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Forest Green Rovers
3
Forest Green Rovers
vs
-
Tranmere Rovers
1
Tranmere Rovers FC
Date: 14/05/2017 3:00 pm    Attendance: 18801    Venue: Wembley Stadium

FGR promoted to the Football League


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Forest Green Rovers will compete in the Football League for the first time in the club's history next season after promotion final victory over Tranmere Rovers at Wembley, writes Richard Joyce.

The club's record breaking 19 year consecutive stay in the National League is over, and FGR will now look forward to hosting the likes of Coventry City, Swindon Town and Port Vale in the fourth tier of English football next season.

A double from Kaiyne Woolery and another strike from leading goal scorer Christian Doidge made history for Rovers, and despite a fine first half goal from Connor Jennings, FGR produced a confident performance to seal their promotion dreams.

Beaten finalists a year ago on the Wembley turf against Grimsby Town, Forest Green started their fourth ever visit to the home of football positively, and Keanu Marsh-Brown had a sniff of a chance early on.

Captain Liam Noble then lifted a free kick over the bar just a couple of minutes before Woolery claimed his crucial first of the afternoon.

Drissa Traore's short forward ball saw Woolery run into the gap in front of him and hammer a tremendous left footed finish out of the reach of Scott Davies.

It was the start FGR deserved, and after Doidge had headed a Mark Ellis long throw over, Tranmere came into the tie a bit more and were rewarded as they snatched a stunning equaliser midway through the half.

Jennings, brother of former Forest Green left back James who had graced Wembley himself for the club a year before, unleashed a fantastic shot from 25 yards which flew into the back of the net.

And they almost took the lead just past the half hour mark only for Sam Russell to pull off a fine stop to deny FGR's all time leading National League goal scorer, James Norwood, who had charged through for Tranmere.

Noble's fabulous ball put Marsh-Brown in the clear shortly afterwards. His excellent touch was followed by a finely executed lob, but Davies produced a fabulous save to prevent the ball from going over the line.

Within a minute another former FGR face in the Tranmere line up almost scored. Andy Mangan couldn't quite finish Jennings' low cross off at the back post when at full stretch.

In the final five minutes of the first half came the two vital goals that would ultimately send Forest Green into the Football League.

Doidge capped his fine first season at The New Lawn by helping his side retake the lead. He controlled Noble's diagonal ball perfectly and cut inside onto his right foot where he smashed home with an unstoppable effort.

And Woolery wrapped up a dream end to the first half when he extended his team's lead, taking full advantage of a Liam Ridehalgh error, and executing a low finish past Davies.

The advantage at the break was firmly with Forest Green, but immediately after half time Russell had to be at his best to deny Cole Stockton's glancing header, while an error from Russell when in possession gifted the Tranmere forward a golden opportunity he couldn't take.

Liverpool loanee Jack Dunn saw his long range effort deflected wide as Tranmere searched desperately for a route back into the game.

Instead though Noble scooped a shot wide after a fine run from Dan Wishart and Northern Ireland international Jeff Hughes' shot for Tranmere was driven off target.

Time was slowly fading away as Forest Green looked to hang on and seal victory. Another Dunn effort went over the target and Ridehalgh's ambitious volley in stoppage time flew over.

The Football League promotion dream so many at FGR had savoured for so long would finally come true at the full time whistle, as after 128 years next season Forest Green will compete in League Two for the first time, after a patient promotion success that will live long in the memory.

Report: Richard Joyce

Photo: Shane Healey/Pro Sports Images

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Results & Fixtures

v Tranmere Rovers (H)

Tranmere Rovers FC
Win 
3
 - 
1

14/05/2017 3:00 pm

Playoffs

Match Report
Pos Club P GD PT
1 Lincoln City 46 43 99
2 Tranmere Rovers 46 40 95
3 Forest Green Rovers 46 32 86
4 Dag & Red 46 26 84
5 Aldershot Town 46 29 82
Last updated: Sat 29 Apr 2017 14:24 pm

Vital Statistics

Date 14/05/2017 3:00 pm
Competition Playoffs
Home/Away Home
Full Time Result 3 - 1
Half Time Score 1 - 3
Man of the Match Kaiyne Woolery
Scorers Christian Doidge
Kaiyne Woolery (2)
Referee Anthony Backhouse (Cumbria)

Team Sheet

Forest Green Rovers
Tranmere Rovers