A few months ago when the team was desparately short on confidence and the manager was being criticised from every corner, Rovers fans pinpointed Portsmouth away as the fixture that might have determined the club's future.
Due to a combination of good fortune and hard work in recent weeks, the Portsmouth result was largely academic. The performance however was disappointing.
At Burnley, it was clear the players understood the enormity of the fixture and nobody could question their endeavour. The result, not the performance was what mattered. At Pompey, we could analyse the performance with more objectivity and the same old ghosts came back to haunt Rovers. The problem all season is that we have been far from prolific in front of goal. Our strikers have been shot shy and too much reliance has been placed on the midfield. At Fratton Park, little changed.
The post may have saved the relegation doomed side on a couple of occasions but even when Pompey were reduced to 10 men, Rovers didn't have the will or inclination to seriously threaten to leave with all the points. One pundit summed up the game as being Premier League "in all but name."
Defensively, the team looks sound. Allardyce when he took charge 15 months ago stated that this was his prime aim. It has taken more time than he would have wished for and there have been some heavy defeats and heartache along the way. A 15 'over par' goal difference is proof, but we can now see there is structure in defensive and each player is aware of his own responsibilities.
Going forward there is still sometimes a lack of ambition and an inability to unlock a stubborn defence. Hopefully in the last 5 games there can be more invention and courage shown as the results are largely elementary for Rovers, however the same cannot be said for the likes of United and Arsenal when they come to Ewood.
In other news, it was revealed last week that the new incumbent of Dr Who, Matt Smith, is a keen Rovers fan thanks to his dad's Darwen roots. What we would give for a bit of TARDIS time travel back to May 1995....