Woolery strikes late to bag Tranmere win
Kaiyne Woolery came off the bench to earn Forest Green Rovers a superb away win against title chasing Tranmere Rovers at Prenton Park, writes Richard Joyce.
The Wigan Athletic loan man stunned a crowd of nearly 7,000 roaring on the former Football League side with a late finish as Mark Cooper’s men held off immense pressure to secure all three points.
FGR were at their defensive best to keep out a Tranmere side looking to move ahead of Lincoln at the top of the table, and Sam Russell made some fine stops alongside a brave away showing which contributed to the win.
The noisy Tranmere crowd roared the home side forward early on. Ex-Forest Green man James Norwood tested former housemate Russell with a good shot the stopper was equal to after five minutes, while a breakdown in communication at the back almost saw the hosts find the net shortly after.
Resolute defending was required and Curtis Tilt was up to the task when on 17 minutes he bravely blocked Norwood’s goal bound effort. Russell followed up Tranmere’s next chance with a fine save with his feet after Norwood had set Connor Jennings, brother of former FGR defender James, with an attempt in the box.
The host’s closest chance yet came on the half hour mark. Adam Buxton’s free kick was brilliantly struck and smashed against the woodwork with Russell left stranded.
Russell was at his best though five minutes later to deny Jennings’ low header after the former Macclesfield attacker had stooped to meet Liam Ridehalgh’s cross.
By half time it had been all Tranmere. But the first chance of the second half fell the way of Forest Green, as Scott Davies was forced into making a fine save from Marcus Kelly’s fine left footed curler from outside the box.
Russell had been a busy man in the first half, and the FGR keeper was kept on his toes again ten minutes into the second 45 minutes when he kept out Jennings effort after good build up play.
And he was again called upon to deny another dangerous Buxton free kick after referee Craig Hicks had awarded them a good opening from a central position.
Tranmere’s frustration continued to grow. Norwood spurned a couple of good opportunities, while as the half progressed FGR showed they could provide a late sting to the night’s tale.
Charlie Cooper’s pass into the feet of substitute Woolery allowed the forward to burst forward, he slotted Omar Bugiel in at the last second but Tranmere were saved by a heroic last gasp stop from Davies.
The question was whether Forest Green would get another chance? The answer was yes, and just minutes later they took the lead as Woolery kept his cool, and his feet, to jolt his way through the Tranmere box and finish low into the back of the net.
It was the goal FGR’s patience in the second half deserved, although Tranmere nearly levelled in the final minute of normal time, only to see Michael Ihiekwe head over from a good corner delivery.
Forest Green’s magnificent defensive showing was complete as they held on for three points to record a memorable away win.
Report: Richard Joyce
Photo: Shane Healey/Pro Sports Images