Joe Lolley scored against Rovers for the third successive game and his deflected strike was enough to earn the three points for Nottingham Forest
A potshot from Lolley took a wicked deflection and beat Thomas Kaminski in the final minute of normal time to make it a perfect start to life under Chris Hughton for the Reds.
It looked as if the game would end as a 0-0 with chances at a premium, but Forest were the ones who got the late winner that was a little underserved.
There was plenty of possession for Rovers throughout, but Forest were organised defensively and kept the hosts at bay by preventing too many clear cut chances.
The boss made three changes to his team, with Derrick Williams and Joe Rothwell missing due to isolation and Lewis Holtby remaining in Germany following the birth of his daughter.
Starts were handed to Darragh Lenihan, John Buckley and Corry Evans, but none of the four deadline day signings were included at a chilly Ewood.
Both sides were attempting to figure each other out in the early stages, and the closest either team came to finding an opener came via Lolley's left-footed effort that was dragged wide of the target.
At the other end, Samba was well positioned to hold onto Ben Brereton's curling effort that looked like it was heading towards the bottom corner.
A tinkering of the system saw Buckley move into the attacking midfield position and Evans joining Johnson in defensive midfield, with Mowbray opting for a 4-2-3-1 system.
But it was Forest who worked the first chance of the half, with Ryan Yates heading over from close range after Lewis Grabban's dinked cross to the back post.
A set piece saw Luke Freeman's corner kick find Tobias Figueiredo, but the Portguese defender's downward header was grabbed well by Kaminski as the game began to open up.
Kaminski was called into action again a moment later, beating away Sammy Ameobi's drive from the left side to keep his clean sheet intact with 15 minutes of the contest remaining.
The Belgian soon had to deal with substitute Lyle Taylor's strike with time running out, pushing behind the striker's swerving attempt as the chances continued to arrived.
Luke Brennan was on for the final nine minutes as Mowbray rolled the dice for the final time in a bid to find a late winner against a stubborn Forest side.
That breakthroough nearly arrived with two minutes remaining, but fortune favoured Rovers when Ameobi's dipping volley cracked the post before bouncing clear of danger.
However, Rovers didn't survive, and Lolley's winner arrived after the winger worked a yard before seeing his deflected effort wrongfoot Kaminski and find the back of the net.
That was to prove the last action of the game, with no time left for Rovers to make an assault on Samba's goal.
Rovers: Kaminski, Nyambe, Lenihan (c), Ayala, Bell, Johnson, Buckley (Chapman, 68), Evans, Dolan (Gallagher, 53), Brereton (Brennan, 81), Armstrong.
Unused substitutes: Stergiakis, Davenport, Carter, Wharton.
Booked: Johnson, 58, Gallagher, 72.
Nottingham Forest: Samba, Christie, Figueiredo, Grabban (c) (Taylor, 74), Colback (Arter, 50), Ameobi, Freeman, Yates, Lolley, McKenna, Ioannou.
Unused substitutes: Smith, Mbe Soh, Jenkinson, Mighten, Sow, Taylor.
Goal: Lolley, 90.
Booked: Figueiredo, 28