Forest Green Rovers 1 Kidderminster Harriers 1
By Neil Martin
An incident packed game at the New Lawn ended even after a bizarre series of events at the end of the game. Kidderminster’s Josh O’Keefe handled the ball into the Rovers net in added time and to the amazement of all in the ground, both referee and linesman gave the goal. However, Rovers’ incensed players surrounded the officials and protested so vehemently that, after several minutes of drama, referee Huxtable changed his decision and disallowed the goal. Whilst the correct decision was eventually made, very poor discipline was shown by some of the FGR players and Lee Hughes and Dale Bennett can count themselves fortunate to have not been red carded.
Much earlier, Rovers had started the game powerfully and created numerous openings in an impressive opening half-hour. Their only reward for some slick passing moves was Paul Green’s goal in the 13th minute after an excellent team build up. Yan Klukowski started the move which was continued by Matt Taylor’s intelligent flick to James Norwood, who cut infield and played a delightful reverse ball into the path of the charging Klukowski. His shot across goal was parried into the path of Green, who gleefully swept home.
Matt Taylor and James Norwood in a new central attacking partnership were very sharp in this opening period and the only criticism of both would be that neither were able to add another goal from the many chances that came their way. New loan signing Bradley Jordan also had a good first half.
As half-time approached Kidderminster started to grow into the game and Russell was forced to make smart saves from both Byrne and Gash before the break. However FGR were once again left to rue missed chances, as a one goal lead at the break was scant reward for their dominance.
It was evident that Kidderminster’s manager must have got stuck into his side at half-time as the visitors swarmed all over Rovers as soon as the second half started. Indeed, they equalised in the 49th minute as Demetriou’s powerful driving run down the left saw him pick out Nick Wright in the box who turned the ball home.
Kidderminster, a big and strong side, playing in a direct style, continued to unsettle Rovers and all the fluency from the hosts disappeared in the second half. FGR were forced to defend deep at times and both sides were piling into the midfield challenges. Jordan and Green both had chances on the break for Rovers but the tide was generally against FGR.
Russell made two quality late saves and Lee Hughes, on as a late sub, headed off the line in the last minute. Hodgkiss was penalised for a questionable foul on the edge of the box at the start of added time, from which the late drama unfolded…
FGR – Russell, Oshodi, Hodgkiss, Oliver, Bennett, Green, Barry, Klukowski, Jordan, Norwood, Taylor