Replay defeat rules out dream Trophy run
FOR the third time this season Forest Green exited a cup competition at the first stage following a disappointing replay defeat against Blue Square Bet Premier rivals Newport County at a wet and windy New Lawn, writes Richard Joyce.
Even the return of star man Eddie Oshodi, who was unusually off form, from illness failed to ignite a positive result and progression in to the second round of a competition Rovers have twice finished as runners up in.
A low crowd of 368 spectators watched James Rowe fire in the first attempt on goal of the evening although the 20 year old midfielder saw his low effort roll wide.
The returning former Rovers loanee Robbie Matthews then put an attempt wide whilst young full back Andrew Hughes unleashed a wild long distance effort that failed to concern James Bittner.
Craig McCallister then had a tame effort for the visitors stopped by Bittner after Jamie Turley was caught in possession whilst on the half an hour mark Hughes tried his luck again from distance and the replacement for former Rovers man Wayne Hatswell smashed his shot just over the bar.
The Exiles were ahead shortly after however as a Michael Uwezu foul near the halfway line saw midfield man Tom Miller pump the ball long for the visitors and the former Norwich City midfielder picked out McCallister whose looping header finished up in the back of the net.
Rovers were then unfortunate to be denied a great opportunity to level things up from the spot a short while later as Elliot Buchanan clumsily tussled with Chris Stokes but referee Robert Merchant waved away the Rovers protests and County ensured they went in to the half time break a goal up on their hosts.
The second half began with some of the games most extreme weather as both sets of players dealt with the elements and a strong wind in the home sides favour with Turley whipping a ball in which Matt Taylor connected with but Newport keeper Danny Potter ensured nothing came of it.
Jake Thomson was then called on to perform defensive duties as the Trinidad & Tobago international cleared Matthews headed effort off the line after the tall striker had connected with a Danny Rose cross.
Forest Green were made to pay for rare mistakes at the back however in the 67th minute as Newport secured an important second goal.
Turley slipped whilst under control of the ball outside his own box and Matthews pounced to release a square ball across to Darryl Knights who smashed in a second to seeminly secure Newport an away trip to Worksop Town in the next round.
Rovers best response was for Taylor to head a Thomson cross against the bar but the home sides failure to find the back of the net put paid to any ambitions for a Trophy run and a return to the final, ten years after Nigel Spink and David Norton had led Rovers to Villa Park.