Joe Rothwell produced the only moment of quality as he made Rovers 10 games of the tournament unbeaten by defeating Cardiff City.
Third Rothwell of the season early in the first half helped Rovers beat the Bluebirds who had very few chances as Tony Mowbray’s men held off a seventh clean sheet in eight games.
They should have seen the last 12 minutes with 10 men after Ryan Nyambe was sent off for a second yellow card.
Next, Rovers had to spot the hosts’ free-kick threat, with Thomas Kaminsky turning the ball off Curtis Nelson, but Rovers didn’t get upset thanks to some solid defence.
The win puts them on points with Bournemouth who were defeated in their other early first game against Bournemouth and means Rovers have now won eight points and drawn two of their last 10 matches.
There was only one change from the team that drew 0-0 with Huddersfield in their last league game where Harry Pickering was replaced by Tayo Edon.
Cardiff brought on loan signing Cody Dramay while Ryan Wintel, who was called up from his loan spell at Blackpool, started in midfield.
Rovers settled well but the first attempt in the match went the way of the hosts. Unsurprisingly it was of a steady piece, as Joe Ralls was met on the left wing by Curtis Nelson who couldn’t point his header toward goal as it flashed wide.
Loose play from Rovers in the left-back area then gave Mark Harris the opportunity to pick James Collins with a cross, but it was too much meaning the unmarked striker was unable to convert it into the far corner.
Rovers put a fine move in front in the 14th minute. Lewis Travis threw the ball to Reda Khadra whose lay-off Joe Rothwell was broken forward with a superb gift that beat Alex Smithies. He started off the post and had enough bend to find the back of the net and give Rovers motivation.
Despite this, it was bullshit for Rovers, as he couldn’t find much fluency in their play and were guilty of giving the ball too easily at times.
Cardiff ramped up the pressure with a series of set-pieces, and Travis blocked Will Foulkes’ shot after Thomas Kaminsky sent in a corner kick in the 26th minute.
Perry Ng was lopsided when he tested Kaminski with a shot from the edge of the penalty area seven minutes before halftime, but Rovers were doing well to limit the hosts’ threat.
However, it turned out to be a real battle, as a moment of quality in the first half proved to be the difference.
There was a chance before the first half, Khadra and Edon shared the launch to John Buckley who chose not to push the ball forward to shoot the ball the first time, and Smithies were well positioned to save.
The theme of giving up the ball, and free kicks, continued cheaply into the second half, but to their advantage the Rovers stood in the way of that in particular.
Britton had two attempts at goal, one hooked from Buckley’s cross and then an ambitious shot from the right edge of the penalty area that failed Smithies’ test before Rovers made his first change.
Gallagher replaced Green who suffered a frustrating afternoon in attack, and Cardiff also made a double change.
The Rovers striker helped add some height to try to fend off Cardiff’s aerial attack, but they came close in the 68th minute. Nelson got his head on in a play set, and Kaminsky ran far to his right to clear the ball as Collins tried to divert it.
Gallagher was also in play as the other, turning away from a defender before Perry Ng dropped him to the ground, but the referee overruled his appeals for a penalty.
Yellow cards were handed at will by referee Matthew Donohue who showed a second card to Ryan Nyambe for a foul on Eng. It surprised many, with Nyambe receiving his first push on Inge after a foul on Lenihan awarded the Cardiff player a yellow card.
Daniel Ayala was sent on leaving Rovers with just over 10 minutes to try to watch the match with ten men, and Bradley Johnson quickly followed him onto the field.
There were long throws and corners to defend, but Rovers tossed bodies on his way to securing a seventh clean sheet in eight games that left him 10 unbeaten in the league.
Cardiff: Smithies, McGuinness, Flint, Foulkes (Back 66), Ralls, Wintel, Nelson, Drama (Colwell, 78), Collins, Harris (Davies, 66), NG
Submarines: Philips, Pagan, Morrison, Sang
Rovers: Kaminsky, Linehan, Van Heck, Wharton, Nyambe, Travis (Johnson, 84), Rothwell, Edon, Buckley, Khadra (Gallagher, 65), Brereton (Ayala, 78)
Subs: Bears, Davenport, Rankin Costello, Butterworth