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Match Reports

Report: Forest Green Rovers 0-2 Iron

7 December 2019

The Iron continued their winning run in all competitions on Saturday afternoon, extending it to five games for the first time in two years, courtesy of thumping strikes from Alex Gilliead and Abo Eisa. Jake Eastwood also saved a penalty just after half-time.

The Iron kicked off the first half - and in under a minute – home ‘keeper Lewis Thomas was called into action, as the wind got behind a deep Kevin van Veen cross, with Thomas holding well on the goal-line.

Aside from the early moments, there was little of note to report inside the opening ten minutes. The match got off to a feisty start, with the Iron picking up two bookings, despite some equally strong challenges from the home side.

However in the 12th minute, the Iron countered Rovers at pace through van Veen and Eisa. The latter’s darting run down the left led to a ball towards Sutton, but the midfielder couldn’t divert goalwards, firing wide.

The best chance of the opening 20 minutes fell to Forest Green though, following a corner. The ball was flicked on by an Iron head, but centre-back Rawson picked it up at the back post, his low, goal-bound shot was cleared off the line by the well-placed McArdle.

Back up the other end, van Veen had a half-chance to open the scoring, after he was found by Gilliead on the edge of the box in the 25th minute. However, the big striker opened up his body, and fired a left-footed strike high and wide of the left post.

With 28 minutes on the clock, the home side came close to breaking the deadlock once again, this time through Stevens. The number nine did extremely well to beat two Iron defenders and poke a shot off the crossbar, following neat playmaking by Aitchison.

Four minutes later, the Iron almost caught the home defence sleeping. Eisa picked the ball up wide left near the touchline, checked back onto his right foot and curled a delightful cross towards the arriving Novak, but unfortunately the forward was inches away from making contact, and Rovers cleared.

Right on the verge of half time, the Iron had arguably their best chance of the game so far, with Eisa doing well to reach the by-line down the left in added time. The winger cut the ball back towards van Veen in the six-yard box, but Thomas and Mills combined well to clear.

The home side looked to get off to a flyer in the second half, winning a penalty in the 47thminute, after McGahey was adjudged to have fouled inside the box. Matty Stevens stepped up, but the penalty was saved well by Eastwood, down the middle of his goal.

Five minutes later, the Iron enjoyed a sustained period of possession, working the ball from left to right, and after the move looked to come to a head, Gilliead laid off to Clarke on the right, but the full-back’s effort misses the top right corner. Moments later, Novak’s last ditch effort bobbles wide, following a low cross from the right.

In the 57th minute, the Iron opened the deadlock through Alex Gilliead, who rifled an effort from all of 25 yards from an angle, beyond Thomas between the sticks. Van Veen laid off the initial pass, but the former still had plenty to do from there.

Two minutes later, the Iron had the wind in their sails, with Ntlhe’s long range effort forced Thomas into a brilliant save. Soon after, van Veen’s corner found McArdle at the back post, but the ball somehow stayed in play, and was eventually cleared by the home side.

The home side slowly began to turn the screw, despite some resolute defending from the Iron. Although, Paul Hurst’s men weren’t afraid to attack the second placed side. With 69 minutes on the clock the Iron came forward through van Veen, charging at the defence following Clarke’s ball through, but the ball ran away from the Dutchman, and Rawson tackled.

The Iron’s bravery soon paid off in the 71st minute, and it was another screamer. This time, Eisa picked the ball up from distance, lined up a shot, and thumped the ball past Thomas into the top left corner, much to the delight of the travelling away contingent.

With 77 minutes on the clock, the home side pushed for a goal back. Shephard stood over a free-kick on the edge of the box, and was denied by the out-stretched fingertips of Eastwood, in acrobatic style.

In the 83rd minute, Eisa was very unfortunate not to win his side a penalty, having been hauled to the floor by a combined effort of two Forest Green Rovers players, despite the hindrance, referee John Busby waved play on.

The Iron continued to push forward for a third, and just four minutes later, Novak broke one on one with a centre back, before firing a low strike at the near post, but his effort was saved well by Thomas, who had a difficult afternoon between the sticks.

Into five added minutes, Collins’ two corners found the heads of Rawson and Kitching, but neither could put the ball beyond Eastwood in the Iron goal.

With moments left, Sutton picked up a harsh second booking, as the midfielder looked to win the ball on the chase.

FOREST GREEN: Thomas, Shephard, Bernard (McGinley 45’), Mills, Rawson, Winchester, Stevens, Adams, Dawson (Mondal 68’), Kitching, Aitchison (Collins 73’). 

FOREST GREEN UNUSED SUBS: Wollacott, Grubb, Morton, Taylor.

IRON: Eastwood, Clarke, Ntlhe, van Veen (Proctor 89’), Perch, Novak, Gilliead, Sutton, McArdle, McGahey, Eisa.

IRON UNUSED SUBS: Watson, Butler, Dales, Ward, Brown, McAtee.

ATTENDANCE: 2,060 (259 away).


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