John Eustace’s long wait for a first win as Blackburn boss continues after his side ground out a goalless draw at Middlesbrough.

It was a sixth draw in eight games for Rovers since Eustace replaced Jon Dahl Tomasson in the dugout and their third on the bounce – with Blackburn still three points above the Sky Bet Championship relegation zone.

Middlesbrough are now unbeaten in four league games and have kept three clean sheets on the bounce, but their hopes of a top-six finish are hanging by a thread. Norwich’s win at Stoke means Michael Carrick’s side are now seven points adrift of the play-off places with eight games to play.

Both teams had their moments at the Riverside but lacked the clinical touch needed in front of goal.

Middlesbrough almost made the perfect start when Emmanuel Latte Lath was denied by the feet of Aynsley Pears inside two minutes. And the home side should have taken the lead when a corner from the right was glanced on by Luke Ayling into the path of Marcus Forss, who looked certain to score from just two yards out but somehow missed the target.

Blackburn threatened early on as well, with the Championship’s top scorer Sammie Szmodics unsurprisingly looking the away side’s best route to goal. He saw one low drive well saved by Seny Dieng and had another opening soon after but was denied by a fine slide tackle from Paddy McNair.

Boro were dealt a blow when Forss went off injured and lost their way a bit afterwards, but they almost forced a breakthrough on the stroke of half-time when Ayling’s header was blocked on the line by Dominic Hyam.

Sensing an opportunity, Blackburn started to grow in confidence and Sam Gallagher stung the hands of Dieng with a fierce strike from the edge of the area.

Riley McGree scored a stunning winner for Boro at Birmingham on Tuesday night and looked to repeat it here but his shot from distance flashed wide. Defender Matt Clarke then headed wide from a Jonny Howson free-kick.

A Blackburn corner caused Boro problems and, after Scott Wharton’s header was blocked, substitute Tyrhys Dolan looked to turn in the rebound but was crowded out before the hosts managed to scramble clear.

Boro almost snatched a dramatic last-minute winner through Isaiah Jones when his shot was deflected onto the bar and substitute Sammy Silvera miskicked the rebound.

Plymouth head coach Ian Foster felt his side ‘dominated from start to finish’ in their 1-1 Sky Bet Championship draw at 10-man Blackburn.

Rovers’ Sammie Szmodics took his league goal tally to 21 with a sublime curling opener in the seventh minute but the home side were second best thereafter.

Their task was made harder when Kyle McFadzean was sent off for a professional foul early in the second half and Plymouth deservedly equalised through Morgan Whittaker’s close range 74th-minute finish, taking his own league tally to 18.

The goals and dismissal barely tell the story. Despite Arnor Sigurdsson striking the post in the first half, it was Argyle who created the best chances with Ryan Hardie and Bali Mumba both missing when one-on-one, while Mickel Miller and Hardie again both went agonisingly close.

Foster felt the point was “the very least we deserved” although it is now just one win in seven matches for the Pilgrims, who are three points clear of danger.

He said: “A lot of people will look at the game, see the result, see the sending off and think we’ve only scored because they’ve been reduced to 10 men.

“Before their goal and after their goal, we’ve dominated the game, literally from start to finish.

“The whole 95 minutes we’ve been the team on top – 20 shots away from home, our xG is through the roof and the only disappointment that we go away with is that we haven’t converted all those chances, or some of them.

“I’m really proud of the players. We picked the team today to dominate the ball. We felt that we could here and we did that – 66 per cent I think in the first half.

“I’ve never witnessed a team 1-0 up at half-time getting booed off. (It’s a) quite unique thing to see and hear but that just shows you the dominance we had in the first 45 minutes.

“No halves are ever the same but the players continued to knock on the door and we eventually got what we deserved.

“We’re all that little bit disappointed to come away with just the one point.”

Blackburn remain level on points with Plymouth and are yet to win under John Eustace, who praised his team’s character after playing more than half an hour with 10 men.

Eustace said: “I thought we started the game really well, played some really good football, scored a fantastic goal, had a great chance to go 2-0 up which we didn’t take unfortunately.

“Plymouth then had a couple of good chances themselves. We came in at half-time, adjusted a couple of things, started the second half quite well and obviously going down to 10 men, it’s a different game.

“I thought the character the group showed, the togetherness, the fight not to lose the game was very evident for everyone to see.

“I think the way the boys defended, fought, scrapped, and stuck together against a good attacking team and limited them to hardly anything really second half – they had pressure but no real clear-cut chances, maybe one. But we still had a couple of half-chances ourselves.

“The big positives to take out of the game…the way the group really stuck together and fought. You can see the fight is there that we want to stay in this league.”

Blackburn boss John Eustace praised his side’s fighting spirit after a second-half strike from Sammie Szmodics salvaged a 1-1 Championship draw against Millwall at Ewood Park.

The result left Eustace still searching for his first win as Rovers boss but he found plenty to be positive about after the hosts hit back from Michael Obafemi’s shock 53rd-minute opener.

“It wasn’t a classic but again the lads have shown fantastic character and togetherness, to come from a goal behind against a difficult opponent,” said Eustace.

“I was pleased with the reaction. We dominated possession without really testing their keeper, but we worked hard and stuck together and it was a good point in the end.

“The boys since I’ve come in have been fantastic. We’re playing players who have come back from long injuries and they are running through brick walls for us. They are leggy and tired but they are fully committed to the cause.”

The point left Rovers in the thick of the relegation fight and the frustration was evident among some sections of the home support at the final whistle.

Szmodics proved a threat throughout but clear-cut chances were few and far between and Yasin Ayari’s speculative long-range effort in injury time summed up Rovers’ overall lack of threat.

Eustace added: “We have to show more belief in the final third but we are showing the right signs and with 10 games to go, it’s about not losing and getting the right result.

“There’s a lot of teams from around 10th spot down that can be involved in the relegation fight and it’s just vital we keep believing in what we’re doing.”

Millwall boss Neil Harris was satisfied with a point that extended his unbeaten run – since replacing Joe Edwards last month – to three games.

And Harris was particularly pleased with Obafemi who came off the bench to grab his first goal since signing his loan deal from Rovers’ Lancashire rivals Burnley.

Obafemi has struggled with fitness and illness since moving to The Den and Harris said: “I’m delighted for Mike.

“It was too risky to start him tonight because he’s our only fit striker coming back from injury, but I was really pleased with his performance.

“We’re really pleased with the points total of seven from three games. The glass is definitely half full and there are lots of positives that I’ve learned today.”

Harris insisted he would not attach any blame to Danny McNamara, whose blunder at the back allowed Szmodics in to sweep home Rovers’ equaliser.

Left-back McNamara has been one of the stand-out performers under Harris and the head coach said: “When you get your noses in front in a scrappy game at this stage of the season, you need to see the game out.

“Danny is disappointed but he will stand up and take responsibility and there were other things we didn’t do well in the build-up to the goal, so there is no individual blame culture.

“The big thing for me is that we came off tonight and we gave a really poor goal away but the players all mentioned that it was a really good point for us tonight.”

Sammie Szmodics salvaged a point for Blackburn but his 20th Championship goal of the season could not disguise the home side’s frustration after a tough 1-1 draw with Millwall at Ewood Park.

Szmodics pounced on a defensive error to fire home just past the hour mark, 10 minutes after Millwall substitute Michael Obafemi had lashed the Lions in front.

But the result extended Rovers’ dismal streak to just one win in 15 league games and leaves John Eustace still searching for his first victory in charge.

In contrast, Millwall’s point stretched their unbeaten run under Neil Harris to three matches and they will arguably have been the happier, despite the careless manner in which they tossed away over an hour of sterling defensive work.

Revitalised under the charge of their all-time record goalscorer, the visitors had the best chance of a first half that was almost devoid of incident, Ziam Flemming shooting into the side-netting from a tight angle after George Saville’s corner.

It was the only chance of any kind mustered in the first half by Harris’ men, who seemed happy to sit back and squeeze the momentum out of the home side, with Japhet Tanganga in particular outstanding at the back.

The Lions’ tactics could largely be said to have worked if the scattered boos that greeted the hosts at the half-time whistle was anything to go by.

Szmodics could do nothing with an effort from a tight angle after being put through by Tyrhys Dolan, then Szmodics returned the favour but his team-mate was caught offside.

The busy Dolan tried his luck from long range but his effort was blocked by Tanganga, who was also central to hacking away a dangerous Dom Hyam free-kick, before Flemming had his chance at the other end, just before the half-hour mark.

Jake Cooper denied Szmodics a shooting chance with an excellent interception, then Ryan Longman’s gutsy counter-attack trickled out to neatly sum up a forgettable first period.

Obafemi needed less than eight minutes to make an impression, tenaciously winning Billy Mitchell’s fine cross into the box and capitalising on poor Rovers defending to turn and fire a rising shot past home goalkeeper Leo Wahlstedt.

Amid evident frustration among the home fans, Rovers responded well, Szmodics forcing a save from Matija Sarkic before a desperate blunder from Millwall’s Danny McNamara led to their 63rd-minute equaliser.

The full-back failed to spot Rovers substitute Amor Sigurdsson when playing a square ball and the Iceland striker, who had only been on the field for two minutes, served Szmodics to sweep the leveller past Sarkic.

The excellent Tanganga headed away a dangerous cross under pressure from Szmodics, while Yasin Ayari’s long-range effort deep into injury time was palmed away by Sarkic as Millwall held on.

Luke Williams finally earned his first league home victory as Swansea head coach at the fifth attempt with a 2-1 win against Blackburn.

Williams’ previous four Sky Bet Championship matches in front of Swansea fans had all ended in defeat, but first-half goals from Joe Allen and Jamie Paterson enabled him to break that sequence.

The Championship’s top scorer Sammie Szmodics pulled a goal back for Blackburn just past the hour mark, but Rovers were unable to make their second-half dominance pay.

It meant back-to-back league wins for the Swans for the first time since October.

But Blackburn are now without a win in their last six matches in all competitions and although they are 17th in the table, they are only a point above the drop zone.

Swansea started positively and were rewarded when they went ahead in the seventh minute through Allen’s second goal of the season.

Winger Przemyslaw Placheta did the hard yards on the left and when his cross was not cleared properly, former Wales international Allen was able to drill his shot downwards and bounce it into the far corner.

Blackburn found the pace of Placheta and fellow wide man Ronald difficult to handle, with Kyle McFadzean picking up an early yellow card for a foul on Ronald.

But Rovers also added to their own troubles by giving the ball away and it was from such an error that they fell 2-0 behind after 19 minutes.

Andrew Moran lost possession under pressure from Swans skipper Matt Grimes with the ball falling into the path of Paterson.

He swept past McFadzean before firing low past Blackburn keeper Aynsley Pears from the edge of the box.

Rovers’ own attacking threat was minimal in the opening half hour with a shot from Callum Brittain that flashed past the far post, and another from the wing-back that was held by keeper Carl Rushworth.

But their efforts intensified just before the break and Tyrhys Dolan saw one effort saved and another go just wide of the post.

Blackburn made two substitutions at half-time – bringing on Arnor Sigurdsson and Yasin Ayari – and looked more threatening.

It needed two timely interventions from Swansea centre-back Ben Cabango to keep out Rovers striker Sam Gallagher as the visitors looked for a way back into the contest.

Cabango stepped up for a third time to block an effort from Szmodics, but moments later Rovers’ top scorer had pulled a goal back with his 25th of the season in all competitions.

A free-kick on the right from John Buckley reached Szmodics and the striker reacted sharply to sweep the ball home in the 67th minute.

Blackburn were now in the ascendancy and Swansea were clinging on to their narrow advantage.

But from a rare home breakout, substitute Jerry Yates should have given Swansea breathing space, only for the striker to dither over his shot which enabled Pears to save.

Despite defending for most of the nine minutes of added time, Williams’ side kept Rovers at bay.

Newcastle goalkeeper Martin Dubravka set his sights on the trophy after his penalty shoot-out heroics helped Newcastle into the FA Cup quarter-finals.

The Slovakian, who missed last weekend’s hammering at Arsenal due to illness, saved twice as the Magpies scraped past Championship Blackburn 4-3 on penalties after a 1-1 draw at Ewood Park on Tuesday.

Dubravka denied Sammie Szmodics, who had cancelled out Anthony Gordon’s opener in normal time, and then touched the final kick of the night from Rovers captain Dom Hyam on to a post.

The cup now appears to be sustaining Newcastle’s season given that their Champions League challenge has faded and Dubravka wants to bring major silverware to the club for the first time since 1969.

“We are delighted to be there,” Dubravka told NUFC TV. “It was difficult match for us with chances on both sides. I’m really happy that we are there now.

“We want to win the trophies, obviously, so we try to go for it. I think this could lift our confidence.

“We needed a reaction after the Arsenal game and I think this was a great example. We need to build on this.

“Obviously there were a couple of moments in the match that we did amazing, but also, on the other side, there were a couple of moments where have to do it better.

“We are still in a learning process, but I think we are in a good place now.”

Newcastle failed to make an impression in the first half and it was Blackburn who dominated, with the impressive Szmodics proving a handful.

The balance changed after the break and Newcastle edged ahead after 71 minutes through Gordon, but Rovers roared back, with Szmodics tucking in after Dilian Markanday’s thunderous effort had been tipped on to the bar.

Both sides had chances to win the game in normal and extra-time before it came down to the penalty shoot-out. The drama continued as Szmodics and Ashley Barnes both had efforts saved, but Dubravka had the final say.

“Obviously you hope that you don’t go to the penalties because it’s a lottery,” Dubravka said. “You never know what’s going to happen there.

“It’s the nerves. You can’t really prepare for this kind of situation. It’s personal behaviour and confidence.”

Defeat was harsh on a Blackburn side whose performance belied their lowly position in the Championship, but manager John Eustace, who is still awaiting his first win after five games in charge, saw the positives.

He said: “You could see the group are gelling as we want. It’s just small steps, but that’s the second time now we’ve come from behind at home.

“The lads have shown me that they’re a good, young, hungry group with some good experience and we’ve just got to keep working hard.”

Newcastle manager Eddie Howe hailed a “big moment” in his side’s season after they scraped past Championship Blackburn on penalties in the FA Cup on Tuesday.

Martin Dubravka saved two spot-kicks as the Magpies prevailed 4-3 in the shoot-out after the game had ended 1-1 after extra time.

With the club having slipped to 10th in the Premier League in what has been a largely underwhelming campaign after last year’s top-four finish, the cup now represents the best chance to maintain their upward trajectory.

Howe said: “Obviously a lot was riding on the outcome so I thought the players handled the moment brilliantly, the goalkeeper and outfield players who took the penalties.

“It was big moment in our season at such a crucial stage.

“The players are desperate to achieve. No-one is underestimating the importance of the FA Cup.”

Howe also praised the heroics of Dubravka after the Slovakia keeper had been ill in the build-up to the game.

He said: “The two penalty saves were huge for us but in open play I thought he really performed well and we needed him to because they had a few big moments.

“He’s been playing feeling slightly ill and he deserves huge credit for doing that. He was nowhere near fit for the weekend against Arsenal and hasn’t been 100 per cent for quite a long period of time.”

Dubravka kept Blackburn at bay with a number of saves before Newcastle broke the deadlock in the 71st minute through Anthony Gordon.

Blackburn responded well and levelled through the impressive Sammie Szmodics and both sides had chances to win it, in normal time and extra time, but it came down to penalties and Dubravka kept out efforts from Szmodics and Dominic Hyam.

Howe said: “I thought we got better as it went on. I don’t think the first half was particularly good, I thought the second half was better and extra time was our best spell of the game by a long way.

“Really we shouldn’t have allowed it to go to penalties with the chances we missed in extra time.”

Blackburn manager John Eustace was pleased with the effort of his side, who played at a level above that of a team 16th in the Championship.

Eustace, who is still awaiting his first win after taking charge earlier this month, said: “When it goes down to penalties it’s a bit of a lottery but I’m very, very proud of the squad that we used and also very proud of the supporters.

“I couldn’t ask for any more effort and desire and togetherness. You can see that everyone’s really fighting and looking after each other and you can see the style of play improving game by game.

“We’re making small steps forward. We’re playing against a top Premier League team, top players, and you could see that we could hurt them in certain areas. On another day we could have had a couple more goals.”

Erling Haaland plundered five goals as holders Manchester City powered into the FA Cup quarter-finals with a 6-2 victory at Luton.

The Norwegian notched a first-half hat-trick at Kenilworth Road to put City 3-0 up, with Kevin De Bruyne providing the assist for each of the goals.

After Luton replied with efforts from Jordan Clark just prior to and just after the interval, Haaland notched his fourth – De Bruyne again registering an assist – and then a fifth, before Mateo Kovacic completed the rout.

Championship leaders Leicester pulled off a 1-0 win at Bournemouth thanks to an extra-time effort from substitute Abdul Fatawu.

Fatawu sent a fine shot past Cherries goalkeeper Mark Travers in the final minute of the first half of the additional period.

Newcastle are also through after getting past Blackburn 4-3 on penalties after a 1-1 draw over 120 minutes at Ewood Park.

The contest went to spot-kicks after Sammie Szmodics’ 79th-minute equaliser for the Championship hosts cancelled out Anthony Gordon’s effort eight minutes earlier.

In the shootout Martin Dubravka made saves to deny Szmodics and Dominic Hyam as the Magpies prevailed.

Martin Dubravka saved twice as Newcastle beat Blackburn 4-3 on penalties after a 1-1 draw in a compelling FA Cup fifth-round tie at Ewood Park on Tuesday.

The Newcastle goalkeeper denied Sammie Szmodics and Dom Hyam from the spot to secure a nervy victory after the Premier League outfit were taken all the way by the side 16th in the Sky Bet Championship.

Blackburn had enjoyed the upper hand for large spells of the game, but fell behind when Anthony Gordon broke the deadlock after 71 minutes.

Rovers hit back and forced extra time with an equaliser from the impressive Szmodics, but neither side could find a winner before it fell to spot-kicks to determine the outcome.

The game was delayed by 15 minutes to allow all fans to get into the ground and was then slow to get going, the first thing of note being a tennis ball protest by Blackburn fans.

Supporters frustrated at the club’s continued ownership by Indian poultry firm Venky’s, which is now in its 14th year, symbolically lobbed balls onto the field in the 14th minute.

The delay was brief and when the action resumed it was Blackburn who settled quicker.

Szmodics was the main Rovers dangerman and went close when he lashed a shot into the side-netting.

Tyrhys Dolan broke into the box and drew a good save from Dubravka, whose fingertip touch deflected the ball past Szmodics.

Szmodics then tried his luck from long range, finding only the keeper, before beating Fabian Schar and testing Dubravka again.

Newcastle offered little before the break aside from an angled Sean Longstaff strike which did not trouble Aynsley Pears.

Rovers started the second half the brighter and Dolan called Dubravka into action again with a firm strike from the edge of the area.

Newcastle manager Eddie Howe changed the balance just after the hour as he sent on Miguel Almiron, Lewis Miley and Ashley Barnes in a triple change.

The Magpies began to take control and Blackburn had to scramble clear after a Kieran Trippier header was blocked on the line.

Longstaff headed over from a corner and Gordon should have done better than shoot straight at Pears after being played through.

Gordon made amends for that as he made the breakthrough 19 minutes from time, calmly stroking home after a good run and neat cutback by Almiron.

It felt harsh on Rovers but, rather than lie down and accept defeat, the hosts rallied.

Newcastle’s lead lasted eight minutes as Arnor Sigurdsson broke down the right and picked out Dilan Markanday, who thumped a first-time shot against the bar.

Szmodics was the quickest to react to the rebound and coolly guided the bouncing ball into the net.

Rovers almost snatched victory in stoppage time as Yasin Ayari’s deflected shot was saved by Dubravka with his legs.

Newcastle had the first opportunity in extra time, but Pears produced a brilliant double save to deny Gordon and Longstaff at close quarters.

The visitors looked certain to score in the 112th minute when Gordon broke into the box and ball was squared for Bruno Guimares, but Scott Wharton miraculously blocked on the line.

Szmodics had another chance at the other end, but again Dubravka was alert.

It was Dubravka who proved the hero in the shoot-out, although it went to the final kick after Barnes had his effort saved, as he tipped Hyam’s shot onto the post.

Eddie Howe is confident Newcastle’s topsy-turvy season can still end on a high note as he targets FA Cup glory.

The Magpies slipped to ninth place in the Premier League table after a dismal 4-1 defeat at Arsenal on Saturday evening, and have looked some way off the pace they set last season, when they roared to a top-four finish.

But as they head into Tuesday night’s FA Cup fifth-round trip to Sky Bet Championship Blackburn, head coach Howe is convinced a campaign which has featured a famous Champions League victory over Paris St Germain, but also an untimely exit from Europe, could still have a happy ending.

He said: “We are still in the throes of deciding where this season ends up. Nothing is decided for or against us.

“I definitely want to squash that feeling that we are feeling sorry for ourselves because that has negative connotations. We need the players excited and ambitious, thinking brightly about the future.

“This season can still be very special for us, but we have to make it happen.”

Howe has been able to plead mitigating circumstances for much of what has happened so far this season with injuries having eaten significantly into his resources, but he was making no excuses for the horror show at the Emirates Stadium.

Instead, he refocused on progression in the FA Cup and the task of securing a European berth for the second successive season, even if the Europa League or Europa Conference League now look more realistic options.

He said: “Of course, qualifying for the Champions League was unbelievable last year. But if you can’t make that again, then we have to look for the next best alternative.

“That’s what we’re trying to do, and for me, they’re (the Europa League and Conference League) realistic objectives and we’ll give everything we can to achieve it.”

It is perhaps no coincidence that the Magpies’ difficulties have intensified since the loss of powerhouse midfielder Joelinton. He suffered a thigh tendon injury in the FA Cup third-round victory at Sunderland which is likely to sideline him for much of the remainder of the campaign.

Howe said: “We’ve missed Joe’s qualities, especially physically, his robustness, his abilities in duels, set-plays for and against.

“We’re very lucky to have a midfielder that’s as big as he is and as competitive as he is and whenever you lose those qualities, you notice when they’re not there.

“He’s a very unusual midfielder, really, a prototype. You don’t get many like him and it’s certainly been missed, what he can bring.”

The 27-year-old Brazilian has played a key role in the club’s resurgence since emerging from a miserable start to his career on Tyneside, and his future remains uncertain with a contract wrangle – his current deal expires next year – unresolved.

Howe said: “That’s always been in my mind as an absolute priority, to try to get him to stay at the club long-term. I see that as hugely important.”

David Wagner was “frustrated” after Norwich surrendered a lead to draw 1-1 at Blackburn.

With Hull and West Brom’s drawing earlier in the day, the Canaries had the opportunity to close to within a point of the play-off places and looked on course to do so after their early superiority was reflected in Marcelino Nunez’s 22nd-minute opener – his first goal of the season.

They could not turn the screw, though, and Blackburn fought back, deservedly equalising through Dominic Hyam’s first goal in 17 months in the 56th minute.

Norwich have lost just once in their last nine outings and are a place and three points behind sixth-placed Hull, and although Wagner felt his side deserved the victory, he was frustrated at the nature of the equaliser.

He said: “Offensively we played some good football, played from our structure, created enough to score more than only one goal.

“Defensively, we put a shift in, we worked hard. Yes we gave one other opportunity away but in general I think it was a good away performance.

“I’m frustrated at the result to be totally honest, not to win this game after the opportunities which we created, after we got the lead.

“To concede off a set piece, off the corner, this is what frustrates a little bit, but at the end of the day the performance was good.

“We have to be focused on the performances because in recent weeks, the players have performed on a very good level.

“Nothing is decided today. We have a lot of games to play, a lot of points to collect. This game is gone, we got a point, we should have got three.”

Since changing head coach Blackburn have stemmed the tide of defeats and have lost just once in five.

Sam Gallagher was denied three times in the first half before Hyam’s equaliser.

Rovers are four points clear of danger, but John Eustace focused on the team’s “character and commitment” to fight back.

He said: “I thought it was a very good performance.

“We were up against one of the top teams in the league at the moment. They’re in a good run of form.

“I thought we created some really good chances in the first half, showed great character to come back in the second half and equalise, which I think is the first time this season at home we’ve managed to do that.

“We’re making small steps forward and I was pleased with the point in the end. I’d have loved three points of course, but again, I thought the lads showed great commitment and character to come from behind.

“To win a game or to stay in games, you have to show that level of commitment and be very difficult to play against. You have to earn the right to play.

“I thought our football at times today was very good. We created two or three fantastic chances from some really good moves.

“It’s about being patient and you can see us growing as a group.”

Norwich missed the chance to cut the gap on the top six after drawing 1-1 at Blackburn.

The Canaries started well and their early possession was rewarded in superb style when Marcelino Nunez curled his first goal of the season into the top corner midway through the first half.

Both sides had chances, though, with Sam Gallagher denied three times in the first half by Angus Gunn, and they were eventually rewarded through Dominic Hyam’s towering header after the break.

A point was a fair outcome for both sides as neither managed to create a clear-cut chance after the equaliser which means Norwich remain three points outside the play-offs after extending their unbeaten run to five.

Blackburn are still looking for their first win under John Eustace but even though they are winless in four, they have not lost in their last three.

The Canaries certainly enjoyed the lion’s share of possession in the early exchanges, but it was Blackburn who had the first real opening when Harry Pickering’s 19th-minute corner found Gallagher, whose downward header was parried away brilliantly by Gunn.

That save proved crucial as Norwich hit the front in spectacular fashion three minutes later when Nunez bent a 20-yard free-kick into the top-left corner.

David Wagner’s men almost doubled their lead two minutes later when Gabriel Sara slipped Josh Sargent in on goal but goalkeeper Aynsley Pears was out quickly to smother his low effort.

Gallagher had another chance on the half hour when he latched onto a ball down the left but he took one touch too many and Gunn was able to spread himself to block from a tight angle.

Gunn made it a hat-trick of saves from Gallagher when he palmed his far-post header away after the striker met John Buckley’s searching cross.

The interval came at a good time for the visitors and they almost regrouped to devastating effect when Christian Fassnacht sprung Blackburn’s offside trap but Pears’ outstretched leg diverted the ball to safety just as the Swiss winger was set to take the ball around him.

For the second time in the game, superb goalkeeping proved crucial as Rovers levelled in the 56th minute. Pickering’s deep corner was met by Hyam who rose above three Norwich players to head home from six yards.

At that stage a grandstand finish felt like it was on the cards but surprisingly it failed to materialise.

Canaries substitute Onel Hernandez looked the most likely provider as he first sent in a cross that Ashley Barnes directed well wide, before more trickery saw him centre for Sargent who was just ahead of the pass.

Wales captain Aaron Ramsey is set to miss the Euro 2024 play-off against Finland, Cardiff manager Erol Bulut has revealed.

Ramsey made two substitute appearances for Cardiff earlier this month after spending five months out with a knee injury.

But Ramsey reported a calf problem last week and a scan has now shown that a tendon issue will rule him out until the end of March.

Wales play Finland in the play-off semi-final in Cardiff on March 21.

The winners will host Poland or Estonia in Cardiff five days later for a place at Euro 2024 this summer.

“The last time we spoke about Ramsey I got a report that it was a strain,” Bulut said after Cardiff’s 0-0 draw with Blackburn in the Sky Bet Championship.

“But yesterday (Monday) I hear it was a strain on the tendon. He will be available end of March.

“This is also a disappointing for us. I will support him every way I can. It’s not easy to be out for five months.

“He will be out for four to six weeks.”

Bulut bemoaned Cardiff’s failure in front of goal after drawing a blank for the fourth successive home game.

“Generally I am satisfied,” Bulut said. “Maybe you will ask, ‘Why?’ When we see the last weeks, we lost many points and games.

“It was not easy for my team to go out and play positively, because of the confidence which has been lost. Today it was important to get a bit of confidence back.

“This is the point where the confidence is not where we need it. It’s missing.

“Defensively we were good. The team was really working hard. In front of the goal is the issue. We create a lot, but don’t put the ball in the net and this continues.”

New Blackburn boss John Eustace suggested his players were too nice after Callum Britain’s effort struck the arm of Dimitrios Goutas during the second half.

Goutas’ arm was in an unnatural position, but Rovers players did not appeal and play was waved on.

Eustace said: “It did looked handball to me. We’ve got a really nice group of players and I would like to have seen them appeal a little bit more.

“It possibly goes to VAR in the Premier League and the players can be as nice as they want then.

“I’m delighted with a point and our first clean sheet in 17 games.

“It was important we stop goals going in because we’ve got the worst record in the league.

“It’s a big step to getting that togetherness and belief that we are really good team and we want to get to the 50-point mark as quickly as possible.”

Cardiff and Blackburn served up few thrills in a 0-0 draw that provided little optimism either can escape the bottom half of the Sky Bet Championship.

Both teams came into the contest low on confidence after poor form – Cardiff had lost six of their last seven in all competitions, Blackburn had won only once in 11 league outings – and it showed on a night of low quality.

Blackburn, five points above the relegation zone at kick-off, knew victory would take them above Cardiff in the bottom half of the table.

But John Eustace is still waiting for his first win as Rovers boss with one defeat and two draws from three games since succeeding Jon Dahl Tomasson at Ewood Park.

Cardiff also remain in a rut with scoring a clear issue, the Bluebirds having failed to register for the fourth successive home game.

Dimitrios Goutas’ early header counted as an on-target attempt but, in truth, the ball might have lacked the necessary power to cross the line before Aynsley Pears collected.

Dominic Hyam fizzed a shot wide from 25 yards but the Rovers captain was culpable conceding possession in a dangerous area and allowing Karlan Grant to burst down the left.

The on-loan West Brom forward sent over a dangerous ball which Ryan Wintle chose to leave when shooting seemed the wiser option.

Grant remained the biggest threat to breaking the deadlock while Rubin Colwill, benefiting from a rare run of games and making his third successive start, presented the odd touch of quality.

Rovers were stretched after Sondre Tronstad lost possession in midfield and Manolis Siopis released Grant. However, Pears closed down the angle at the near post and pushed the ball to safety.

Cardiff started the second half with purpose and Blackburn were fortunate not to concede.

Pears prevented Josh Bowler from opening the scoring low at his near post and then tipped over a short corner routine found Grant unmarked at the edge of the area.

Kion Etete forced another reaction save from Pears after good work by Colwill, Goutas headed wide and Grant was just off-target with a free-kick.

Rovers were creaking but almost stunned the home side with their first on-target attempt after 64 minutes.

Callum Britain’s effort was blocked by the arm of Goutas, which was raised yet escaped the attention of referee Leigh Doughty.

Play continued in the Cardiff box and goalkeeper Ethan Horvath spread himself superbly to deny substitute Tyrhys Dolan.

Rovers had more impetus after the introduction of Dolan and John Buckley, but that eventually petered out as the encounter drifted towards a tame conclusion.

New Blackburn boss John Eustace was left with plenty of positives from their derby draw at Preston despite seeing the home side fight back from 2-0 down at Deepdale.

After tasting defeat on his return to Birmingham in midweek, Eustace must have felt his maiden Rovers win was on the way after first-half strikes from Sammie Szmodics and Sam Gallagher put them in charge against their Lancashire rivals.

Rovers were unable to hold on, with play-off chasing Preston hitting back just before the break to level through goals from Robbie Brady and Emil Riis, but Eustace was nevertheless heartened by his team’s performance.

“I’m very proud of the effort of the group,” he said. “The way they dug in with a few difficult moments was very rewarding.

“We wanted three points with the way we started, it was exceptional. We executed the game plan and the first half an hour was very good.

“There were a few tired bodies, you could see that and the decision-making a couple of times towards the end of the half cost us.

“It’s disappointing, but there are a lot of positives to take from the game. The way we dug in, the way we stuck together, the way we defended a very physical team. I think this group of players have been questioned for that level of commitment to keep the ball out of the net and I think they did that.

“It’s a good point against a good team.

“There’s no feeling of what might have been because you don’t have any divine right to win any games.

“You have to battle and keep the ball out for 95 minutes.

“We were always going to be under bits of pressure. It was really disappointing to concede two set-pieces. We need to get better at that.

“We’ve got quality players and quality going forward and we showed that. Overall, I’m very happy with the effort of the players.”

Szmodics overtook Plymouth’s Morgan Whittaker at the top of the Championship scoring charts as he gave Rovers an early lead and Gallagher sent the visiting fans into scenes of jubilation with a neat flick in the 23rd minute.

But a four-minute burst scuppered their victory charge with Brady’s stunning strike opening his account for the season and Riis scrambling home his third goal in as many games to draw the hosts level.

“It’s a good point in a local derby,” said Preston boss Ryan Lowe.

“It’s frustrating. When we were in the ascendency and got two goals back, there only looked to be one winner and that was us.

“We were camped out in their half. When you’re two goals down and get back to 2-2, you’ve got to be pleased with the point.

“I was disappointed with the two goals.

“Both sets of teams were out on their feet at the end.

“It wasn’t for a lack of trying. I thought the lads were fantastic in sticking to it.

“It ends up being a bit of a dogged performance in the end. We played a lot of football to try and get our way in. It’s a point in the right direction at the end.

“They were mistakes and individual errors really. I’m not going to fault the players.

“When you’ve got one of the best players in the league through on goal he’s going to score. You can’t give those types of goals away.

“We had to deal with the ball down the side for the second as well. We need to find solutions for next time.”

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