Wanderers visit ends in a stalemate
FOREST Green's first home pre-season friendly of the summer ended goalless against League 2 visitors Wycombe Wanderers, writes Richard Joyce.
Dave Hockaday's men returned to their Nailsworth turf for the first time since Forest Green's final home win of last season against Darlington and put on an impressive showing against a side looking to bounce back in to League 1 at the first attempt following their relegation last season.
An uneventful opening period had to wait until the 19th minute for its first chance when former Republic of Ireland defender Gary Doherty headed straight in to the hands of Sam Russell after front man Stuart Beavon had a shot deflected out for a corner.
A burst of pace from Magno Vieira, playing against his former employers, then saw the Brazilian see his one-on-one effort blocked by Nikki Bull after a deft touch from Yan Klukowski had sent the man playing against his former club through.
Reece Styche, starting at The New Lawn for the first time in several months, then unleashed a low shot from outside the box that Bull collected with ease whilst it was Rovers shot stopper Sam Russell who did well to collect a dipping cross from Charles Dunne whilst under pressure from Beavon.
Both sides entered the half time break level pegging and with just the single substitution in the interval for the visitors it was Wycombe who started the second half with the first chance as former Exeter City striker Richard Logan blasted over.
A terrific Styche cross followed shortly after aimed in to the front post but Vieira could only guide his header wide, as would Logan minutes later when he attempted a difficult headed chance.
A flurry of substitutions on the hour mark for both sides gave the game a new twist and it was James Norwood who took advantage of a newly opened bit of space to unleash a flying effort that drifted wide right of replacement Wycombe keeper Matt Ingram’s goal.
Eddie Oshodi then saw his drilled header cleared off the line from a Ben Wright corner whilst Norwood tried his luck from distance again when Wright was once again the provider.
Some of the football Rovers produced in the second period oozed quality with Kieron Forbes and Al Bangura among others who starred in their combination play and a driving run down the left saw Norwood test Ingram in the visitors goal in a superb move that involved the majority of the home side's attack.
Neither team could break the deadlock however though with even former Queens Park Rangers man Gareth Ainsworth trying his luck from outside the box when he came on as a late Wycombe substitute.
Despite the lack of goals, Rovers first home pre-season tie up proved to be a good test for Dave Hockaday's men and the signs on the pitch looked promising ahead of another local trip to Shortwood United on Friday.
Forest Green: Russell, Hodgkiss, Asafu-Adjaye, Turley (Todd 60), Green (Oshodi 60), Collins (Bangura 60), Rowe (Forbes 60), Klukowski (Wright 60), Vieira (Norwood 60), Styche (Taylor 52), Koroma (Marsh 57)