FRUSTRATION was the buzzword around the Rovers camp after twice taking the lead, only to be pegged back, in an entertaining game to sign off 2017 against Scunthorpe United.

They head in to 2018 third in the table looking to haul in a three point deficit to the top two and the five point cushion built up by leaders Wigan.

An opportunity to close that gap was missed against fourth-placed Scunthorpe but this was undoubtedly one of Rovers’ better displays of late.

They dominated for large parts and were the width of a post away from a third goal which would surely have proved decisive in the dying minutes.

The main source of disappointment was their inability to twice build on the two leads they were given courtesy of excellent Danny Graham finishes early in either half.

They threatened to do just that in a flying start to the second half only for that momentum to be stemmed when Conor Townsend levelled within nine minutes of Graham’s second.

The wing-back couldn’t miss, or believe his luck, as he was presented with the ball six yards out following an Elliott Bennett miss-kick at the far post to roll the ball in to the corner.

While David Raya was left helpless for that one, he will likely have thought he could have done better with Kevin van Veen’s effort which snuck in at his near post as Rovers were pegged back four minutes after Graham’s opener.

So while both of Rovers’ goals were well crafted, the two they conceded were definitely avoidable.

Graham scored his seventh of the season with as many minutes on the watch to hand his side an early lead. Richie Smallwood and Bradley Dack combined to play in Ryan Nyambe whose cross was volleyed goalwards by Graham from eight yards out. The power proved too much for Gilks as they ball crept over the line.

His second was a finish of greater authority, sweeping the ball home with his left foot to meet Marcus Antonsson’s nod-down following a deep Dack cross.

A tight hamstring was to see Graham taken off as a precaution on the hour mark, while Antonsson was forced off moments after passing up two good openings with an ankle injury.

A shortage of options in the attacking areas didn’t aid Rovers’ cause when pushing for a winner but they certainly looked the more likely in the latter stages.

Indeed, Gilks was undoubtedly the busier of the two goalkeepers throughout. He saved a 25-yarder from Bennett in the first-half as well as Derrick Williams header moments before the break.

He dealt with two separate Dack efforts at both 2-1 and 2-2, with the Rovers attacker looking the most likely of any player to come up with a winner in the latter stages.

Raya had to be alert in either half to deal with two well-hit Duane Holmes efforts but for Rovers to concede twice from the opportunities Scunthorpe created was particularly disappointing.

However, that shouldn’t detract from an end to the calendar year which has seen Rovers take 23 out of a possible 27 points and stretch their unbeaten run in the league to 12 games, while in all competitions it now stands at 17.

Rovers have undoubtedly played worse in that run and won and had they managed to display some of the defensive resilience demonstrated against the likes of Charlton and Rochdale then we would be left reflecting on a fourth consecutive home win to sign off the year.

But they don’t have long to wait to get their 2018 campaign up and running – a year which promises much for Tony Mowbray and his men.