Rovers come from behind to earn Good Friday win
FOREST Green continued their impressive end of season form by brushing aside Ebbsfleet United on Good Friday at The New Lawn, writes Richard Joyce.
Dave Hockaday’s side again demonstrated their ability to come from behind to win as three second half goals ensured Forest Green made it three consecutive home wins in a row.
There was just one change from the Rovers line up that earned a win over Barrow six days earlier with Liam Henderson replacing Jake Thomson.
A very open first half witnessed Rovers burst in to the game with a flood of chances and it was Liam Henderson who was the first to try his luck but his edge of the box strike went wide after Kieron Forbes had teed up the on loan York City man.
Eddie Oshodi then almost shoved the ball in at the back post from a Yan Klukowski free kick whilst Henderson then smashed over after Matty Taylor had done well to collect a loose ball.
The visitors had produced very little in the opening exchanges but that would quickly change with Joe Howe’s thunderous edge of the box strike hammering against the crossbar in the 17th minute.
Minutes later and Ebbsfleet went one better as they took the lead from a Michael West corner.
The 20 year old’s corner from the right was met by the head of Ebbsfleet skipper Paul Lorraine who headed in to put the visitors ahead.
Henderson fired wide again shortly after whilst Ebbsfleet had the switched on Sam Russell deny them a quick double as the Rovers keeper made a good block from the experienced Calum Willock just before the half hour mark.
Last week’s hat-trick hero Klukowski produced some fantastic balls from set pieces throughout the half and his corner kick was headed narrowly over by the surging Chris Stokes ahead of another clever set piece from Klukowski which led to Rovers closest chance of the half.
Uwezu was fed the ball whilst left unmarked on the edge of the box and the Nigerian’s strike deflected on to the Ebbsfleet crossbar whilst Jamie Turley’s attempt to hook in the rebound was denied by Lance Cronin’s brilliant last ditch stop.
Guyana international Ricky Shakes almost secured a late second before the break for the visitors but his narrow effort rolled wide whilst Taylor skied over for Rovers moments before the half time whistle as Ebbsfleet went in to the break on top.
That Ebbsfleet lead was quickly abolished just two minutes in to the second half as Forest Green drew level following a good move.
Stokes ball to an edge of the box Henderson saw him line up Forbes and the hard working number eleven fired in to the top right corner to fire in Rovers equaliser.
And it was an equaliser Forest Green would build upon as they notched a second to take the lead as Taylor secured his tenth goal of the season.
Forbes ball in to the box was glanced on by Klukowski and the attacking midfielder’s touch was enough to wrong foot the Ebbsfleet defence and to allow Taylor to put Forest Green ahead.
Ebbsfleet would respond quickly only to be foiled by Russell’s save from first West and then Willock’s stretched follow up.
Reece Styche was thrown in for the final quarter of an hour and after his goal for the reserve team on Tuesday, last year’s top scorer had an immediate impact, winning a free kick in shooting range that saw Klukowski’s effort deflected out for a corner.
The industrious Willock continued to provide a threat to the Forest Green defence right to the death and he almost netted an equaliser with five minutes to go when substitute Tom Phipp’s through ball presented him with a free shot on goal.
The fourth official’s instructions of the additional time to be added on in the second half proved the perfect cue for Rovers to put the game to bed and it all came from an Ebbsfleet corner.
West’s corner from the left was headed clear by Styche to Thomson whose surging run forward in to space saw the substitute feed Stokes who perfectly drew the ball back for Styche, who had cleared the corner moments earlier, to finish past Cronin and to ensure Forest Green made it three home wins in a row.