Blackburn Rovers concerns focus more on past than present

The game was played in February and on Sky Sports, two conclusions some fans could come to as to why Rovers suffered a second consecutive defeat to give up the automatic promotion places.

Concerns have been raised by some as Rovers failed to score for a third successive game and have just one point in the last three, but are they more based on what happened before than what we have seen more recently?

Rovers have a dismal record in February. In their 20 games played in the month since promotion from League One, they have won just two consecutive wins in 2020 against Hull City and Charlton Athletic.

Forest’s defeat was their 12th defeat in this series, with six more draws.

Rovers fans are used to it being a tough month, last season they took just one point out of a possible 18. Past seasons often died out after February.

In previous years, a defeat often brought many, with Rovers regularly considered one of the most streaky teams in the division, feast or starve in terms of form.

Yet this group has shown that it has grown stronger. Playing almost the entire second half with 10 men, they put on a truly brave display as they searched for an equaliser.

The rovers bet, threw all their chips in the middle, and went for it. What followed was a frenetic and chaotic encounter, but one that could have seen them score a point.

This team has felt a sense of injustice lately, and Tony Mowbray was right to point out that every team, no matter how successful, will go through a period of pain. It’s like Rovers are right now.

They are in the midst of a tough race, not just in terms of results but fixtures, with top six rivals West Bromwich Albion, QPR and Sheffield United on the horizon before the end of the month as they start March with a trip to Fulham

Losing Forest made it back-to-back defeats, only the second time this has happened, and this team showed excellent recovery powers after games.

One thing they will be looking to improve is their in-game recovery, with their eight losses coming when they conceded first.

In total they have conceded the first in 11 matches, taking five points, the 3-1 victory over Sheffield United which followed Fulham 7-0 is the only victory, with points scored on the road at Millwall and Bristol City.

It’s a stat they’ve struggled with for some time, and after Forest got the first goal the visitors were happy enough to sit down and allow Rovers over them, asking the question of whether they could break them.

It was a similar scenario at Swansea City after they fell to 10 men, a sentiment from last season as Rovers struggled to find a way through.

And so it came that for a fifth game in seven Rovers failed to find the net. At the start of the game, only leaders Fulham had scored more than Rovers, but things have dried up lately.

Although a matter of concern, there was always a question mark heading into the second half of the season over how much could escalate if Ben Brereton saw his route to goal blocked, the Chilean international who had a troubled 2022 in which he failed. to find his club’s net.

Still, Mowbray was right in his assessment that chances are created, but wasted, which provides a certain level of comfort.

Reflecting on the missed chances at Swansea, Rovers should have learned something from this game.

So while performance may not have been stellar this calendar year, Rovers’ points tally could easily look a whole lot healthier.

How different the game would have been if John Buckley had taken his first chance, or if Brereton had managed to force the rebound down the line, is a question we’ll never know the answer to.

But we know that the Rovers are unquestionably frontrunners. Of the 20 times they scored first, they amassed 48 out of a possible 60 points.

They head to West Bromwich Albion on Monday, with Steve Bruce taking charge of his first Hawthorns game, and without captain Darragh Lenihan.

It will be a test of Rovers’ resolve after back-to-back defeats, but if any team can shatter recent history, that’s the team you’d back.

About Jerry Richter

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