David McGoldrick’s fourth goal of the season extended Town’s unbeaten run to eight games but Blues were denied all three points by a last minute equaliser for the second successive match.
The frontman curled in a terrific free-kick just past the hour after Blackburn had been reduced to 10 men following Matthew Kilgallon’s dismissal for a second booking.
McGoldrick hit the post and saw another effort saved by Jason Steele and Stephen Hunt had a header cleared off the line as Blues dictated much of the play in the second-half but in added on time Ben Marshall found the net with a 25 yard free-kick to give Rovers a point.
Town made three changes from the side that drew 2-2 with Forest last time, Daryl Murphy and Luke Hyam both forced out through injury and Luke Chambers an overnight illness victim. Kevin Bru, Tommy Smith and Hunt, who was making his first appearance of the season, came in.
Jordan Rhodes, back at Portman Road for the second time since leaving the Club in 2009, was handed the captaincy for Rovers and threatened as early as the fifth minute from Marshall’s cross.
Hunt overhit his pass to release Conor Sammon after an exchange of passes between the Republic of Ireland international, Bru and Jonny Williams, while at the other end
Dean Gerken spectacularly cleared from Rhodes as he chased a ball over the top.
A great touch from McGoldrick sent Hunt clear on the left, his cross cut out by Shane Duffy, the Town No.10 then opening up the Rovers’ defence again with a slick pass to Tyrone Mings, whose cross was hacked clear by Matt Kilgallon.
Jason Steele had to be alert to gather Jonathan Parr’s cross as Town’s full-backs continued to push forward.
Rudy Gestede headed over from Craig Conway’s cross as Blackburn responded, Rhodes’ header then cleared by a combination of Gerken and Parr.
Norway international Parr was in the thick of the action soon after, weaving his way into the Blackburn box, his cross was smothered for a corner.
Steele saved from McGoldrick’s free-kick as Town pressed for an opener, the ‘keeper holding firm again from Parr’s cross as Sammon challenged.
Gestede forced Gerken into a sharp save at his near post after finding some space in the box, Steele then called into action again to deny McGoldrick’s curler. The ‘keeper then holding on to Smith’s header as Blues continued to look the more likely to edge ahead before the break though it needed Christophe Berra’s intervention to prevent Gestede getting in seconds before the half-time whistle.
McGoldrick threatened with a cross as the second-half got underway with Town on top, Sammon then bursting clear before Kilgallon brought him down with a tackle from behind. Referee James Adcock showed the yellow card after a long consultation with his assistant, the Rovers’ defender fearing a red. McGoldrick sent his free-kick just wide.
Cole Skuse almost found Hunt, Steele quick to spot the danger, then Smith was in the right place to kill the danger supplied by Craig Conway’s cross inside the Town box.
Blackburn were reduced to 10 men just past the hour, Sammon brought down again by Kilgallon. The defender was dismissed for a second booking and McGoldrick made Rovers pay heavily with a perfect free-kick into the corner.
Town almost doubled the advantage, Hunt’s header from Williams’ cross beating Steele but cleared off the line.
Jay Tabb replaced Williams for the last 15 minutes, the Crystal Palace loanee given a great ovation by the home fans on his first game back at Portman Road since returning to the Club.
McGoldrick smashed the post after a terrific pass from Bru, Smith heading over from Hunt’s corner as Blues looked far more likely to score than Rovers and McGoldrick could have extended the lead two minutes from time when he burst clear but Steele kept his side in the game.
It proved to be a massive save for Rovers with free-kick specialist Marshall having the last word in added on time.