Rowland Pennington was born in St Helens in 1870. A goalkeeper, he played for local side Whiston before joining Blackburn Rovers in 1890.
At the time Herbie Arthur was Blackburn's goalkeeper. However at 36, was coming to the end of his playing days. Tom Mitchell, the club secretary, initially signed Ted Doig from Arbroath to replace Herbie Arthur but he found it difficult to settle and after playing only one game he returned to Scotland. Eventually, John Horne took over as Blackburn's goalkeeper. The defence did not perform well that season letting in 45 goals in 22 games.
John Horne was then replaced by John Gow from Scottish club Renton. He failed to impress Mitchell and eventually lost his place to Rowland Pennington. In 1890-91 season Blackburn had another good run in the FA Cup and beat Middlesborough Ironopolis (3-0), Chester (7-0), Wolverhampton Wanderers (2-0), West Bromwich Albion (3-2) to reach their second successive final.
Notts County were their opponents. Blackburn selected the following players for the game: (G) Rowland Pennington, (2) Tom Brandon, (3) Johnny Forbes, (4) John Barton, (5) George Dewar, (6) James Forrest, (7) Joseph Lofthouse, (8) Nathan Walton, (9) Jack Southworth, (10) Conrad Hall and (11) Billy Townley.
Blackburn Rovers put Notts County under pressure from the beginning and in the 8th minute, centre-half Dewar scored from a Townley corner. Before the end of the first-half, Southworth and Townley added further goals. Jimmy Oswald of Notts County did score a late consolation goal but Blackburn finished comfortable 3-1 winners and won the FA Cup for the 5th time in 8 years.
In 1892 Rowland Pennington left Blackburn Rovers and joined Northwich Victoria.