FULL-TIME: Blackburn Rovers 3 Brighton & Hove Albion 3
Updated 3:56pm Wednesday 2nd April 2014 in Sport
JORDAN Rhodes took his tally to 50 goals since joining Rovers – but Dale Stephens’ late equaliser earned Brighton a point at Ewood Park.
The Seagulls led when David Rodriguez beat Paul Robinson at the near post in the 17th minute but Rhodes levelled from Tom Cairney’s low free kick eight minutes later.
The returning Cairney then scored himself from Tommy Spurr’s cross to put Gary Bowyer's side ahead three minutes before half-time. Former Rovers defender Gordon Greer netted from a corner to make it 2-2 with 11 minutes to go but Rhodes thought he had settled the contest in the 86th minute when he converted a penalty he had won.
It was his 50th goal in 89 appearances for Rovers since his club record £8m move from Huddersfield Town in August 2012. But two minutes later Brighton sub Stephens headed in from a Jesse Lingard cross.
The draw leaves Rovers 11th in the Championship table and seven points off the top six with seven games to play – the first of which comes at home to Ipswich Town on Saturday.
Rovers boss Bowyer, whose team are unbeaten in five matches but have drawn their last four, said: “Brighton only had four shots on target so it’s majorly disappointing.
"Our first goal was an outstanding finish, the second was an unbelievable move and the third goal was a penalty.
“Then you look at the goals we’ve conceded and we have to be majorly disappointed by them.
“We’ve scored eight goals in the last three games and we’ve got three points to show for it and it’s not acceptable.
“We’ve kept 12 clean sheets this season and we’ve got to get back to that quickly because we’re scoring goals and our attacking play is looking very good.”
Rovers were given a big boost prior to kick-off when word came through from the FA that the club’s appeal against captain Grant Hanley’s controversial sending off in Saturday’s 2-2 draw at Millwall had been upheld.
That meant the centre-back, who was facing a two-game ban, was eligible to play.
Corry Evans came off with a dead leg but it is hoped he will be fit for Saturday’s home clash with Ipswich Town.
Rovers: Robinson, Keane, Hanley, Kilgallon, Spurr, Cairney, Evans (Taylor 68), Williamson (Gestede 88), Conway, Dunn (King 70), Rhodes. Subs not used: Eastwood, Kane, Varney, Feeney. Goals: Rhodes 25, 86pen, Cairney 42.
Brighton: Kuszczak, Bruno, Greer, Upson, Ward, Andrews, Forster-Caskey (March 63), Ince (Stephens 46), Lingard, Rodriguez (LuaLua 76), Ulloa. Subs not used: Brezovan, Calderon, Dunk, Lopez. Booked: March, Bruno. Goals: Rodriguez 17, Greer 79, Stephens 88. Referee: Mark Brown. Attendance: 12,332 (272 away).