TONY Mowbray was keen to take the positives from his side’s 3-3 draw with Crewe after a sparkling start should have seen them out of sight.

Dominic Samuel scored twice and set up Danny Graham as Rovers raced in to a 3-0 lead inside 20 minutes. But the game turned on a penalty awarded for the visitors, which Chris Porter scored after Rekeem Harper was shown a straight red card.

Rovers’ task became even more difficult after the break as they were reduced to nine men when Elliott Bennett was dimissed, with Crewe coming back to force a replay with two goals just after the hour mark.

The three goals Rovers did score were of excellent quality, with Samuel taking his tally to eight with two well taken finishes.

And Mowbray said: “The first 20 or 30 minutes were as fluid as we’ve been at home.

“We gave them some problems, the movement and passing quality, the running in behind was all good and it is what we have been working on.

“Some days it comes off, sometimes the opposition spoil and make it difficult.

“Graham proved too strong for them and Samuel was really positive playing off the back of Danny and got some goals and it could have been any score had we played 11 v 11.

“You try and prepare your team for if they lose a man, it’s very difficult to prepare for losing two men of course.

“There are lessons to be learned, we sat off a bit and encouraged them on and didn’t defend as well as I might have hoped.

“We could have been a bit braver with nine men, gone and engaged a little bit more higher up the pitch but we will settle for that even though we’re frustrated from being 3-0 up for it to finish 3-3.

“It was an exercise at the end, nine v 11, to try and see the game out.”

Rovers were forced to play for 40 minutes with nine men after Bennett’s dismissal, with Mowbray feeling his side could have been a bit braver when playing with a two man disadvantage.

He added: “I would have to go a long way to the days of really muddy pitches and everyone mucking in for a day like today.

“I think the positives from it are that how good we were for half an hour.

“If you were sitting and watching it as a neutral then you might have feared for Crewe, it could have been any number because the goals seemed to be going in on every attack.

“Let’s give them some credit for the way, helped by the sending offs of course, but they managed to get on the front foot, ask some questions and scored two goals from set plays.

“They had the penalty as well.

“A replay, that’s okay, we’re in the hat.

“We have got Saturday to Saturday games, we will fit it in and go to Crewe and play a strong team and try and get through.”