They didn’t make it easy for themselves, but in the end, Blackburn Rovers finally got their first win of the season on Tuesday, beating Oldham Athletic 3-2 in the opening round of this season’s League Cup.
It had been the League Two side who took the lead 13 minutes in thanks to Gevaro Nepomuceno’s neat finish past Jayson Leutwiler in the Blackburn goal.
That was the way it stayed until the 70th minute, when substitute Bradley Dack levelled for the hosts, only for Oldham captain Mohamed Maouche to restore his side’s lead ten minutes later.
Rovers, however, were not be denied, as stoppage-time goals from summer signing Stewart Downing and midfielder Joe Rothwell snatched a late win for Tony Mowbray’s side.
While it was far from the most convincing of performances, there were still some positives for Rovers to take from the game.
Here, we take a look at three areas of encouragement from Tuesday night’s win for Mowbray and his team.
Dack is back
Up until now, it had been a pretty quiet season by the standards of Blackburn Rovers’ talisman Bradley Dack.
Prior to Tuesday, the attacking midfielder had struggled to either take or create many chances in the league defeats to Charlton and Fulham to start the campaign, but all that changed against Oldham.
After scoring Rovers’ first equaliser, Dack then followed that up by putting the ball on a plate for Rothwell to tap home Rovers’ winner in the final minute, with the 25-year-old looking lively and dangerous throughout his time on the pitch.
A return to that sort of influential form will be a big confidence boost for Dack, and he is the sort of player who is likely to back himself to build on that performance in the coming league games, which, given his proven importance to the side, can only be a good thing for Rovers.
An impressive debut for their new signing
Having joined from Cardiff City on a season-long loan on transfer deadline day last week, left-back Greg Cunningham was handed his Blackburn debut against Oldham on Tuesday night.
Despite having only a few days to familiarise himself with the club, Cunningham fitted in impressively.
The 28-year-old was solid at the back, and looked dangerous going forward as well, playing some impressive passes which even had a hand in some of the goals that helped Rovers secure that first win of the campaign.
Given the concerns around the defence that Rovers currently have, Cunningham’s debut performance looks as though it will be some form of relief for Tony Mowbray in that area.
A will to win
Last season, Blackburn conceded goals in the last ten minutes of no fewer than 12 games that saw wins become draws and draws become defeats.
On Tuesday, however, the boot was on the other foot, with two stoppage-time goals securing Mowbray’s side a confidence-boosting and potentially momentum-building first win of the season, highlighting the fight there is within this side.
With that being the case, you feel that those players will now be more willing to back themselves to get something right up until the very end of games this season, something which could well help provide them with the points that see them climb up the table in the coming weeks and months.