Five talking points from Rovers' defeat to Bristol City.


There were countless occasions, particularly in the first half, where Rovers worked their way in to the final third, but whether it be a lack of killer instinct, or quality, their moves broke down all too easily.

Even Adam Armstrong, January’s player of the month, lacked conviction at times, while their crossing was a real let down, with the two wingers seeing a combined 12 crosses find a Rovers player on just one occasion.

Rovers are at their best when they play high intensity, front foot football, something which arrived at the first part of the second half in which several balls fizzed across the City box, and culminated in a decent opening for Bradley Dack.

But City made an impressive 30 clearances and 14 blocks, and they shackled Rovers’ key men well, with Armstrong, Dack and Graham having just 100 touches of the ball between them. An unwanted century.


Both manager’s opted for the old adage of taking a player off before he was sent off. In truth, they both were lucky to avoid not being sent off before being replaced.

Travis’ first yellow card, for stopping a counter attack, should have been the first of two, as he took out Jamie Paterson right in front of the linesman, only for the referee to keep his cards in his pocket in the second half. 

Mowbray’s frustration at the time it took Ryan Nyambe to ready himself to come on showed how keen he was to take off the 21-year-old whose performances have taken a dip in recent weeks, as is expected from a young player making his way in the game.

City defender Wright was booked in the first half for blocking off Armstrong, a decision awarded by the linesman, with the referee seemingly happy to play on, only to then bring out his yellow card. Only Travis escaping a second yellow card can be the xplanation as to why he wasn’t shown his marching orders for a foul on Nyambe.

Not planned, Lee Johnson’s change would in fact prove to be a game-changer as Eros Pisano came on to turn in a Callum O’Dowda corner.


For a team that drew 10 of their opening 22 matches, Rovers have been without one in their next nine league fixtures.

A run of three defeats to end 2018 was followed by four successive defeats to begin this calendar year. They are now reeling from back-to-back defeats.

That has seen their league position fluctuate, to as low as 14, as high as seventh, and now down to 13th. In a tightly packed middle area of the table in a competitive division, this is no surprise.

Six teams from Birmingham in eighth to Rovers in 13th are separated by just three points, and that will change by the week.

Rovers’ aim in the remaining 15 games will be to put together as many wins as possible and see what happens. Eleven wins, 10 draws and 10 defeats, shows just where Rovers are in this division.


Bristol City went with three central defenders across their back four, with Wright used at right back, while Tomas Kalas and Adam Webster proved to be an excellent central defensive pairing.

Danny Graham often pulled on to full back Jay DaSilva for any joy in the air, but the Robins back four generally dealt with the Rovers attacking threat well.

With Lenihan sidelined through injury, it was a more cultured approach Rovers took in their defending, with Mulgrew returning to partner Jack Rodwell.

Without the pace of Lenihan, Rovers looked a little susceptible from counter attacks, and didn’t have the same aerial presence as at the other end, something Rovers will have to be wary of in the Irishman’s absence.  


There was still 10 minutes, plus stoppages, to play when Rovers went behind. But the lack of response was disappointed as they appeared to have run out of steam.

Indeed, a searching Joe Rothwell passes not taken down by Joe Nuttall, and a late corner, there was little to no signs of an equaliser from Rovers.

A few players seemed out on their feet, and they made it a little too easy for Bristol City to pop the ball around and take the sting out of the game. Rovers have been short of equalising goals, and lacked any real intensity to force their way back in to this one.