Patient Rovers earn Boreham Wood reward
Debutant Omar Bugiel came on as a late second half substitute and claimed an assist and a goal as Forest Green kept up their unbeaten league form in 2017, writes Richard Joyce.
The striker, signed from Worthing less than 24 hours before, set up Christian Doidge to break the deadlock in the final ten minutes and then added a goal himself minutes later.
Bugiel made the impact needed when coming off the bench but it was an afternoon that required patience against a Boreham Wood side that like so many that visit The New Lawn set up solidly and are hard to break down.
There were chances for both sides early on. Doidge’s header from a Liam Noble cross was saved by Grant Smith while Angelo Balanta tested Sam Russell with a low effort after he found a way through in the FGR box.
Loan pair Kaiyne Woolery and Charlie Cooper both tried their luck with shots, and after Noble’s long distance free kick had flown past the post, former QPR attacker Bruno Andrade hit the side netting for the visitors.
Five minutes before half time Cooper went close again. Patient build up play saw Dale Bennett draw the ball back for the former who curled a shot just off target.
After the break Smith had to desperately scatter along his line to ensure Matt Paine’s touch from a Noble cross didn’t end up in the back of his own net. Meanwhile at the opposite end Russell saved from Balanta again after Ricky Shakes’ initial effort had been blocked.
Former Bognor Regis stopper Smith was kept busy in the second half to keep his clean sheet intact. He produced an excellent save on the hour mark to deny Doidge’s header from Cooper’s fine cross, and then followed that up with another key save to prevent Noble from nodding past him.
And after he had kept out Keanu Marsh-Brown’s long range hit, Bugiel was introduced for the first time in the afternoon, and would go onto play a big part in the victory.
Before that however Russell had to make a strong stop to deny Andrade who had got in for the away side.
On 83 minutes the goal the home faithful yearned for finally came. Noble’s fizzing pass into Bugiel saw the number 11 slip the ball into the patch of Doidge, and the Welsh hit man netted his 16th goal of the campaign past the on rushing Smith.
The score line was doubled as Rovers confirmed their win five minutes later. Noble’s powerful strike was too hot to handle for Smith, and Bugiel had the instinct to follow up the goalkeepers spill, as he slotted home in front of the fans in the South Stand.
Boreham Wood had little to offer in response with only a few minutes left to make a difference in stoppage time, which ensured FGR snapped up all the points to make it six league matches unbeaten in the New Year.
Report: Richard Joyce
Photo: Shane Healey/Pro Sports Images
Highlights: Toby Lowndes & Richard Joyce