Rovers had to come from behind twice to earn a point at home against Burton Albion in Sky Bet League One.
An excellent curled effort by David Templeton opened the scoring before Jon Taylor equalised after a goalmouth scramble. The visitors took the lead again early in the second half when Lukas Akins converted from the spot, but Kieran Sadlier bundled the ball home after Kieran O’Hara saved the Rovers’ no.7’s first effort.
Darren Moore named the same starting XI as against Southend United in the league while Nigel Clough made four changes to his side. Richard Nartey, Lucas Akins, Joe Sbarra, and David Templeton coming into the starting XI.
This was Rovers’ closest home fixture to Armistice Day, and both sets of players, staff and supporters showed their respects in the lead up to the game with a perfectly observed minutes silence.
The match got underway in torrential rain and both sides had to grapple with the greasy conditions. Despite that, some slick passing from the Brewers provided an early half-chance for Liam Boyce. He collected the ball at the edge of the Rovers box, but a heavy touch gave Reece James time to nip in front and nick the ball.
James was soon in the action at the other end, once again he nipped in front of Boyce to pick up a loose pass, but the ball was always getting away from him and his eventual shot didn’t carry enough pace to trouble Kieran O’Hara in the Burton goal.
Soon after, Kwame Thomas hit the floor in the Brewers box under the challenge of John Brayford but Neil Hair wasn’t interested in the appeals for a penalty.
Burton hunted in numbers and pressed high and in doing so were finding a lot of joy picking up loose passes out from the back. James blocked a shot from a corner before Ben Whiteman conceded a free kick on the edge of the box which was drilled into the shins of the Rovers wall and Seny Dieng had to stay alert to stop efforts by Sbarra and Boyce from the edge of the box.
The best chance in this period fell to Boyce who probably should have scored when he got on the end of Oliver Sarkic’s drilled ball across the face of the Rovers goal, Boyce got a toe to it but could only guide it wide.
Chances kept falling the visitors’ – and Boyce’s - way. The striker forced a good save from Dieng while Scott Fraser’s follow-up probably should have found the next but ended wide.
Rovers began to get some joy when they were able to move the ball through midfield. James’ cross was blocked to Jon Taylor whose drilled effort required a smart stop from O’Hara – as did Sadiler’s follow-up effort from close range.
But Burton kept coming. Sarkic fired over from the edge of the box and Whiteman made a heroic block to deny Templeton who had been able to run clear of the defensive line thanks to an excellent ball over the top.
Plenty of big chances went begging for Burton, but their goal when it came was the result of a piece of impressive individual technique. An indecisive clearance from Rovers found its way to Templeton on the corner of the box, who took one touch and curled the effort beyond Dieng.
Rovers almost levelled the score immediately when Taylor’s cross took a deflection which put it just beyond Sadlier who was unmarked at the far post, but Rovers did capitalise just minutes later.
O’Hara made a fantastic save to deny Coppinger’s curled effort and Taylor’s follow up, but when the ball fell to Taylor a second time the no.10 made no mistake.
Taylor very nearly made it two just before the break. A foul on Sadlier just outside the box gave the no.10 an opportunity to hit one but O’Hara managed to get across and tipped it onto the bar.
Both managers opted to make chances at the break. Madger Gomes replace Ben Sheaf and Clough replaced Nartey with Stephen Quinn. This was Burton’s second change after Templeton was replaced by Nathan Broadhead late in the first half.
Burton probably should have taken the lead five minutes into the second half. Lukas Akins cross found Scott Fraser all alone just two yards out but he somehow scooped the ball over Dieng’s bar.
The Brewers did take the lead two minutes later. Akins converted from the spot after a clumsy challenge by Daniels brought Sbarra down in the box.
Just like in the first half, Rovers brought the game level very quickly. A wonderful through ball by Coppinger found the run of Sadlier. The no.7 tried to chip O’Hara, the Brewers keeper got a hand to it, but it ricocheted off Sadlier and into the goal.
The visitors continued to fashion chances. Boyce had a shot saved by Dieng, and Sbarra’s half-volley was shinned into the stands. A high foot from Gomes gave Fraser a chance from just outside the box but he pulled the shot wide.
With 15 minutes remaining, both managers made another change. Taylor left the field to a standing ovation and was replaced by new signing Rakish Bingham while Burton’s Sarkic was replaced by Lloyd Dyer.
While the visitors continued to dominate possession, they weren’t really testing Dieng. Quinn’s effort was blocked, and John-Joe O’Toole lashed one both high and wide of the target.
Alfie May – who had come on as a late substitute - was released down the right by Gomes, his cross was blocked behind for a corner. May’s delivery to the near post was flicked goalward by Sadlier but O’Hara made the save at his near post.
Rovers had the best chance in injury time. Whiteman’s driven free kick bounced awkwardly in front of the Brewer's keeper but O’Hara made the stop.