Blackburn boss Jon Dahl Tomasson was pleased to lay on the entertainment in front of a gathering of former Ewood Park favourites for the club’s 5,000th league game.

A total of 35 attempts on goal were shared by both teams as Sammie Szmodics’ brace secured a 2-1 triumph over bottom-of-the-table Middlesbrough.

Matt Crooks replied in an incredibly open game, but Tomasson insisted afterwards that he would “rather try and win 5-3 than 1-0” every week.

Former Premier League-winning defender Colin Hendry and 89-year-old Bryan Douglas, who played in the 1958 and 1962 World Cup finals for England, were among the luminaries paraded onto the pitch before kick-off and ex-Denmark striker Tomasson said: “It was good to see us win the club’s 5,000th game and to see all of the legends before the game.

“I hope they enjoyed it and all the fans did too. It was great to see that amount of chances and we should probably have been 3-0 up at half-time, so it was frustrating not to convert more of the opportunities.

“We then scored a difficult one early in the second half but Middlesbrough got one back, which I think the referee and his assistant will be disappointed by when they look back at it because
their player was totally alone three metres from goal and was offside.

“It was then a tough period for us.

“Their goal changed the momentum after all those chances we had missed, but we play football for the fans because they pay a lot of money and you have to give them something back, so I would rather try and win 5-3 than 1-0.”

Midfielder Szmodics’ brace took his tally for the season to four, with Tomasson confessing that such a haul is a boost after a summer in which Rovers lost attacking duo Ben Brereton Diaz and Bradley Dack.

He added: “Sammie went close to his first hat-trick in a Rovers shirt and he’s started this season on fire for us. That’s important because we haven’t got a proven goalscorer in the squad, so everybody needs to chip in.”

Boro more than played their part in an absorbing and pulsating contest, but have now collected just one point from their opening six games and, including last season’s two-legged play-off defeat to Coventry, have failed to win any of their last 11 league matches – a sequence that equals the club’s longest outside of top-flight football since January 1925.

Manager Michael Carrick insisted, though, that the mood in his squad remains “good”.

“The changing room was quiet after the game, but it’s not a horrible atmosphere by any stretch of the imagination,” he said. “The mood is good.

“We’re not hiding from the fact that we need to get results, but there’s spirit and inner-belief in the group. It’s easy when people are telling me that I’m fantastic and the players that they are fantastic, but we knew a tough time would come at some point.

“Then, it’s how you deal with it and overcome it and, although this was an open game that probably suited them, I think we have controlled a lot of the other matches and it wouldn’t have taken much to tip the scales and turn the results in our favour.

“There were chances everywhere in this game and I thought we were right in it in the second half, but we are having to come back from setbacks too much at the moment.”

Midfielder Sammie Szmodics grabbed his second brace of the season to ensure Blackburn’s 5,000th league game ended in a 2-1 home win against Middlesbrough.

Matt Crooks gave bottom-of-the-table Boro hope with a 55th-minute reply but, including last season’s two-legged play-off final defeat to Coventry, the Teessiders have now gone 11 games without a league win, equalling the club’s longest sequence outside the top flight since January 1925.

The game kicked off amid a mood of celebration as the hosts commemorated the landmark occasion by welcoming a series of club legends onto the pitch.

Among them were Premier League-winning defender Colin Hendry, former PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor and 89-year-old Bryan Douglas, who played for England at the 1958 and 1962 World Cup finals.

Rovers appeared buoyed by that reception and Tyrhys Dolan should have opened the scoring less than two minutes in, but he headed over an empty goal after Callum Brittain’s pinpoint right-wing cross had taken Boro goalkeeper Seny Dieng out of the equation.

The Senegal international was in the right position to parry away from Lewis Travis shortly afterwards.

Jonny Howson went on to fire too high with the visitors’ first attempt of the afternoon at the midway point of the half, before Szmodics fittingly grabbed the game’s opener just after fans had begun clapping on the half-hour mark in memory of PA announcer Matt Sillitoe, who tragically passed away last month at the age of 30.

After Sam Gallagher stepped over a forward pass by Hayden Carter, the ex-Peterborough midfielder swept a strike inside Dieng’s right-hand post from the edge of the box.

Boro rallied, with Marcus Forss forcing a smart near-post save from Aynsley Pears, while Emmanuel Latte Lath should have done better with two great headed chances from Howson dead-ball deliveries, directing the first wastefully wide and the second tamely at the home keeper.

An unchallenged Gallagher also missed the target for Rovers with another aerial opportunity from six yards on the stroke of half-time.

Dieng then had to be alert to deny Dolan just 25 seconds after the restart following a Szmodics right-wing raid, but the latter extended the lead in the 49th minute.

Receiving the ball from Ryan Hedges, Szmodics drilled a 20-yard effort that Dieng could only help into the top corner.

Boro refused to surrender, though, with Crooks cleverly flicking in from six yards from Forss’ cross to reduce the deficit.

After Dieng made a double save to deny Adam Wharton and Dolan, Boro then missed three great chances to level, with Latte Lath ballooning over, Forss prodding wide and Darragh Lenihan heading too high.

As the match continued to swing from end to end, Dieng displayed more sharp reflexes to deny Hedges twice and make a one-on-one stop to prevent Szmodics from claiming the match ball.

The profligate Latte Lath, meanwhile, burst clear on goal at the death, only for his heavy touch to gift Pears the chance to snatch the ball off his feet.

Plymouth boss Steven Schumacher was delighted with his side’s 3-0 Sky Bet Championship home win over Blackburn.

Scottish striker Ryan Hardie took his tally to four goals in five league games with an opportunist 77th-minute close-range goal then won the aerial duel to tee up Luke Cundle’s sublime chip over goalkeeper Aynsley Pears as promoted Argyle climbed to 10th. Finn Azaz’s deflected 27th-minute strike had opened the scoring.

Schumacher said: “It’s a huge three points for us. It gives us seven points from our first five games in the Championship, we can all be quite pleased with that.

“We go into the international break having got maximum points today, which is important.

“We have won the game probably without playing our best. We played better in our last two league games and on Tuesday night in the cup and haven’t got anything from those games.

“It’s a funny old game football. Blackburn were a really tough opponent and for us to get three points from it? It’s a huge win.

“I really like them. They are a good, well-organised, fit, young squad and have caused everyone they have played so far this season problems and they caused us problems today.

“In the first half they had more energy than us and played with a better tempo. We were half a yard off them and they were the better team and we scored against the run of play.

“At half-time we spoke about being a little more aggressive, we changed our press slightly and with the chances we created in the second half we were clinical, which – as everyone has seen so far – hugely important in the Championship.”

Rovers boss Jon Dahl Tomasson said: “We all know how important the first goal is.

“We had the chances to score the first goal, they scored the first goal from a deflection.

“I don’t think it is a fair scoreline if you look at the game, not at all. If you look up until the 75th minute, I was thinking, ‘how is it possible we are not leading this game?’.

“We played some great football but at the end of the day, it is about putting the ball in the goal. We had the opportunities.

“The first goal they scored was a deflection and we all know how difficult it is to come here. I think they won 20 out of 23 home games last season. So it’s a good record.

“To create that many opportunities in the final third was good, but of course we are extremely disappointed with the result.

“I am disappointed we couldn’t give the fans one or three points.

“The first goal was extremely unlucky, it was a deflection and our deflected shot hit the bar. But if you make mistakes when you are a striker it is different than if you make mistakes at the back.”

Ryan Hardie scored before turning provider as Plymouth comfortably beat Blackburn 3-0 at Home Park.

Promoted Argyle’s top-scorer took his tally to four goals in five Sky Bet Championship games in the 77th minute when Rovers goalkeeper Aynsley Pears failed to hold Callum Wright’s shot to let Hardie sweep home from close range.

In the 80th minute Scottish striker Hardie was instrumental in Argyle’s third goal, winning an aerial ball as Pears headed out Argyle keeper Conor Hazard’s clearance.

The ball fell to on-loan Wolves midfielder Luke Cundle, on as a second-half substitute, and he deftly lobbed the ball over Pears.

The game turned on its head in the 27th minute when Finn Azaz’s deflected shot from outside the penalty area wrongfooted Pears.

Midfielder Azaz, on loan from Aston Villa, latched on to a pass by playmaker Morgan Whittaker 20 yards out and his first-time effort appeared to spin off Adam Wharton and go past helpless Pears.

Rovers will have rued missing opportunities after dominating until that point.

Ryan Hedges had the best opportunity to open the scoring for Rovers in the sixth minute after latching on to an incisive pass from striker Sam Gallagher.

Hedges was one-on-one with Hazard but sidefooted wide of the Argyle keeper and the goal from 12 yards out.

In a rare counter-attack, Hardie fired over from range after being teed up by midfielder Adam Randell in the 11th minute.

A minute later Gallagher – who hails from Crediton in Devon – looked set to score with a thumping header from a Hedges cross but Hazard acrobatically turned the ball over his bar.

Argyle finally got a foothold in the match in the 22nd minute with another effective break.

Whittaker put Hardie away down the right and his far-post cross was brilliantly headed downwards and goalwards by incoming winger Bali Mumba.

Pears was equal to the effort at the foot of the post, just managing to turn the ball around for a corner.

Azaz’s goal gave Argyle confidence and Pears had to again turn the ball around his post in the 34th minute following a mazy run and shot by Whittaker down the right and along the byline.

Impressive livewire Rovers forward Sammie Szmodics caught hold of a loose ball yards out and brought a smart save from Hazard.

Again Argyle countered, with Whittaker’s deft strike again turned around his post by a diving Pears at full stretch.

Randell’s measured curling shot in the 54th minute went just over before skipper Joe Edwards went close with a similar effort on the hour, ahead of a spate of substitutions.

Hedges was unlucky not to get on the end of a cross in the 63rd minute.

Rovers went in search of a leveller with Hayden Carter coming the closest to scoring as his deflected shot spun up on to the top of the bar in the 70th minute.

Blackburn boss Jon Dahl Tomasson hailed the club’s academy as teenage debutants Thomas Bloxham and James Edmondson both netted in an
8-0 Carabao Cup hammering of Harrogate.

Second-half substitutes Bloxham, 18, and Edmondson, 17, joined John Buckley (2), Jake Garrett, Sam Gallagher, Dilan Markanday and Zak Gilsenan as Rovers romped to their biggest victory since 1963 and earned a third round home tie against Cardiff.

Tomasson said: “It’s fairly rare to score eight goals in a competitive match and we have all seen before how tough these games can be but we produced a very professional and mature performance.

“We showed intensity right from the beginning in a competition that I take seriously and it was a perfect day for the academy with players getting their first minutes and goals for the senior team.”

Tomasson made 10 changes from the side that won 1-0 at Watford on Sunday with home boss Simon Weaver also surprisingly fielding eight different players to the starting XI that kicked off the weekend’s 2-0 victory over Morecambe.

Weaver conceded that the result was an “embarrassing” night for the Sulphurites, who were hosting Championship opposition in a competitive fixture for the first time in their history.

“We had important players missing through injury, but I can’t defend a really bad, embarrassing scoreline like that,” he admitted.

“The gulf in class was obvious and we gifted them the first two goals in that opening 13-minute spell.

“It’s hard to then come back and overcome the odds against a Championship team with quality running right through the squad but, as devastated as we are and having taken some stick that was quite rightly directed at us, we have to move on quickly because what’s most important now is we put right a few wrongs here in the league on Saturday.”

Teenagers Thomas Bloxham and James Edmondson scored on their senior debuts as Blackburn romped to an 8-0 win at League Two Harrogate.

Rovers enjoyed their biggest victory since 1963 in a heavily one-sided Carabao Cup second round tie, with John Buckley (2), Jake Garrett, Sam Gallagher, Dilan Markanday and Zak Gilsenan also on target for the Championship side.

The visitors, who made 10 changes to the side that started Sunday’s Championship win at Watford, had the outcome wrapped up by half-time, cruising into a 4-0 lead.

First, Gallagher fed Garrett in the penalty box and he fired across goal into the  bottom left corner of Mark Oxley’s net for the 10th-minute opener.

Gallagher got on the scoresheet himself three minutes later, capitalising on Will Smith’s failure to cut out a Buckley through-ball before coolly beating an exposed Oxley.

Buckley went on to make it 3-0 in the 34th minute after Andy Moran had rounded Oxley and squared to the unmarked midfielder six yards from the visitors’ goal.

Markanday then rubbed salt in the wounds by firing into the bottom corner from the edge of the box in first half added-time.

There was no respite for the hosts after the restart with Buckley converting from the penalty spot after Warren Burrell had brought down Sondre Tronstad.

Gilsenan then rifled a 20-yard free-kick into the roof of the net, then fellow substitute Bloxham showed nimble footwork in the box before finding the bottom corner to make it 7-0.

Edmondson, introduced in the 63rd minute, tucked a one-on-one chance under Oxley 12 minutes later to become the third goalscoring substitute on a satisfying night for the visitors.

Valerien Ismael explained he dropped key midfielder Imran Louza for disciplinary reasons ahead of Watford’s 1-0 defeat at home to Blackburn.

The Morocco midfielder is understood to have been punished for poor time-keeping, arriving late for a training session.

Louza was introduced as a half-time substitute but it was from his error that Ryan Hedges went on to score the game’s only goal.

Ismael made it clear afterwards that stamping down on lax discipline was top of his agenda as Watford’s new manager.

“When we came we set rules with the players and everyone has to respect the rules, it’s as simple as that,” he said.

“Imran knows exactly why he was on the bench today. You have to understand as well I’m not happy to take some decisions but I have to take action when people don’t respect the rules.

“I want to play my best team in the league. It was an internal situation, now everything is clear so we move on. I don’t need to go into details, it is enough to say he was on the bench.”

Hedges won it for Rovers in the 72nd minute. Louza misplaced a pass that allowed Rovers substitute Sam Gallagher to send captain Lewis Travis sprinting goalwards.

Hornets defender Ryan Porteous stopped him with a fine tackle but Hedges seized on the loose ball and, having juggled it on the top of a boot to get it under control, lashed high past Daniel Bachmann from a tight angle on the right.

“I’m delighted with the result and the performance,” said Rovers manager Jon Dahl Tomasson.

“We knew that coming to Watford with those quality players they have it could be difficult to dominate the game on the ball. We showed great organisation and discipline and I think we defended really well.

“We had five or six good moments in the first half where the quality of our passing and decision-making was not good.

“I was disappointed that we were not leading two or three-nil by half-time because there were some key moments. We spoke about those moments and in the second half we scored from one of those moments and could have scored a couple more.”

Matheus Martins, Watford’s Brazilian wideman, was the game’s outstanding individual and came closest to ending a Hornets league goal drought.

First he forced Rovers goalkeeper Aynsley Pears into a parry before smacking the crossbar before half-time. Later, after Hedges had fired Rovers in front, he saw Pears tip a goal-bound effort on to a post.

The win lifted Rovers up to ninth and left the Hornets stuck in 15th, without a goal in Championship action since the 43rd minute of their opening game.

“We missed making the goal to have that opener and the confidence and relief we needed,” Ismael added.

“We shot on the crossbar, we shot on the post, had dangerous situations and in my opinion we should have had a penalty as well.

“We tried to do the right things so my feeling is as long as we have the feeling that we are going the right way we have to stay calm and keep working hard.

“This is the Championship and we know that in two or three months it can look completely different. It is difficult to take that with their only chance of the second half the opponent wins the game.”

A sensational second-half goal from Ryan Hedges earned Blackburn a 1-0 win at Watford.

Hedges produced a brilliant piece of skill to lift it away from Wesley Hoedt and juggle before smashing past Daniel Bachmann in the 72nd minute.

The counter-attack had sprung from an error by substitute Imran Louza, who had been dropped to the bench for disciplinary reasons by Watford manager Valerien Ismael.

The win lifted Rovers up to ninth and left the Hornets stuck in 15th after a third successive match without a goal.

Watford shaded scrappy opening exchanges. Matheus Martins saw a shot on the turn deflected behind before Hoedt headed over at the back post.

A passing move that began in their left-back area saw Rovers fashion their first shooting chance but Hornets goalkeeper Bachmann did well to parry Sammie Szmodics’ drive.

Szmodics lost possession soon after that to hand Watford a chance. Rovers keeper Aynsley Pears emulated Bachmann by beating away Martins’ shot and the Brazilian went even closer in the 29th minute by cutting in from the left and thumping a drive that smacked off the Rovers crossbar.

The half-hour mark saw supporters applaud the memory of Blackburn PA announcer Matt Sillitoe, who died aged 30. Before kick-off the passing of ex-Hornets goalkeeper Andy Rankin, who died aged 79, was marked in the same way.

Watford went close again just before the break when Tom Dele-Bashiru launched a powerful shot that Dominic Hyam threw himself in the way to block.

Louza – who had turned up late for training earlier in the week – replaced Ismael Kone at the start of a second period that began with Martins only just off target with two more long-rangers.

Watford made a double change just before the hour mark, with new striker Mileta Rajovic on for a debut. Andy Moran, on loan from Brighton, then came on for a Rovers bow and immediately fired a decent opportunity at Bachmann.

Hyam, who had only just survived a penalty shout for handball, was booked for illegally stopping Ryan Andrews reaching the Rovers box, with Louza firing over from the free-kick move.

Rajovic also failed to hit the target before Louza was booked for a foul on Adam Wharton.

The game was crying out for a goal – and Hedges conjured up a cracker in the 72nd minute. Louza lost possession and substitute Sam Gallagher’s pass sent Lewis Travis sprinting goalwards but Ryan Porteous stopped him with a fine tackle in the box.

Hedges seized on the loose ball however and, juggling it on the top of his boot to get it under control, lashed high past Bachmann from a tight angle on the right.

Martins was unlucky again with a shot that Pears tipped on to his left-hand post to leave Watford without a goal since the 43rd minute of their opening game.

Liam Rosenior praised the “fantastic finishing” of Aaron Connolly after his late double saw Hull come from behind to defeat 10-man Blackburn 2-1.

Hull were in control from the outset and tightened their grip when Harry Pickering received a 17th-minute red card for bringing Liam Delap down when clean through.

But the resilient Blackburn team took the lead through Sam Gallagher’s emphatic finish in the 74th minute, setting up a frantic ending to the game, which saw substitute Connolly give the Tigers a taste of the clinical finishing they can expect more of after signing the striker on a permenant basis this summer.

He equalised with a first-time volley in the 81st minute before again timing his run to perfection with two minutes remaining to stroke home a winner and give Hull a first league win at Ewood Park since February 2016.

Rosenior was delighted with all his attackers, and how Connolly stretched a tiring Blackburn defence.

The Hull boss said: “Aaron’s finish, he’s got that ability in training. He just takes things really early. He took both goals so early so the goalkeeper couldn’t get set and now he’s got three in two.

“We wore them down. If you watch the game back, we made, I don’t know how many, 600 passes. It’s hard with 10 men to defend against 600 passes. It’s no coincidence we score the two goals in the last 10 minutes, because the players stuck to the plan.

“Aaron gets the plaudits, two fantastic finishes. I’ve got Liam Delap who I thought played really well, he can hold the ball up, he can twist, turn and combine. I’ve got Oscar (Estupinan) who is your typical target man, good technically, can hold the ball up.

“Why I really like Aaron in this group is because he stretches teams, runs in behind. That’s what the two goals come from and all of a sudden, Blackburn were used to having Liam stuck in front of them and then you’ve got Aaron on running in behind them and it took them by surprise. Fortunately for us, it worked.”

Jon Dahl Tomasson was pleased with Blackburn’s effort, despite seeing their unbeaten start to the season end.

They could have been celebrating a famous victory only for Niall Ennis to strike a post and see a header cleared off the line by Lewie Coyle, in between Matt Ingram saving from Gallagher, all whilst the score was 1-1.

He said: “Extremely disappointed to lose the game. I don’t think we deserved it actually. We can’t ask more from our players, playing with 10 men for more than 80 minutes. Incredible effort.

“We scored a great goal, but conceded two unnecessary goals, straight passes. But just before they scored the second, we had one, two, three chances. The ball was dancing on the line of the opponent.

“It’s always good to see when you lose the game – I hate losing – but when you lose a game and you go off the pitch, and you hear the fans cheering, then you have done something really, really good as a team.

“We can’t expect more playing 80 minutes with 10 men but we created chances even with 10 men, so I think actually we deserved more.

“I think today was a brilliant effort. You can see a team who’s fighting for each other. Great spirit, playing good football, and creating big chances.”

Substitute Aaron Connolly scored a late brace as Hull came from behind to beat 10-man Blackburn 2-1 in a breathless encounter.

Rovers were up against it from the 17th minute when Harry Pickering was given his marching orders for upending Liam Delap when clean through but displayed great resilience and managed to take a 74th-minute lead through Sam Gallagher.

However, Hull recovered superbly and Connolly volleyed home an 81st-minute equaliser before handing the Tigers their first away league win since January with a composed finish seven minutes later.

Hull deserved their second straight victory on the balance of play but Rovers perhaps should have come out of the game with something and will rue missed chances for Gallagher and Niall Ennis a minute before Connolly’s decisive strike.

Hull went close twice early on, but Aynsley Pears produced a fine low save to repel Ozan Tufan’s eighth-minute shot before denying on-loan Scott Twine from a narrow angle.

The hosts’ afternoon was made considerably harder when Pickering saw red after misjudging a long ball and bringing down Delap 20 yards out with only the keeper to beat.

Rovers regrouped but Hull maintained the pressure and Callum Brittain made a vital block to thwart Tufan.

Twine struck the side-netting just after the restart but the Tigers should have been ahead in the 58th minute when Lewis Travis lost possession and Jean Michael Seri cut the ball back for Delap but Pears was alert and rushed out to make a brilliant stop with his outstretched leg.

Blackburn’s disciplined defending and counter-attacking approach looked to have paid off with 16 minutes left when Ennis drove forward and, though his shot was blocked, the ball fell to the feet of fellow substitute Gallagher who took a touch before emphatically slamming home from 12 yards.

However, Liam Rosenior’s men hit back in style seven minutes later when Seri’s pinpoint pass over the defence found the run of Connolly who crashed a superb volley into the roof of the net.

Back came Rovers in a pulsating finale when Adam Wharton set up Ennis who slammed his shot onto the right post before Hull cleared.

The game swung decisively within a minute as Blackburn went agonisingly close twice in the 87th minute when Gallagher raced clear only to see Matt Ingram block his shot and Ennis’ rebound header cleared off the line.

That reprieve left Hull free to deliver the knockout blow a minute later when Alfie Jones picked out another intelligent Connolly run and with just Pears to beat, he showed remarkable composure to roll the ball into the bottom left corner.

Rotherham boss Matt Taylor has revealed referees chief Howard Webb and match referee Robert Madley visited him in his office to apologise for a decision that went against the Millers in their 2-2 draw with Blackburn on Saturday.

Webb, head of the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL), went to the club along with head of Championship referees Kevin Friend and Madley to discuss the incidents in the match.

Rotherham were leading 2-0 when Fred Onyedinma was sent off for picking up two yellow cards in the space of three minutes, the first when he celebrated by the fans after scoring his side’s second goal and then for gesturing for an opponent to get booked after he had been fouled.

It has been a busy start to the season for Webb, who has been instrumental in improving communication and feedback since taking over from Mike Riley last December, as he has been dealing with the fall-out of Simon Hooper and VAR’s failure not to give Wolves a penalty against Manchester United as well as visiting other clubs around the country, including Lincoln and Barrow.

Taylor said the three-man party admitted Onyedinma should not have been booked for his celebration at the AESSEAL New York Stadium.

“In my office I was lucky to have Howard Webb, Kevin Friend and the referee from last weekend Mr Madley,” he said. “So they were all here talking through the weekend, the way it unfolded.

“The apology, which we’ve had two weeks on the bounce now, was for the first yellow card and that shouldn’t have been a yellow card. We know that, the referee knows that, everyone knows that.

“But it was given as a yellow card and the second yellow card is justified.

“I had three people in my office talking honestly and openly about how they want to improve. They’ll only improve if we’re right as well, if I improve as a manager, if my team improves in terms of their conduct and the way they work.

“The game will only get better off the back of everyone working together and the overriding feeling was that players are struggling a little bit with the changes and how strong some of the officiating has been at the moment and also the officials are struggling at the moment with their changes.”

Rotherham have fallen foul to the stricter rules brought in this season, with midfielder Cafu also sent off on the opening day of the season for a second yellow card that the PGMOL admitted should not have been given.

Taylor says the club will lobby the Football Association to change the rules so yellow cards can be appealed.

“If they’ve admitted to the mistake or owned up to the mistake then we’ve got to be able to appeal yellow cards because we can’t afford to have a player missing who shouldn’t be missing this weekend,” he said.

“The referees agreed with that, it’s not the referees, that’s not their law, that’s not their rule. They don’t want to make mistakes and they don’t want to see teams punished on a double-level basis when it does happen.”

Rotherham manager Matt Taylor was unhappy with the decision to dismiss Fred Onyedinma as his side let a two-goal advantage slip during their 2-2 draw against Blackburn.

Onyedinma was sent off just minutes after putting Rotherham 2-0 up early in the second half and the decision to award two yellow cards in as many minutes from referee Bobby Madley angered the home crowd and baffled Taylor.

The decision turned the tide of the game and left the Millers having to hang on deep into added time.

Sammie Szmodics had an eventful game as he missed a first-half penalty and was at fault for Rotherham’s opener before his second-half double secured a point.

“The first yellow is my biggest frustration. We go 2-0 up, it’s Fred’s first goal and there is emotion. He gets pushed into the crowd by his team-mates celebrating,” Taylor said.

“Football is going in a strange direction right now. I know they are trying to make it a better product, but I would argue that it isn’t right now.

“I thought we went through every emotion known to man. We went from jubilation and then a few minutes later Fred gets sent off. At least we got something out of the game.

“I have not enjoyed the first two games of the season. I have seen a whole host of yellow cards for very little.

“We can go through every single moment of the game with frustration. We are gutted we did not take more from that game.”

Szmodics saw his 15th-minute penalty cannon back off the post after Joe Rankin-Costello had been brought down by Cameron Humphreys.

Hakeem Odoffin blasted Rotherham in front after 23 minutes when he latched onto a loose ball from Szmodics and finished emphatically past Aynsley Pears.

Rotherham went from joy to despair in two crazy second-half minutes as Onyedinma headed in Cafu’s free-kick in the 48th minute before picking up two quick yellow cards.

The first came for over-celebrating the goal and he was then shown a second yellow in the 50th minute after gesturing to referee Madley to give a yellow card to a Blackburn man after being fouled.

Rovers started to create more opportunities with the extra man with Tyrhys Dolan, Ryan Hedges and Rankin-Costello all firing just off target.

Szmodics got one back after 75 minutes when he latched onto Adam Wharton’s pass and fired beyond Viktor Johansson.

He then latched onto a defensive lapse and rounded Johansson before firing in the leveller three minutes later.

Rovers had chances to snatch the three points with Harry Pickering twice coming close, but the spoils were shared.

Blackburn head coach Jon Dahl Tomasson said: “It was a bit of a rollercoaster but entertaining for the fans.

“I think the fans will be disappointed we didn’t come away with three points.

“We did not do enough of the right things in the first half. If we score that penalty then it would be a different game.

“I was not happy with the first half. But I must give all my credit to the lads. They got a well-deserved first and second goal.

“I stopped counting the number of chances we created. Rotherham did really, really well and defended with great spirit. So credit to them.

“Sammie is a great lad. You know anyone can miss a penalty. You have people with different characters. Some who want to then come and sit on the bench, but he scored two goals.”

Blackburn Rovers battled back to earn a 2-2 draw at Rotherham United with Sammie Szmodics going from zero to hero.

Szmodics missed a first-half penalty and was also at fault for The Millers’ opener before his second-half double turned the game around.

Rotherham had looked to be on course for their first win of the campaign thanks to strikes from Hakeem Odoffin and Fred Onyedinma, but the latter’s dismissal for two yellow cards in quick succession turned the course of the match.

The opening chance fell to summer recruit Onyedinma, who slipped by the Blackburn defence to race onto a clearance from Viktor Johansson before seeing his shot tipped wide by Aynsley Pears.

Blackburn were awarded a 15th-minute penalty after Cameron Humphreys clattered into Joe Rankin-Costello in the box. But Szmodics’s effort ricocheted back off the post and Tyrhys Dolan’s follow-up effort dribbled wide.

Szmodics’ afternoon got even worse as he gave the ball away to gift Rotherham the lead in the 23rd minute when Odoffin latched onto the loose pass and smashed beyond Pears from the edge of the box.

Blackburn’s best chance of getting back into the game before the break came when the ball fell kindly to Adam Wharton on the edge of the box, but he volleyed over.

Rotherham doubled their advantage in the 48th minute with Onyedinma meeting Cafu’s free-kick perfectly with a diving header.

But the goalscorer was dismissed for picking up two yellow cards in quick succession from referee Bobby Madley. The first came for celebrating the goal and the second came after he gestured at the referee after being fouled.

Blackburn tried to make their man advantage count with Jon Dahl Tomasson making an attacking triple change.

Dolan came close to halving the advantage as he met Rankin-Costello’s cross powerfully, but his effort whistled just over the bar.

Callum Brittain then set up a decent chance for Ryan Hedges, but he poked wide at the near post.

Rankin-Costello then whistled another effort from the edge of the box just wide before the pressure finally told when Szmodics pulled one back for Blackburn in the 75th minute after his effort deflected in from Wharton’s slick pass.

Szmodics was celebrating again three minutes later when he found himself in on goal after a defensive lapse and smashed home after rounding Johansson.

Blackburn pushed for a winner and Harry Pickering almost delivered one in stunning style when he teed himself up for a volley which had to be tipped over by Johansson.

Pickering again came close in added on time, but his effort drifted wide of goal as Rotherham held on for a point.

Blackburn boss Jon Dahl Tomasson has targeted a Carabao Cup run after his side edged past Walsall in a 4-3 win.

Rovers, who reached the fourth round last season, went behind twice in the first half through Oisin McEntee and Ross Tierney, but Zak Gilsenan and Niall Ennis equalised.

Second-half goals from Jake Garrett and John Buckley gave Blackburn a two-goal cushion which Ronan Maher halved late on.

Blackburn prevailed and Tomasson outlined his ambitions.

He said: “I’m delighted to win the game. My desire, as you know, is to have another great cup run like we had last season, for those brilliant moments.

“It’s great to see five debuts today. We scored four excellent goals. Sometimes we played brilliant football, sometimes we made a lot of mistakes.

“It was great to see all those mistakes and see entertaining football! Sometimes as a coach it’s not that fun but we know they are learning at the job, those young boys.

“I was not satisfied with the first half. We shouldn’t forget that Walsall did a really good job. Made it difficult. But we played too slow, playing sidewards in the first half. Second half was much better.”

Mat Sadler thought Walsall were denied a “stonewall” penalty, but was proud of his charges.

“It’s difficult to be critical of the lads tonight, first half especially,” He said. “We could have scored at least another couple.

“There was without question a stonewall penalty turned down. I don’t know how. The way we countered on them, broke, the football we played, was extremely encouraging.

“The frustration is when you go in the lead and give it away. Frustrated that we conceded a couple of goals that took it away from us in that second period but I can’t be anything but proud of them for what they’ve put in tonight.”

A youthful Blackburn survived a Carabao Cup first-round scare before overcoming Sky Bet League Two Walsall in a 4-3 victory.

The Championship outfit twice came from behind with goals from Oisin McEntee and Ross Tierney cancelled out by Zak Gilsenan and Niall Ennis before half-time.

Strikes from Jake Garrett and John Buckley gave Blackburn breathing space but Ronan Maher’s late strike ensured a nervy finish.

Walsall were worth their 19th-minute lead when McEntee buried a looping header beyond Joe Hilton, but Ryan Hedges crossed for Gilsenan to squeeze home a 21st-minute leveller.

Ennis forced a smart save from Jackson Smith before Tierney finished off a well-worked team goal in the 37th minute, side-footing into the bottom corner from 12 yards.

However, the lead lasted just three minutes as Hedges crossed for Ennis to calmly slot home from 10 yards out.

Rovers were ahead five minutes after the break when Buckley fed Garrett, who rifled into the bottom-right corner. Buckley got in on the act after Gilsenan’s superb first-time pass set him free and he placed beyond the despairing dive of Smith.

The Saddlers gave themselves hope six minutes from time when Maher curled spectacularly into the far-left corner, but Blackburn held on.

Blackburn had earlier announced the signing of Sweden goalkeeper Leopold Wahlstedt from Odds Ballklubb for an undisclosed fee.

Wahlstedt, 24, has agreed a three-year contract and is the club’s fourth summer signing. He has spent the last three seasons at Norwegian top-flight club Odds BK – making 64 appearances – and made his senior debut for Sweden in a 2-0 win against Finland at the start of this year.

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