2017 starts off with a bang at The New Lawn
A sensational afternoon of football saw Forest Green Rovers begin 2017 with an incredible ten goal thriller at The New Lawn, writes Richard Joyce.
Throughout the game Rovers led, fought back from being behind, and almost came within a whisker of claiming maximum points, as Boxing Day opponents Torquay United once again contributed to a brilliant entertaining clash.
The two teams last meeting six days ago saw the Gulls claim the points in a dramatic 4-3 win, however Mark Cooper's men ensured they secured a share of the spoils with two late goals in front of a good New Year's Day crowd.
Keanu Marsh-Brown and Christian Doidge both scored twice, and it was the former who opened the scoring on four minutes, when he finished accurately following Darren Carter's terrific dummy from a Liam Noble pass.
It didn't take long for the visitors to equalise, and on 15 minutes they did so when Dan Sparkes slid home at the back post from the first of David Fitzpatrick's four assists.
And Fitzpatrick again turned provided for Sparkes a short while later, as a near identical goal saw the Gulls go in front.
This time it was FGR's turn to fight their way back into the contest and they did so successfully just before the half hour mark.
Marsh-Brown grabbed his second of the afternoon as he pounced upon Dale Bennett's excellent cut back.
A Forest Green counter attack as half time approached almost saw Doidge turn in Kieffer Moore's low ball into the box, while before the half time whistle there was still time for Torquay to retake the lead.
Fitzpatrick's free kick from the right hand side was curled in towards the near post where Aman Verma was on hand to head home.
It got worse for Rovers immediately after the break. Another driving run forward from Fitzpatrick saw his pacey cross turned home by the unfortunate Ethan Pinnock.
Defender Ben Gerring very nearly extended Torquay's advantage, but it would be Rovers who'd score next, as Doidge netted his first by finishing off Elliott Frear's soft header.
The Gulls two-goal lead was restored when Fitzpatrick crowned a wonderful afternoon for the AFC Wimbledon loanee by finding the net with a free kick to make it five for the visitors.
But Forest Green were not to be beaten, and they launched an epic comeback that saw Doidge claim another goal on 83 minutes.
The Welshman forced the ball over the line after Frear's fine work on the left had seen him force Brendan Moore to parry his shot into the path of the striker.
And there was to be one final crucial goal to come before the 90 minute mark when Moore, under pressure from Shamir Mullings, pushed the ball into his own net for the afternoon's second own goal and FGR's much sought after equaliser.
Report: Richard Joyce
Photo: Shane Healey/Pro Sports Images
Highlights: Matt Joyce, Karl Joyce & Richard Joyce