Won In A Forest Green Rovers

Kev Neylon
7 min readFeb 17, 2024

If the club keep playing Cure songs post-match, then it was only a matter of time before I shoehorned some of their approximated lyrics into one of these blog titles.

It is another home game in quick succession after a rare draw on Tuesday night at home against Walsall. A better performance than some of late, but still a frustrating result and one that left us fifteenth in the table (but still only seven points off the playoff places and with a game in hand — I can always hope). The opponents today are Forest Green Rovers, who having been relegated from their only season in League One, are in the relegation places coming into today’s game, having dragged themselves off the foot of the table Tuesday night after a surprising 2–1 win away at Barrow.

The corresponding fixture was at the end of our terrible October and after taking an early lead we ended up losing 1–2 to them. Although that wasn’t as bad as the previous time we had played them back at their place two seasons ago where we lost 3–6 in their League Two winning season. But we did beat them in out last home game against them in that same season, taking a two nil lead and holding on to win 2–1. Part of the crowd in the east marquee had been telling their defender Bernard to pull his shorts down as they were in a proper eighties’ short shorts style. Of course, he scored their goal that day.

The Stockport County game, which was due to be on Saturday the sixteenth of March, but as Stockport are now playing a game on the Thursday due to the wankers at Sky moving it to put it on telly, it’s now going to be on the Monday night, the eighteenth. Why can’t you leave the fucking fixtures where they are you Sky twats. Why the Monday? Why not Sunday? Other teams can play Thursday night, Sunday afternoon, what’s so fucking special about the Stockport twunts that they can’t, instead of wasting my money. Deliberately book things so they won’t clash with games and Sky come along and fuck it all up. They should be forced to pay anyone with tickets compensation. What to miss? The game or the other thing I have booked.

For once there was no writing group on the Saturday morning before the game, and so it was an unusual daylight stroll along Wakehurst Drive and through the underpass to get to the ground. I wasn’t there quite as early as I usually am, and wasn’t waiting for the turnstiles to open.

Outside the ground I spotted quite a few FGR fans wandering around with a burger in their hands, obviously surprised that we still sell meat products at the ground. Inside the ground and we find Reggie is back in action after a couple of games off for good behaviour.

FGR are in mainly black kits with some turquoise patterned striping on it. Bernard is still with them, but only on the subs bench, but as the subs were out keeping warm at half time, I can confirm he is still wearing the same ridiculous short shorts.

It’s a slow start to the game and the first decent attack for us is down the right wing, where Nick Tsaroulla’s cross is hooved out over the east marquee and onto the A23. Again, there is work down the right-hand side of the pitch, and the ball is worked across the edge of the area, only for Ronan Darcy’s shot to be deflected out for a corner, which was easily cleared.

At the other end, in typical fashion Dion Conroy loses the ball in the middle of the half and it takes a last-ditch tackle for a corner to prevent a shot on goal. The corner is cleared.

Meanwhile the crowd around me are shouting book him after a FGR player commits a foul in midfield. I am adding the word Danno on the end of that shout in my head. Which gets me to wondering are there any referees called Dan or Daniel, and if so after they make a booking should they play the Hawaii-5-O theme music?

There is some good, sustained pressure from Crawley now, and Tsaroulla dribble through a couple of players in the box, but the ball just gets away from him and the FGR keeper collapses on it and so it comes to nothing.

With a few minutes to go to half time there is a lot of good pressure down the right, some good interplay involving Tsaroulla, Liam Kelly, and Adam Campbell, and it ends with Tsaroulla to the byline and a cross and there is Danilo Orsi to flick the ball past the FGR keeper and into the net and we lead 1–0.

From the restart there is a FGR attack, and they have a shot which is over the bar. Then we attack down the left wing and Darcy cuts inside into the box and his sharp shot is well saved. The board goes up for one added minute and the half ends with Crawley leading 1–0.

In the second half the first real chance falls to FGR when they break but the shot is easily saved by Corey Addai, and we counterattack and win a corner. From which there are claims for a penalty when Jay Williams goes down in the area, but they are waved away.

There are a flurry of substitutions made and then we attack down the right, the ball into the box comes to Klaidi Lolos who can’t find the space for a shot and passes it to Harry Forster, only for his shot to be blocked. He picks it back up and gets a cross in, but the FGR keeper collects. At the other end Orsi blocks an attempted cross out over the KRL Logistics stand for a corner and ball loss number two of the day.

Crawley are pressing well and putting good pressure on the FGR defence. Forster and Lolos win the ball back in the box and pass it between themselves, but the final ball eludes Forster and goes out for a goal kick.

FGR are attacking a bit more, and it is mainly down the right wing. They get another shot off that is straight at Addai, and for some reason after the ball is caught their number 46 throws one of our defenders to the floor and the shouts of ‘book him’ are obliged by the ref. there was no Hawaii-5-O theme played.

Another left wing move see Lolos and Forster link up again and Forster’s cross just evades all the Crawley players in the box, but it is turned back in from the right, and FGR just about manage to scramble the ball clear. Then Kellen Gordon intercepts a ball just in his own half and gallops down the right wing and crosses it in; Lolos attempts a scissors kick, but it comes off the side of his boot and is cleared.

FGR attack down the right again, get to the goal line and cross, and it deflects for a corner, but they are claiming it hit a hand and should be a penalty, but the ref ignores them.

Crawley attack down the left again and Forster crosses, but the ball is cleared out as far as the right wing where Gordon takes it and crosses it back in and Lolos slams it home to make it a 2–0 lead.

The board goes up to indicate four minutes of added time, and after a bit of FGR pressure, we have another attack down the right, Jack Roles cuts in and takes a shot which hits Lolos on the side of the head and puts him down. The pressure is sustained, and the ball comes back to Lolos who has got back to his feet and his shot comes off the post and Forster follows up only for his shot to be saved for a corner.

A late Will Wright clearance sails well over the east marquee and heads towards the A23 again, for the third ball loss of the day. FGR are trying more now than at any point in normal time and get a deep cross in and there is a header on target which Addai just manages to push away. They keep the ball and the pressure on, but a shot comes in and goes wide which gives the signal to the ref to blow the full-time whistle and it is a 2–0 win for Crawley.

The win sees no change in league position for us, and as the two teams above us both won as well, we are still three points adrift of fourteenth, but we are now only five points off the playoff places, and we have a game in hand against all the teams above us in contention apart from Morecambe (who are technically that game in hand).

And next up is one of those in contention teams, as we play our rearranged fixture away to AFC Wimbledon on Tuesday night, where I know I will be able to get my first programme of the season.

Come on you reds.

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Kev Neylon

Writing fiction, travel, history, sport, & music blogs. Monthly e-zine with all kinds of writing at www.onetruekev.co.uk. All pictures used are my own.