Forest Green Rovers duo join Longlevens and make impression on debut against Wantage Town

Forest Green Rovers Academy duo Sam Hendy & Jay Malshanskyj have signed for Longlevens on work experience loan deals until the end of the season. 

Hendy, 18 & Malshanskyj, 17 joined up with the squad and both started in the Hellenic Premier fixture against title chasing Wantage Town. 

Despite being on the wrong end of a 2-1 defeat, both players made an impression on their first Levens outing and manager Craig Martin was full of optimism and praise for his newly acquired players. Martin also explained how the deals came about.

“With Jonty [midfielder Jonty Welch] being involved with Forest Green, their academy gaffer Scott Bartlett rang and offered us players. We initially agreed to bring in three of the lads but due to EFL rules only two can play at one time. So we decided to bring in Sam Hendy & Jay Malshanskyj for now.

For their first game I thought that both of the lads settled really well, both joined in on the banter in the changing rooms and once on the pitch they settled straight away, which was great to see and credit to them. 

It was a harder game for Sam to settle into I’d say as we asked him to play in three different positions during the game but I’m not surprised to see he adapted to that pretty easily.

But credit to both Sam & Jay because we played a top team in Wantage and you wouldn’t have been able to tell that they were on work experience.” 

In the game, Wantage took the lead through Ben Cook on 14 minutes before Steve Robertson doubled their lead just after the half time break.

Shaun O’Connor pulled one back for Longlevens in added time at the end of the game but the hosts remain bottom of the Hellenic Premier, just one point behind local rivals Tuffley Rovers.

Speaking to Severn Sport about the game, Martin wasn’t too disappointed in the result as his side put in another promising performance against a top 5 club.

“I’m not too disappointed in the game at all. Obviously you don’t want to lose but again we have put in a shift against a top 5 side and made them work hard for their win.

In the last 5 or 6 weeks we have played all of the top 5 and in every game, except probably Ascot United away, we have come away and felt we have fought as hard as possible and been hard to beat.

We now have two weeks off in the league and have two tricky cup ties before a run of league games that we see as winnable. It will be these games that will define our season and we will need all the boys firing, Sam & Jay will help that.”  

Hendy & Malshanskyj will be in the squad for next Saturday’s Bluefin Sports Challenge Cup tie away at Ascot United and Martin will look to give the young duo as many minutes as possible.