Forest Green hold on for first win
FOREST Green held on to achieve their first win of the new Blue Square Bet Premier season at Telford, writes Richard Joyce.
First half goals from debutant Aaran Racine and Reece Styche helped Rovers' earn maximum points despite a tense finish that saw the hosts almost find an equaliser.
Boss David Hockaday handed Racine his first senior start in the middle of defence with James Rowe handed a starting berth in midfield.
Al Bangura was shifted to the bench meanwhile as Forest Green looked to emulate last season's impressive away form.
Kieron Forbes low second minute shot was a sign of Forest Green’s early intent as they began the game with the pressured shackles of Saturday’s opening game left off.
The ideal start was cemented five minutes in when Hockaday’s men went ahead through debutant Racine.
A fantastic Ben Wright free kick from deep found the head of the physical presence of Jamie Collins, and his excellent header was steered in by the head of Racine at the back post to hand Rovers, a confidence boosting early lead.
Reece Styche’s run and shot demonstrated the value the ex-Chasetown man adds to this Rovers side after earning a starting place following his place on the bench on Saturday.
And the star man put Rovers even further ahead five minutes before the break with a low finish.
Jamie Turley picked up a loose ball and the right back’s superb threaded ball to Styche was tucked in under Young to put Forest Green in the driving seat.
Another late header from Racine, again from a Wright set piece, flew just over as Forest Green went in to the break comfortably in front.
Rovers’ effective performance continued at the beginning of the second half, and it was Forbes again who had an early effort when his blazing strike on goal was driven just wide.
The hosts were struggling to get forward and finding it difficult to materialise chances with Phil Trainer’s header from a 56th minute corner a rare opportunity for the Shropshire side.
The goal the Bucks desired to get back in to the game was secured shortly after however as Nathan Rooney drove in a free ball past Sam Russell who previously had enjoyed a quiet evening.
The goal sparked a rare furore of action from the home side and a couple of Rovers substitutions, with Matt Taylor and debutant Phil Marsh being introduced, aided Forest Green in calming the storm.
Wright’s intelligent chip forward, which Taylor latched on to with a soft shot, was gathered by Young as Forest Green tried their best to play the stylish football that Telford were restricting them from.
It was almost a stylish finish that secured the hosts a leveller though but a superb stop by Russell denied Will Salmon from netting over his shoulder.
The Bucks introduced the strength of James Spray in a late attempt to try and find an equaliser as Forest Green battled hard to deny a Telford side that had dominated the majority of the second half.
It was target complete however as after four minutes of stoppage time Rovers held on for their first victory of the season in a tense affair at New Bucks Head.