Rovers bounce back with fine Sutton win
Two first half goals helped Forest Green get back to winning ways at Sutton United’s Gander Green Lane, writes Richard Joyce.
Mark Cooper’s charges bounced back from defeat at Dagenham & Redbridge a few days before with an easy win on the 3G surface against one of the National League’s stand out FA Cup giant killers this season.
Centre back Mark Ellis notched his second goal for the club to set FGR on their way, and Christian Doidge ensured the points would be returning to Gloucestershire with a second following a disastrous moment for Sutton goalkeeper Will Puddy.
One blot on the night though saw Ellis given his marching orders late on for a late tackle – becoming the first FGR player to be sent off in the division this season.
Earlier, German forward Omar Bugiel saw his sixth minute chance saved after excellent work by Drissa Traore and Dan Wishart had played him in.
Although opportunities were limited for both sides until a crazy attacking sequence just after the half hour mark that should have seen FGR break the deadlock.
Dale Bennett’s cross for Doidge saw Rovers leading marksman crash a header against the bar, his follow up was then blocked by Puddy, while Dan Wishart’s attempt to stick the ball in the net was also blocked, before a final shot was cleared before it crossed the line.
But from the subsequent corner Forest Green did take the lead. Liam Noble’s delivery to the back post was met by Ellis, and the Carlisle United loanee saw his header creep in.
And it was 2-0 minutes later. A long ball over the top was dealt with awfully by Sutton’s on loan Bristol Rovers stopper Puddy, and Doidge reached 20 goals for the season with the easiest goal he’ll score all year, rolling into an empty net.
Noble’s audacious 45-yard volley immediately after half time almost caught Puddy off his line as Rovers looked to extend their lead, while the hosts almost drew a goal back themselves when former Arsenal man Craig Eastmond saw his powerful hit go the wrong side of the post.
The home side were struggling to find a way back from their negative position, although Maxime Biamou’s overhead kick on 66 minutes did see them develop a rare chance in a fairly quiet second period.
Former FGR man Jamie Collins’ powerful shot from distance would fly over ten minutes later, and the quiet Roarie Deacon saw his hit zip off target.
But there would still be a late glimmer of hope for the home side. Ellis saw his night end early when his tackle on Biamou saw him win the ball, but not in the eyes of referee Carl Brook, and he headed for an early shower. However the resultant free kick from Adam Coombes couldn’t see him take advantage as he powered wide.
Sutton did however draw a goal back six minutes into the five minutes allotted stoppage time. Substitute Kieron Cadogan finished inside the area to add some unneeded late nerves, but it didn’t matter, as the three points belonged to the strong characters of FGR, who held on for the win.
Report: Richard Joyce
Photo: Adam Rivers/Pro Sports Images