the hosts late on, but after substitute Armstrong blazed over, Jayden Bogle was in the right place at the right time to smuggle a shot from Travis off the line.

But the result was secured with only seconds remaining as Dack got in on the act; tucking in from just a yard out to make things safe and complete an ultimate team display and perfect result for a rampant Rovers.

Rovers: Raya, E. Bennett (c), Lenihan, Williams, Bell, Travis, Reed (Evans, 90), Rothwell (Armstrong, 81), Dack, Conway, Graham (Nuttall, 90).

Unused substitutes: Leutwiler, Nyambe, Rodwell, Brereton.

Goal: Rothwell, 76

Booked: E. Bennett, 52, Travis 85

Derby County: Roos, Bryson (Holmes, 65), Tomori, Keogh (c), Wilson, Mount (Nugent, 73), Waghorn (M. Bennett, 52), Lawrence, Johnson, Cole, Bogle.

Unused substitutes: Carson, Wisdom, Jozefzoon, Huddlestone.

Referee: Jeremy Simpson.

Attendance: 12,590 (901 away)

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