ROVERS CRUISE TO ENTERTAINING VICTORY
Forest Green Rovers 3 Guiseley 0
Neil Martin at The New Lawn for Severn Sport
Forest Green extended their lead at the top of the National League to 5 points with this comfortable win, in a very watchable game with newly promoted Guiseley.
On Non-League Day, Rovers’ initiatives to encourage young children to the ground were rewarded with a bumper turnout. FGR named an unchanged side from the convincing midweek win at Aldershot.
Guiseley started brightly and had the first effort of the game in the 3rd minute, although Jon Parkin showed some nice early touches for FGR, to get the home side going.
The early play followed a pattern of Guiseley possession, with Rovers breaking quickly and creating good scoring opportunities. The first of these was squandered by Marsh-Brown in the 7th minute when he failed to find Frear, all alone in a great position. A minute later Jones blazed wide after a good run and cross from Frear down the left.
Guthrie was then wasteful when put through in a good position, shooting wide left. Guiseley continued to pass the ball well but struggled to create anything clear cut.
Marsh-Brown was then put through, one on one with keeper Drench, who saved well, albeit the shot was straight at him, on 23 minutes. Just when Rovers may have thought that this was to be another day of missed opportunities, on 25 minutes they opened the scoring with a lovely strike from Elliott Frear. Parkin’s cross from the right was controlled neatly by the winger and then half volleyed powerfully into the roof of the net.
Guthrie and Parkin had shots well saved and then Brooksby of the visitors shot over the bar, as both sides continued to move the ball forward to good effect. Before the end of the half both Parkin and Frear again went close for FGR.
Rovers were forced into a change at half time, opting to bring Clough on for Jones in a like for like swap at the back.
Bennett set Frear clear with a lovely ball from the right but Frear wasted the crossing opportunity – something he had unusually been guilty of in the first half.
A bizarre series of events followed on 51 minutes, when a Guiseley defender headed into his own net, under pressure from Parkin but the goal was disallowed for no obvious reason, unless Parkin had been adjudged to have been pushing from the corner.
Guiseley almost scored at the other end when a flowing move ended with Maxted making a good block at the far post following a dangerous Brooksby cross from the right.
Guthrie then unleashed a great shot from distance that was well tipped around the post by Drench for a corner. From the resulting corner Guthrie was tripped when turning on the edge of the box and FGR had got a penalty. Parkin put it away confidently to the keeper’s right for a two goal Rovers lead on 57 minutes.
Rovers buoyed by the lead, played comfortable football, with a view to seeing the game out. However, when O’Connor came on in the 78th minute for Guthrie, he smashed home a rocket shot from 18 yards with his first touch. It was a great right footed strike into the top right corner of the Guiseley net. After losing his place in the side after a recent bad day against Gateshead, O’Connor has now scored excellent game clinching goals from the bench in FGR’s last two matches.
Guiseley sub Dickenson then hit the Rovers post on 82 minutes with a great block on the line preserving FGR’s clean sheet, which was followed by a strong point blank save from Maxted a minute later.
Rovers were able to see the game out despite Parkin playing through an obvious injury as all subs had been used.
A good day for FGR, who with their second emphatic win of the week had not only steadied their form but also increased their lead at the top of the National League.
FGR – Maxted, Bennett, Racine, Jones, Kelly, Marsh-Brown, Sinclair, Carter, Frear, Guthrie, Parkin
Att ; 1,749 (away 60)
Seven Sport FGR Man of the Match ; Marcus Kelly