After a 550-mile round trip, Blackburn Rovers put in an impressive performance against Premier League side Bournemouth, despite losing 3-2 late on.
Blackburn Rovers fought back from 2-0 down through goals from striker Adam Armstrong and Craig Conway – making his 500th career appearance – but conceded a 94th minute goal from Callum Wilson, losing the game 3-2.
Rovers rotated their side, with debutant Jack Rodwell coming in alongside Ben Brereton – making his first start for his new side. On the other hand, despite making nine changes, Eddie Howe fielded a strong Bournemouth side featuring £25m midfielder Jefferson Lerma and Jermaine Defoe.
Despite the late heartbreak, Mowbray was happy that his side put on an impressive performance for the 500+ Blackburn Rovers fan that made the long journey down to the south coast.
He told the club website:
“We came to have a go and ask some questions of them and we felt we did that,” the boss said after the game.
“A penalty shootout is a bit of a lottery but it would have been nice for us to have got through to that.
“It was about the performance levels from the team tonight and I felt the levels were good after the first 15 minutes when we came to terms with the game.
“The lads played against a Premier League team there with some huge signings. There was a £25m midfielder that we were up against tonight. Wilson and [Josh] King came on and we gave a good account of ourselves. We can count ourselves unlucky to have not come out of the tie with a victory in my opinion.
“We’re trying to build a club at Rovers. We’re looking to continually build to get ourselves back in the Premier League at some point in the future.
“There were some good performances tonight but we’re disappointed with the way they scored the winner and their second goal was definitely not a penalty in my opinion.”
Defender Derrick Williams was sent off late on in the tie, but Tony feels that the referee made the correct decision in sending off the Irishman.
“We can’t complain. He was the last man, he slipped and the boy is about to go through to score,” Mowbray added.
“It was instinct after slipping on his backside. He has to make a decision and he’s hand-balled it. It’s a shame because when the corner came in a moment later he would have probably been the one to head the damn thing away! That’s football.”