Rovers fell to just a third home defeat in 20 Championship matches – but never got going before slipping to late defeat against Nottingham Forest at Ewood Park.

Joe Lolley came up with the game’s only goal, his shot deflecting beyond Thomas Kaminski in the dying seconds, with Rovers offering precious little at the other end.

The hosts never got going in what was a lifeless display, managing just one shot on target across the whole 90 minutes, with Forest sensing their opportunity as they grew into the game as an attacking force.

Sammy Ameobi drew a save from Kaminski, and hit the post, in the closing stages before Lolley’s deflected winner on what was a subdued day for Rovers on the back of a busy end to the transfer window.

For all the deadline day deals, the nearest we got to see any of the new recruits was Harvey Elliott posing for pictures ahead of the game in his new colours.

There was a place on the bench for Antonis Stergiakis however, with three changes to the starting line-up as Darragh Lenihan, John Buckley and Corry Evans came in.

They replaced Derrick Williams and Joe Rothwell who were self-isolating and Lewis Holtby who was granted extended leave following the birth of his daughter during the international break,

Forest, under new management, settled the quicker and Lenihan had to be alert to a shot on the turn from Lewis Grabban inside 60 seconds.

That wouldn’t be the start of a glut of goalmouth action however, with wide players Sammy Ameobi and Joe Lolley firing well wide from their respective efforts from the edge of the box.

Rovers were the ones playing much of the ball, but much of that was inside their own half as the new-look midfield three struggled to provide much by way of penetration.

Indeed, the absences of Rothwell and Holtby in particular were being felt on what was a lop-sided and ponderous start to proceedings from the hosts.

Tyrhys Dolan was guilty of losing the ball, but he wasn’t alone in a first half where a lack of movement was Rovers’ undoing.

Adam ARmstrogn and Ben Brereton were struggling to get involved in the game, but the latter did at least come up with Rovers’ first attempt at goal in the 41st minute. He was given an opportunity to drive through the centre of the pitch, but his left foot attempt from 25 yards was comfortable for goalkeeper Brice Samba who held his shot.

Indeed, the first half was summed up by Grabban trying to catch Thomas Kaminski off his line from 45 yards, his shot not getting off the ground and allowed the Belgian to watch it comfortably wide.

Sam Gallagher was the most experience of what was a youthful bench which otherwise included just three Championship starts.

While Rovers emerged unchanged Gallagher didn’t have to wait long to come on, replacing Dolan in the 53rd minute.

By then, Forest had made a change, as Harry Arter replaced Jack Colback, and had the clearest opening of the game. Grabban overlapped Ameobi to swing in a cross which was headed over by Yates with the goal gaping.

While Rovers were the ones showing more of the attacking intent, it was the visitors who again had the next clear chance. It came from a set play, delivered from the left and met by Figueiredo, but straight at Kaminski who was able to hold on.

A second Rovers change brought with it a change of shape as Harry Chapman replaced Buckley, and in doing so played in a No.10 role.

There still wasn’t much to get excited about though as the manager became increasingly frustrated on the touchline.

Forest made a change up top, as Lyle Taylor replaced Grabban, and it was the visitors who were looking the more likely as Kaminski needed to be alert at his near post to keep out a thumping Sammy Amoebi strike with 15 minutes remaining.

Taylor himself, with little support, tried his luck seconds later, from an outrageous angle, but the swerve on his strike surprised Kaminski who took a safety first option to push it behind.

Mowbray turned to Brennan for his senior debut with 10 minutes left in a bid to find a creative spark.

Two unlikely candidates to open the scoring, Amari’i Bell and Evans, tried their luck in successive passages of play, the left back seeing his shot blocked before Evans sliced his strike wide.

Forest sensed there was something there for them, pushing their centre halves forward for a free kick which was kept alive before dropping for Ameobi whose effort clipped the outside of the post with Kaminski motionless.

The same was said of the Belgian seconds before the end, albeit this owed to a deflection, that handed Forest the three points. Lolley cut in onto his left foot, his effort taking a deflection that wrong-footed Kaminski to find the corner.

Rovers: Kaminski, Nyambe, Lenihan, Ayala, Bell, Johnson, Buckley (Chapman, 68), Evans, Dolan (Gallagher, 53), Brereton (Brennan, 80), Armstrong

Subs: Stergiakis, Davenport, Carter, Wharton

Nottingham Forest: Samba, Christie, Figueiredo, Grabban (Taylor, 74), Colback (Arter, 50), Ameobi, Freeman, Yates, Lolley (Sow, 90), McKenna, Ioannou

Subs: Smith, Mbe Soh, Jenkinson, Mighten