ROVERS produced an improved performance and were unlucky not to return from Blackburn on Saturday with at least a point.

Clarke set the team up to be more defensive-minded as he tried to address a worrying run of form that had seen us lose eight of the last nine games.

Harrison was selected as the lone frontman, with Nichols and Gaffney on the bench, and Partington was given the role of the holding midfielder, with Lines dropped.

Sweeney was also restored to the starting line-up, alongside Lockyer in central defence, with Broadbent making way.

It almost paid off as the Pirates put in a much improved showing than the previous week’s debacle at home to AFC Wimbledon.

We looked determined and well organised and Partington was a revelation in the holding role.

After an impressive first half that ended goalless, we took the lead through Harrison in the 58th minute after he drove in a well angled shot.

Unfortunately it spurred Blackburn into life and they hit back with goals in the 61st and 67th minutes. The first was a penalty that was harshly awarded following a collision in the box.

The spirit of the side remained strong however, and we were unlucky again to see an Ollie Clarke goal disallowed for offside and Bodin should have done better with a header that hit the crossbar.

When you’re out of form the luck tends to go against you and we certainly didn’t get the rub of the green on one or two occasions from the match officials.

But the 1,300 travelling Gasheads at Ewood Park were encouraged by what they had seen as it was a much more impressive display than we have witnessed of late.

If we can replicate that level of performance in the games to come, while adding to the squad in January, we should be able to move away from the danger zone and move to a more comfortable mid-table position.

The defeat saw us slip to 18th in the table, just one point away from the bottom four, so a win against Rotherham at the Mem on Saturday will be vital.