It’s not been the easiest of starts to the season if you are a Rovers fan with a nervous disposition.
An edgy 2nd half against WBA, an end to end Carabao Cup tie against lower-league opposition in Walsall and last week’s shenanigans at Rotherham, have each in their own way, made the unbeaten start less than wholly comfortable for the Rovers faithful.
A pulsating final twenty minutes at Ewood is what will have dominated the post match chatter in the clubs/pubs and rides home as Rovers fell to a first defeat of the season at the hands of the visitors Hull City.
The prologue was set after just 15 minutes. A long ball forward from Hull keeper Ingram saw a lapse in concentration from Pickering. His hesitation allowing on loan Man City striker Liam Delap to get goal-side and engineer the inevitable foul and red card that followed. Pickering paying the price for his error of judgement and the lack of complaints from either the player or stands prove the decision was inevitable.
The 23rd minute saw an emotional round of applause to honour the anniversary of the passing of Jack Walker. Respect due especially to the Hull City fans who joined in.
Fast forward fifty minutes or so and it was the ten men who opened the scoring, Ennis’s driving run and shot deflected kindly into the path of fellow substitute Gallagher who fired home his first goal of the season and set up the prospect of an unlikely victory.
The goal, if anything, had an undesired effect as it seemed to galvanise the visitors into action.
Player of the match Jean Michael Seri, who once cost Fulham £25m, scooped a delicious ball over the Rovers defence and an emphatic volley from Irish international striker Aaron Connelly drew the Tigers level.
Cue the grandstand finish. As the pendulum swung back and forth, Niall Ennis will rue a missed opportunity as he struck the post, before a tantalising triple chance saw Gallagher’s shot saved, Ennis’s header cleared off the line and Carter’s shot rustle the side netting.
Within a minute, the game was won. The impish Connolly racing onto yet another long ball downfield. This time the error was from Carter, who failed to track the movement and looked to be running in quicksand as the former Brighton man kept his cool and composure to slide beyond the advancing Pears allowing the Tigers to deal the knockout blow.
Six minutes of injury time saw Rovers push for an equaliser. Two penalty shouts may be worth another look, but the final whistle ended the enthralling action.
Down to ten for over three quarters of the contest, the fighting response will satisfy even the most ardent of critics, but the effort ultimately yielded zero points and a first defeat of the 23/24 campaign.
With a squad already stretched by non-replaced outbound transfers and injuries, Tomasson now has a suspension with which to contend.
Thanks to Josh Boswell & Ryan Hildred for the photos