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Match Reports

Report: Rovers 1-1 West Bromwich Albion

Joe Rothwell's first goal of the season earns a point against the high flyers at Ewood Park

11 July 2020

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Joe Rothwell scored his first goal of the season as Rovers moved to within four points of the play-offs following a resolute display and valuable draw against promotion-chasing West Bromwich Albion.

Rothwell smashed home from close range just moments after entering the action against the Baggies, who came into the game in second place in the table.

Filip Krovinovic had slammed Slaven Bilic's men into a deserved lead just before the break, but Rovers showed their character after the interval and certainly wrestled control of the game in the final 20 minutes.

The point keeps Rovers in the hunt for the top six, but it could and should have been more had substitute Jacob Davenport beaten Sam Johnstone late on when one-on-one.

Rovers, who were unchanged from the win at Cardiff City on Tuesday night, started well back on home turf, but it was the visitors who had the first shot in anger, with Kamil Grosicki cutting in from the left and testing Christian Walton with a powerful attempt after just 14 minutes.

A moment later and Walton had to be alert again; this time to hold onto Filip Krovinovic's stinging drive from long range.

The Baggies were beginning to grow into the game, with ex-Burnley man Charlie Austin sending a shot over the upright from close range after being picked out by Matheus Pereira.

Next up it was Pereira who went close to breaking the deadlock, but ex-Baggies loanee Tosin Adarabioyo was in the right place at the right time to get in a crucial block.

Austin was looking menacing, and Rovers were left thankful to the brave reactions of Walton to deny the striker when one-on-one with only 10 minutes of the half remaining.

You sensed a breakthrough was coming for Bilic's side, and it arrived with four minutes to go until the break.

Pereira's run from midfield dragged Adarabioyo with him, and after the Brazilian playmaker fed Austin, his inventive cross was perfect for Krovinovic to volley home with his left foot.

Rovers went in search of a response, and the equaliser almost arrived on the stroke of the half time whistle.

Stewart Downing's free kick was nodded back across goal by Darragh Lenihan, and whilst Danny Graham's header looked good, Sam Johnstone's save was better; beating away the experienced frontman's goalbound effort.

There was still time for the Baggies to go straight up the other end and work another chance, but Walton was again able to block Jake Livermore's strike which looked destined to end up in the back of the net.

The chances continued to arrive for the visitors in the second half, with Walton shovelling away Pereira's sweeping attempt before Krovinovic smashed the rebound off the post and away from danger.

The boss made a quadruple substitution just after the hour mark, and within three minutes the equaliser arrived, with three of the alterations all playing a part in the move.

Elliott Bennett's pass down the right flank fed Sam Gallagher, whose cut back was perfect for Rothwell to slam home his first goal of the season.

Rovers were let off a few minutes later, with substitute Grady Diangana missing the ball completely after Hal Robson-Kanu found him in the box, before Walton again managed to beat away Conor Townsend's stinging effort from outside the box.

The visitors were getting desperate in their attempts to garner all three points, and substitute Davenport saw a great opportunity come and go with under 15 minutes remaining.

Rovers counter attacked at pace, and when Gallagher found the midfielder, one-on-one with Johnstone, the visiting goalkeeper won out.

Growing in confidence, the hosts went forward again soon after, with Lewis Holtby's inventive flick being hacked off the line by covering centre back Semi Ajayi, with Johnstone stranded.

A point apiece was probably the fairest outcome in what was a terrific end-to-end encounter, but Rovers will hope Davenport's miss won't come back to haunt them by the end of the season.

Rovers: Walton, Nyambe (Bennett, 61), Lenihan (c), Adarabioyo, Rankin-Costello, Travis, Johnson (Gallagher, 61), Downing (Davenport, 75), Armstrong (Holtby, 61), Samuel (Rothwell, 61), Graham.

Unused substitutes: Leutwiler, Mulgrew, Buckley, Carter.

Goal: Rothwell, 64

Booked: Travis, 72, Lenihan, 90.

West Bromwich Albion: Johnstone, Bartley, Ajayi, Krovinovic (Robinson, 80), Livermore (c) (Harper, 69), Pereira, Grosicki (Diangana, 59), Townsend, Austin (Robson-Kanu, 59), Sawyers, O'Shea.

Unused substitutes: Bond, Furlong, Phillips, Brunt, Hegazi, Robinson.

Goal: Krovinovic, 41

Booked: Livermore, 31, Ajayi, 90.

Referee: Jarred Gillett.

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