Diaz stunner ruins Mowbray's return to Ewood!
A Brereton Diaz opener and a second half header from Scott Wharton sent Rovers to the top of the championship as they defeated Sunderland at Ewood Park, finally ending their win-lose streak.
Tomasson continued to rotate his squad despite the 2-1 win over Middlesbrough at the weekend. The lineup saw 4 changes to the starting 11 with Carter, Hedges and Szmodics making the cut and academy graduate Jake Garrett making his league debut for the club. Harry Pickering missed out through injury and the captain Lewis Travis missed out through suspension.
Tony Mowbray only made one change to his 11 from last weekend's win over Wigan, with former rover Corry Evans making his return to the squad.
The opening half hour was even with both teams testing the waters. The only real chance came from Sunderland after Brereton Diaz’s ball over the top was intercepted by Alex Pritchard whose effort from range was a tad too high.
Rovers had no shots in the game going into the 30th minute however, typical Rovers were clinical when it counted. A controversial penalty shout from Sunderland was disallowed after Jack Clarke was clipped in the box by Ryan Hedges, then Rovers scored just seconds later after a deadly counter-attack found Brereton Diaz with the ball just outside of the box who curled the ball into the top corner with his left foot, a moment of sheer class from the Chilean.
Rovers managed to remain comfortable after the opener with the only chance for Sunderland being a Jack Clarke header which was easily saved by Kaminski. Rovers led going into the break.
It was a quick start for Rovers in the second half, as Ryan Hedges swinger from a free kick on the right found Scott Wharton who headed home the second. To many Rovers fans hopes, killing the game off.
Sunderland did not give up however and brought a game to Rovers, The Black Cats almost had a goal back just minutes later after Danny Batth beat the Rovers defenders to a header from close range, however Thomas Kaminski kept up his fire form and made a strong hand to it, keeping the away side at reach.
Rovers sat back and soaked up the pressure from Sunderland as they looked for a route back into the game. While the pressure was on, The Blues main aim for the rest of the game was to hit Sunderland on the counter-attack, while successful in doing this, they were unsuccessful in getting a third goal.
The final chance of the game was nearly another worldie goal after Ryan Hedges fancied his chances from the halfway line and was nearly successful. The Welshman hit the post after catching the Sunderland keeper out in what would have been the perfect ending to a good performance from Rovers.
Rovers took their chances however and won the game, going top of the league for the night and giving Tony Mowbray an unhappy return to Ewood Park.