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Report: Rovers 0-0 Cardiff City

Rovers can't break down a stubborn Bluebirds on home turf but earn a third successive clean sheet

3 October 2020

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Like last season, Rovers played out a scoreless draw against a Cardiff City side that ended the game with 10 men at Ewood Park.

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Rovers were frustrated on home turf against Neil Harris' charges, who proved to be a tough nut to crack throughout the encounter.

Chances came and went for Rovers both before and after Lee Tomlin saw red after picking up two bookings, but Tony Mowbray's men couldn't find a route past Alex Smithies against a side who played the final 20 minutes a man down.

The boss made two changes to the side from the one that started the win at Derby County a week earlier, with Daniel Ayala and Ryan Nyambe coming into the team.

Ayala's inclusion was due to a knee injury to Darragh Lenihan in training, whilst Nyambe returned in place of Joe Rankin-Costello, with a hamstring strain keeping the 21-year-old out of action.

Former Rovers forward Junior Hoilett started for the visitors and went close to opening the scoring after only six minutes, with his curled attempt tipped behind by Thomas Kaminski.

City were forced to make an early change when Joe Bennett was forced off with injury, which allowed ex-Rovers loanee Greg Cunningham to enter the action against his old club.

Rovers were having the majority of the ball, but were struggling to find a route to test Alex Smithies in the visiting goal.

At the other end, Sheyi Ojo's low drive had to be watched by Kaminski as the ball skimmed off the greasy surface.

Ojo went for goal again with five minutes of the half remaining, but Rovers' Belgian stopper was well placed to take no risks and push the ball behind.

A glorious opportunity came the way of Adam Armstrong on the stroke of half time, but after sliding the ball through the legs of Marlon Pack and going through on goal, he couldn't beat Smithies with a dinked attempt under pressure from Cunningham.

Rovers were ending the half strongly and Brereton's snapshot ensured Smithies was kept busy; the 'keeper down to his right to keep out the strike from 15 yards out.

The scond half began evenly, but visiting skipper Sean Morrison tested Kaminski's handling when he headed Pack's free kick into the gloves of the 27-year-old.

Rovers went in search of an opener at the other end and Armstrong jinked inside Curtis Nelson but his left-footed effort was comfortable for Smithies to gather.

Drama occured with 20 minutes remaining when Tomlin picked up a second yellow card for hauling down substitute Sam Gallagher, with referee Darren Bond having no other option.

Rovers upped the gears against a Cardiff side that sat everyone behind the ball, and Bell's excellent ball into the area couldn't be put in the net by a stretching Gallagher at the back post.

Rovers were having pot shots from range and next up was Lewis Holtby, whose well struck effort was too close to Smithies.

The hosts kept persevering in a bid to find a past past a stubborn City side, with Rothwell's effort going just past the post as the clock ticked into injury time.

Morrison almost diverted Armstrong's teasing cross into his own net at the death before Rothwell slammed wide of the target with the final chance of the encounter.

Rovers will reflect on missed opportunities, but it's a successive third clean sheet for Mowbray's men going into the international break.

Rovers: Kaminski, Nyambe, Ayala, Williams, Bell, Johnson (c), Holtby (Chapman, 78), Rothwell, Dolan (Buckley, 60), Brereton (Gallagher, 58), Armstrong.

Unused substitutes: Fisher, Davenport, Wharton, Bennett.

Booked: Johnson, 50, Gallagher, 80.

Cardiff City: Smithies, Osei-Tutu, Bennett (Cunningham, 13), Morrison (c), Bacuna, Moore, Nelson, Tomlin, Pack, Ojo (Vaulks, 86), Hoilett (Ralls, 74).

Unused substitutes: Day, Glatzel, Murphy, Bamba.

Booked: Cunningham, 34, Bacuna, 49, Tomlin, 59, 69.

Sent off: Tomlin, 70.

Referee: Darren Bond.

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