A goal ten minutes from time by Alfie May, his first in professional football, secured Rovers a valuable point against a rugged Luton Town side.
Rovers showed one change from the team that lost at Carlisle – Andy Butler replacing Joe Wright – and they started well. A searing run from Matty Blair ending with a cross that evaded everyone, then Tommy Rowe cut in from the left with a shot that deflected wide.
However, Luton’s pressing began to take effect and their physical approach disturbed Rovers’ rhythm. In centre-forward Danny Hylton they had a throwback to the old days of bruising No.9s, and referee Darren Deadman’s failure to get to grips with Hylton’s over-robust play was a source of frustration to fans and players alike.
Both sides turned round goalless, but Luton soon went ahead. Niall Mason’s loose clearance reached Isaac Vassell who sent Jordan Cook away on the right and his fierce low drive gave Ian Lawlor no chance.
Worse was to follow when the influential Jordan Houghton was forced off with a nasty looking knee injury. With Rovers struggling to create, Darren Ferguson sent on May and the returning Gary McSheffrey.
The changes paid off on 80 minutes when McSheffrey won a challenge and fed Conor Grant. His pinpoint pass sent May through on goal and he beat Matt Macey with a crisp low shot. McSheffrey might have won it when he fired just over late on, but the point gained keeps Rovers eleven points clear of fourth place.
by John Coyle