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Match Reports

Report: Rovers 1-2 Luton Town

Rovers suffer a defeat on home turf against a resolute Hatters in the East Lancashire rain

28 September 2019

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Lewis Travis' first home goal wasn't enough as Rovers suffered a narrow defeat to Luton Town at Ewood Park.

The midfielder produced a thunderous finish to level things up after James Collins' header had handed the visitors an early lead in the East Lancashire drizzle.

But despite mainly bossing the game, it was Rovers Academy graduate Matty Pearson whose header proved to be the differece on his return to Ewood Park.

Rovers pushed for a late equaliser against Graeme Jones' side, who managed to run the clock down and return to Bedfordshire with all three points.

The boss made just one change to his team from the side that started at Reading a week earlier, with Corry Evans dropping out due to illness, which allowed Bradley Johnson to return to the XI.

Rovers started on the front foot, but is was the visitors who had the first opportunity of the game, with Chelsea loanee Izzy Brown forcing Christian Walton into a low stop down to his right.

The hosts were bossing possession, but it was Luton who struck first through Collins' fifth goal of the campaign.

Brown skipped past Lewis Travis before delivering a ball into the box that was planted home via the head of Collins from six yards out.

Rovers looked for a response, with Johnson driving wide of the target 10 minutes before the break as Mowbray's men searched for shoots of recovery.

Town were frustrating Rovers, but the equaliser arrived in stunning style by Travis for his first senior strike at Ewood.

After being set up by Elliott Bennett, the 21-year-old took a touch before setting his sights and superbly curling an effort across visiting stopper Simon Sluga and into the back of the net.

The goal gave Rovers life going into the second half, but Walton again had to be alert to deny Brown after the visitors sprung a quick counter attack early into the half.

But a moment later another delivery from Brown led to Pearson coming back to haunt the club where he started his career.

After Greg Cunningham gave away a free kick on the right, Brown's ball into the box was a teasing one and Pearson rose above Darragh Lenihan and thump a downward header beyond Walton and into the bottom corner just before the hour mark.

A double switch saw Danny Graham and Lewis Holtby enter the action for the final half hour, replacing Sam Gallagher and Johnson.

The hosts almost grabbed an immediate equaliser soon after, but Downing's free kick whistled just past Sluga's right-hand post as the opportunity came and went.

Graham was straight into the action and he came close to leveling things up from Bennett's low ball in, but Sluga was there again to hold the half-volley.

Holtby's near post strike flew just an inch or two wide of the target before Adam Armstrong drove into the Darwen End after a ball over the top found the 22-year-old with just over 20 minutes of the encounter remaining.

Callum McManaman had come on as a substitute for The Hatters, and he stung the palms of former Town loanee Walton as Luton looked to add a third to their tally.

Rovers saw a goal chalked off with 11 to go as Derrick Williams' header was flicked home by Bradley Dack, but the playmaker had gone too early.

Dominic Samuel was on for his first team return late on as Mowbray rolled the dice for the final time.

Mowbray's men pressed for a dramatic equaliser, but the efforts were in vain as Pearson's header proved to be the difference.

Rovers: Walton, Bennett (c) (Samuel, 81), Williams, Lenihan, Cunningham, Johnson (Holtby, 61), Travis, Armstrong, Dack, Downing, Gallagher (Graham, 61).

Unused substitutes: Leutwiler, Bell, Adarabioyo, Buckley.

Goal: Travis, 36

Booked: Travis, 84

Luton Town: Sluga, Potts, Tunnicliffe, Bradley (c), Pearson, Cornick (Jones, 86), Ruddock-Mpanzu, Collins, Brown (McManaman, 71), Bree, Butterfield (Berry, 82).

Unused substitutes: Shea, Lee, Bolton, LuaLua.

Goals: Collins, 16, Pearson, 57

Booked: Butterfield, 55, Potts, 90.

Referee: Gavin Ward.

Attendance: 15,319 (1,326 away).

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