(Graham, 7, 47)


(van Veen, 11) (Townsend, 56)

DANNY Graham scored twice as Rovers led on two separate occasions but they were to be pegged back by Scunthorpe United in an entertaining game to end 2017.

The striker scored his sixth and seventh of the season early in which half but leads last for just four and nine minutes respectively as Kevin van Veen and Conor Townsend netted for the visitors.

Bradley Dack hit the post late on as Rovers went in search of a winner but remain third in the table with the Iron a place worse off.

Graham started a third consecutive league game for the first this season and rewarded his manager’s faith with his seventh goal of the season to put Rovers ahead.

Seven minutes were on the watch when good interplay between Richie Smallwood and Bradley Dack sent Ryan Nyambe in behind down the right and his cross was volleyed towards goal by Graham from eight yards out, with the pace of the strike too much for Matt Gilks as the ball crept over the line.

However, the lead would last just four minutes. Kevin van Veen pulled off the shoulder of Charlie Mulgrew to collect a Funso Ojo pass and from a tight angle, rifled a shot in to the roof of the net, though David Raya will have been disappointed having got a hand to the effort at his near post.

Moments before those two quickfire goals Raya had to be alert to deny Duane Holmes’ effort from neat to the byline, while Paul Downing nodded a Peter Whittingham cross wide shortly after the equaliser.

Scunthorpe were certainly giving it a go, with two strikers and Hakeeb Adelakun tucked just in behind. Adelakun was next to try his luck in the 26th minute, skipping past Peter Whittingham although his well-hit strike from the edge of the box was always rising.

But it was the Scunthorpe goalkeeper who was the busier as the game ticked beyond the half hour mark. Gilks moved away to his right to palm away an excellent 25-yard drive from Elliott Bennett and was well placed to deal with a Derrick Williams header from a Whittingham cross as Rovers worked a corner short.

An entertaining affair saw both sides looking to commit men forward in to the attack.

Rovers had one more chance before break, with Derrick Williams’ flicked header from a Whittingham isnwinger landing on the roof of the net.

Neither side made any alterations after the break but it was only two minutes old when Graham restored Rovers’ lead with his second of the game. Dack dinked a cross to the far post which was headed back across by Marcus Antonsson and expertly swept home from inside the six yard box by Graham.

Five minutes later they spurned an excellent counter-attacking opportunity as Bennett’s pass to Dack was overhit but after retrieving the ball Antonsson saw a shot deflected wide.

Rovers were enjoying their best spell of the game and their quest for a third saw Whittingham play in Dack whose left-foot strike from just inside the area was palmed away by Gilks.

But Rovers’ excellent start to the second half was undone 11 minutes in as the visitors levelled. Holmes’ cross was flicked on by Mulgrew, but after Bennett missed his kick, Conor Townsend couldn’t believe miss as he steered the ball in from six yards out.

Rovers continued to play on the front foot that after that, sending on Dominic Samuel in place of two-goal Graham. Downing denied Hopper with a last-ditch tackle after Ojo made a burst clear of four Rovers players as the game moved in to the final quarter at 2-2.

Antonsson was posing an issue for the Scunthorpe right side, but an opening after collecting a Raya clearance saw him fail to test Gilks after cutting in from the flank. He did manage to do that moments later, but was easy for the goalkeeper with his left-foot strike.

However, that proved to be his last act as a collision with Goode ended his afternoon.

While he received treatment off the pitch Scunthorpe broke, with Raya having to palm a Holmes drive round his right-hand post.

Rovers thought, with 10 minutes left, they had regained the lead. Smallwood played in Dack, and after cutting inside Goode he cut the ball back towards goal, only to be denied by the left-hand post with Gilks beaten.

Dack probed away towards the end, firing a left foot shot wide of the target, while a free-kick in the dying seconds saw him shoot straight at Gilks.

Rovers: Raya, Nyambe, Downing, Mulgrew, Williams, Smallwood, Whittingham, Bennett, Dack, Antonsson (Hart, 72), Graham (Samuel, 63)

Subs not used: Leutwiler, Ward, Caddis, Tomlinson, Evans

Scunthorpe: Gilks, Townsend, Wallace, Ojo, Van Veen (Hopper, 72), Morris, Hopper, Adelakun (Sutton, 83), Holmes, Goode, Burgess.

Subs not used: Watson, Madden, Lewis, Church, Butroid