Resilient Rovers denied win
VIDEO evidence rubber-stamped the view that Forest Green’s Charlie Griffin was denied a certain goal as his side more than matched title-chasing Fleetwood Town.
David Hockaday's side extended their unbeaten streak to five games by reeling in the Cod Army, but it was Rovers, who should have landed three points following Griffin's ruled out strike.
Hockaday was rightly gutted as the match DVD confirmed his suspicions.
He said: "We put freeze frame on the DVD and it's a goal, Charlie is definitely on side."
Rovers maintained their unbeaten away record with a gutsy performance and at times they positively battered the Cod Army with some swashbuckling play, which pleased the former Watford coach.
He added: "I'm very proud. We came here and didn't believe and gave them too much respect for the first 30 minutes, but the last 15 minutes of the second half we were the better team.
"We had the better chances so I'm really proud of the boys and I can't fault anyone today. We restricted them to just pumping balls into the box, and they're meant to be the best team in the league."
Victory would have seen Fleetwood go top, but Micky Mellon's normally free-scoring strike force lacked the inspiration required to break down a resolute Forest Green side who handed a debut to former Watford center-back Eddie Oshodi, who replaced the unwell Jamie Turley. Hockaday was also missing hip injury victim Matty Taylor, but he opted to recall Al Bangura and Curtis McDonald.
The first chance fell to Town's Richard Brodie in the sixth minute. Following good build-up from defence, Brodie received the ball from former Cheltenham Town midfielder Scott Brown, but James Bittner blocked superbly.
It was not one-way traffic with Forest Green showing glimpses of the form that has seen them score eleven times on the road this season. James Norwood's pace was causing mayhem.
Griffin came close to breaking the stalemate from a Norwood assist following Keiron Forbes' corner.
The impressive Oshodi was catching the eye and his delightful pass to Norwood saw a fine move ended as Yan Klukowski fizzed wide from 20 yards.
Town responded with former Forest Green striker Andy Mangan scuffing a shot wide.
Klukowski's heavy touch halted another free-flowing move started by Bangura.
Rovers' clearest chance came in first-half stoppage time courtesy of a sweeping counter-attack, Norwood feeding captain Jared Hodgkiss for a clear strike inside the box, but he sliced his shot badly.
Jake Thompson replaced McDonald immediately after the break. Four minutes into the second half, Town went close to taking the lead when Milligan's free -kick from the right was deflected narrowly wide by Luke Graham's head.
Rovers regained their foothold in the 52nd minute when Norwood, Chris Stokes and Klukowski linked well, but the home defence cleared the danger.
The game reached boiling point when the assistant's flag came to Town's rescue on the hour. McNulty gave the ball away and Norwood’s cross saw Griffin turn the ball into the net, only to be given offside to leave Rovers spitting feathers.
Bangura's reaction to a foul on Mangan in the 70th minute did not impress referee Duncan and he saw yellow. Town pressed for the decisive winning goal with Mangan getting a shot on target with ten minutes to go, following a Brodie flicked header, but the Rovers defence stood firm.