FT: Forest Green 2 Imps 3

Match report...

Manager Danny Cowley was able to name an unchanged starting line-up for a fourth successive game as league leaders Forest Green Rovers provided the opposition for the second-placed Imps in front of the BT Sport cameras at The New Lawn.

City were backed by a good number of travelling fans despite the early 12.15.pm kick-off and once the pre-match formalities were over referee Constantine Hatzidakis got things underway with the hosts kicking off.

The opening stages were littered with free-kicks which did nothing to aid the flow of the game and neither goalkeeper was tested as the 10 minute mark came and went; an Ethan Pinnock header from a Rovers free-kick being the first time Paul Farman got his gloves dirty.

The first real attempt at goal saw Darren Carter fizz a 25-yard effort over the City bar in the 12th minute but the quiet beginning continued with chances still at a premium as the midway point in the half approached.

City had their first sniff of goal in the 24th minute when Matt Rhead fed Theo Robinson on the right of the box but his right-footed effort was held well by Sam Russell in the home goal.

A minute later the action switched to the other end and when Liam Noble spread the ball wide to Dan Wishart he picked out Christian Doidge who headed past Farman for the opening goal of the game.

Sean Raggett got in a timely block to deny Elliott Frear whilst on the half-hour mark the first corner of the game was won by Robinson with Luke Waterfall's header from the resultant delivery being tipped over by Russell at full stretch.

In the 32nd minute a facial injury to Woodyard following a tangle with Keanu Marsh-Brown went unnoticed by the officials before play eventually stopped for treatment. And when play restarted Rhead picks up a bloodied nose following a challenge with Charlie Clough.

Rhead returned to the fray as Woodyard won what turned out to be an unproductive corner and as play switched to the other end Farman tipped behind a low skidding Marsh-Brown free-kick for a corner which was dealt with.


Both teams emerged unchanged for the start of the second half so it was as you were as the Imps restarted proceedings.

The start to the second period followed the pattern set in the first in that was very stop-start with numerous free-kicks reducing the entertainment value.

Terry Hawkridge replaced Harry Anderson in the 51st minute in a bid to freshen things up on the City attacking left and five minutes later a dangerous Arnold cross was headed out for a corner by Clough.

Hawkridge had a shot charged down following the flag-kick and when the ball fell kindly for the hosts, Marsh-Brown went clear down the middle but Wood was back to block his attempted pass across to a team mate.

City's second change came on the hour mark with Adam Marriott coming on for Theo Robinson and two minutes later Alan Power picked up the first booking of the game following a challenge in the middle third.

Waterfall then deflected a Frear effort over the bar for a corner and when the ball was kept alive by the hosts, Marsh-Brown drilled a low effort into the bottom right corner of the City net to double his side's lead.

A 67th minute Wood challenge on Frear was deemed worthy of a yellow card by the referee whilst a minute later City reduced the arrears with ALEX WOODYARD bagging his first of the season after Arnold was denied by Russell.

City's tails were up now with Marriott turning his marker before seeing his effort kept out by the feet of Russell; the loose ball falling just short of the waiting Rhead six yards out.

After Raggett picked up his fifth booking of the season, Drissa Traore replaced Liam Noble for the hosts before Elliott Whitehouse came on for Alan Power for the Imps.

In the 78th minute Hawkridge picked out Arnold who cut inside and found Whitehouse who saw his first touch deflect wide for a corner. When this was played in Raggett went to ground but the officials spotted nothing untoward.

With eight minutes remainining Marsh-Brown was booked for delaying the taking of a corner and when it was eventually taken Farman pulled off a fine reaction save to keep the game 2-1.

Both Waterfall and Carter required treatment in the City box shortly afterwards and in the 88th minute the host brought on defender Dale Bennett for winger Elliott Frear.

Bennett hardly had chance to get his boots dirty as within 60 seconds the Imps drew level when a Wood throw-in was superbly back-flicked by Rhead into the path of LUKE WATERFALL who drilled the Imps level.

The Imps upped the tempo again and the never say die approach paid dividends as, in the first of five additonal minutes a Habergham corner was met by SEAN RAGGETT who headed powerfully home to send the travelling 345 fans wild in the aisles.

There were bookings for both Waterfall and Rhead following their celebrations and the shell-shocked hosts were clearly that as they offered nothing in terms of an attacking threat before play came to a close after almost six extra minutes of play.


1    Paul FARMAN
2    Bradley WOOD
8    Alan POWER
9    Matt RHEAD
12    Harry ANDERSON
25    Sean RAGGETT
28    Nathan ARNOLD
30    Alex WOODYARD
31    Theo ROBINSON
4    Elliott WHITEHOUSE (for POWER 77)
7    Jack MULDOON
10    Adam MARRIOTT (for ROBINSON 60)
11    Terry HAWKRIDGE (for ANDERSON 51)
27    Jamie McCOMBE

BOOKINGS: POWER (62), WOOD (67), RAGGETT (73), WATERFALL (90+2), RHEAD (90+2)


23    Sam RUSSELL
5    Charlie CLOUGH
7    Keanu MARSH-BROWN
9    Christian DOIDGE
11    Elliott FREAR
12    Darren CARTER
15    Liam NOBLE
16    Ethan PINNOCK
17    Daniel WISHART
19    Rob SINCLAIR
21    Aarran RACINE
4    Drissa TRAORE (for NOBLE 74)
6    Dale BENNETT (for FREAR 88)
10    Marcus KELLY
20    Matt TUBBS
39    Rhys MURPHY




REFEREE: Constantine Hatzidakis
ASSISTANTS: Simon Shaw & Grant Taylor