Spirited Rovers secure a fine late win
A brilliant late turnaround ensured Forest Green made it four games unbeaten as two late goals earned Rovers maximum points against visiting Cambridge United, writes Richard Joyce.
Rovers came from behind after Luke Berry had struck for the visitors but two late goals from second half replacements Michael Uwezu and Tommy Wright secured Forest Green a dramatic late win.
The strength in depth of Dave Hockaday’s squad was illustrated once again by the recalls earned by Liam Henderson, Eddie Oshodi and Matty Taylor to the starting eleven whilst all three Rovers men who featured for the England C team on Tuesday evening started for Rovers.
And it was Rovers who dominated the opening exchanges with a host of early chances, the first of which saw England C international Kieron Forbes produce a trademark run which led to the midfielder teeing up James Norwood whose shot spiralled just wide.
Yan Klukowski then had an edge of the box strike drop away for a corner from a Jake Thomson corner and it was Thomson who produced Forest Green’s stand out chance of the half.
The holding midfielder rocketed a shot from 30 yards towards the Cambridge goal which took a slight deflection before crashing against the crossbar and then in to the hands of grateful Cambridge shot stopper, Danny Naisbitt.
A rare foray forward from the visitors led to Tom Shaw blasting over after Forest Green had given the ball away just inside their own half in the 38th minute and the first half’s action came to an end when Norwood’s header from an excellent deep Jamie Turley cross was easily collected by Naisbitt.
Early second half pressure from Rovers led to a flurry of corners but the hosts failed to take advantage whilst Norwood's shot just before the hour mark flashed wide.
Rovers no doubt feared that they would be left to rue their failure to take advantage of their earlier dominance when referee Karl Evans had no hesitation in pointing to the spot on the 67th minute to reward the visitors a penalty kick after Eddie Oshodi clashed with a Cambridge attacker.
Sam Russell’s penalty saving exploits have earned the 29 year old a heroic reputation among Forest Green fans since he arrived at The New Lawn in January and similarly to last week, Russell was at it again as he stopped Rossi Jarvis from opening the scoring for the visitors.
Russell could do little about the lead the visitors would take just a few minutes later however.
Luke Berry neatly tucked a low cross in to the box past the outstretched Russell in to the back of the Rovers net to hand visiting Cambridge the lead which was almost doubled as the game entered the final ten minutes when Berry again almost diverted a loose ball in the Rovers box in to the Rovers goal.
It would be a truly forceful flowing move that would earn Rovers their equaliser however just a couple of minutes later.
The hard working Matty Taylor fed Tommy Wright whose perfect set up for fellow substitute Michael Uwezu was tucked away brilliantly by the Nigerian.
Within minutes of the restart Taylor clipped the crossbar with a tremendous long distance strike as Forest Green managed to turn the game on its head just moments later.
Chris Stokes low shot was parried away by Naisbitt and after Thomson shipped the ball back inside there was another of Dave Hockaday’s substitutions waiting to put Rovers ahead from close range as Wright fired in the winner to get the New Lawn crowd up on their feet.
Wright’s goal would prove to be the ideal conclusion to a fantastically spirited turnaround by Rovers whose ambitions of forming a late surge for the play offs are well and truly underway.