Bugiel strikes late again to earn Woking win
Two late goals from German forward Omar Bugiel helped Forest Green Rovers edge to victory in a seven-goal encounter with Woking at The New Lawn, writes Richard Joyce.
The striker came off the bench for only his second home appearance, and repeated his debut heroics, with a huge contribution to help FGR claim all three points.
Keanu Marsh-Brown had given Rovers the lead, but after a scorcher of a strike from Joey Jones, FGR had to fight back from falling behind to Gozie Ugwu’s early second half header, before Christian Doidge and Bugiel’s double confirmed a much needed victory in response to last weekend’s defeat at Gateshead.
The tone of the occasion was set from the first minute. Within the opening 60 seconds Michael Poke was called into action to deny Doidge’s low drive, and Woking’s bright start saw Fabio Saraiva’s powerful free kick fly just wide in the opening quarter of an hour.
Keanu Marsh-Brown did well to round Poke on an FGR break forward, but couldn’t draw the ball back, while the end-to-end opening continued when Sam Russell had to save Woking’s Colchester United loanee Macauley Bonne’s low effort.
Doidge had the ball in the back of the net for the first of two disallowed goals midway through the half. The ball had cannoned off his arm into the net after Poke had struggled to deal with a cross from the left and was ruled out.
Doidge’s strike partner Marsh-Brown edged closer to breaking the deadlock when his smash on the half hour mark flew wide, and he eventually did notch his tenth goal of the campaign when he powered in from close range.
A terrific set piece delivery from Liam Noble fell into the path of the Rovers number nine via the knees of Poke, and he put FGR ahead with ease.
Woking would hit back in stunning circumstances just before half time. Jones drove forward and unleashed a sensational strike from 40 yards that slammed in on the underside of the bar to draw the visitors level with a contender for goal of the season.
A tasty opening 45 minutes was repeated in the second half. After Ugwu had seen his early shot stopped by Russell, Poke made a fantastic double save minutes later as he pushed away Noble’s strike and then got up quickly to keep out Mark Ellis’ follow up.
The visitors turned it around to take the lead when Ugwu added to his tally for the campaign when he demonstrated his aerial prowess with a good header past the helpless Russell.
Immediately FGR set about trying to find a way of getting back on level terms, but Poke stood tall when Marsh-Brown burst through, although Mark Cooper’s men were level on 56 minutes.
Darren Carter’s deep corner kick towards the back post was met by Doidge who nodded in.
A formation change saw Woking’s positive style switch to a more defensive minded approach. It allowed FGR the chance to flood forward and Charlie Cooper almost blasted in from the right hand side as Forest Green aimed to regain the lead.
The Birmingham City loanee was then brought down on 66 minutes to hand his side a major opportunity from the penalty spot. It was a chance that couldn’t be taken though as Poke guessed right to save Carter’s effort from 12 yards.
Despite the missed opportunity from the spot Forest Green’s attacking optimism was growing, and Ellis saw a header from a difficult angle cleared off the line, and Doidge saw his header on 74 minutes disallowed once again by the officials.
With the clock ticking for a second consecutive home game new addition Bugiel was introduced from off the bench, and the German scored the goal the home supporters craved near the death with a marvellous finish from a fantastic move.
Noble’s sprayed pass was inch perfect for Wedgbury, whose brilliant cross was equally turned home emphatically by Bugiel to send The New Lawn supporters to their feet.
And it was a Bugiel double when his solo effort in stoppage time cemented his impact as a substitute. He picked the ball up in his own half and went on a driving run that ended with a tidy bottom corner finish past the outstretched arms of Poke.
The late flurry of goals didn’t finish there. Woking hit back for the afternoon’s seventh.
Charlton Athletic loanee Terell Thomas headed in late on, but it was all too late for the Surrey side, who saw Forest Green do the double over them in an afternoon of National League drama.
Report: Richard Joyce
Photo: Shane Healey/Pro Sports Images
Highlights: Hannah Worboys, Elliot Owens & Richard Joyce