Clinical Rovers secure impressive three points
FOREST Green's fine league form shows no signs of stopping as Dave Hockaday's outfit brushed aside this year's FA Cup starlets with a clinical performance in front of goal at The New Lawn, writes Richard Joyce.
Hockaday was understandably delighted with the way his developing side dealt with the solid set up Tamworth have so successfully employed this season. The Rovers boss commented after the game:
"They paid us a lot of respect tonight and made it very difficult for us. We've picked ourselves up and got the second and the third really killed it and after that I thought we killed and managed the game really well."
Rovers were almost ahead within moments of the game kicking off as Matty Taylor fed the on rushing Yan Klukowski who fired wide to give the visitors an early scare.
But the hosts did find the back of the net with their second effort on goal of the evening when Jake Thomson, who has excelled in a central midfield role in recent matches, fired in a free kick on the quarter of an hour mark.
The Trinidad & Tobago international, currently on loan at The New Lawn from troubled Kettering, fired in a low free kick from a wide angle which took a slight deflection off the Tamworth wall and settled in to the bottom corner leaving Tamworth keeper Jonathan Hedge helpless.
The visitors struck back soon after though as the Rovers defence failed to properly deal with the ball in their own box.
A saved shot landed centrally in the box and former Rushden & Diamonds man Nabil Shariff was on hand to fire in a leveller from ten yards.
And the visitors almost took a surprise lead just a few minutes later when the useful Kieron St. Aimee headed over from a cross whilst at the other end a deep ball in to the box from Rovers left back Chris Stokes was headed just wide by on-loan front man, Liam Henderson.
Forest Green regained the lead just before the break with Stokes managing to find the back of the net for the second time this season.
Taylor headed the ball across the Tamworth penalty area and a poor clearance fell to full back Stokes and the 20 year old, who scored his other goal this season in the August demolition of Bath City, fired in with his right foot to give Rovers an important advantage.
St. Aimee produced the first chance of the second period for the visitors as the tall striker produced a low edge of the box effort which James Bittner was equal to as he pulled off a low save.
The second half lacked much of the spark that had lit up the first forty five minutes but the 71st minute saw a crucial incident that would see Rovers go on to claim all three points.
The ever so hard working Taylor chased a long ball over the top and in the Tamworth box was tripped by the unfortunate Patrick Kanyuka with referee Michael Bull pointing straight to the spot.
Klukowski stepped up to fire in a powerful penalty to extend Rovers advantage and to push himself up to the top spot on Rovers top goal scorers chart this season.
Rovers wound down the remaining quarter of an hour perfectly whilst Everton boss David Moyes watched from the stands as the Premier League manager kept an eye on his upcoming FA Cup opponents who couldn't resist the confidence of a Forest Green Rovers team that march on ahead of their FA Trophy trip across the Severn Bridge this Saturday.