Damp Squib At New Lawn

Forest Green Rovers 1 Eastleigh 1
By Neil Martin

A disappointing game was made worse for Rovers when they conceded a late equaliser, when a key victory against a fellow contender looked on the cards. Clovis Kamdjo’s goal on 58 minutes was cancelled out by James Constable’s strike with five minutes to go.
On a very wet night, Ady Pennock decided to make six changes to the team that had played in the FA Cup just 48 hours earlier. However, it still had a strong look to it with the season starting full backs & centre back returning to the line-up.
After Rovers’ usual bright start, the first half meandered into an unexciting stalemate. Hughes had an early effort blocked and FGR’s next best effort was as late on as 44 minutes, when a Guthrie shot was saved after a flowing move started by Wedgbury. The visitors had offered little too, with a Constable shot their only real effort on goal.
David Pipe was making a good impression in his return to the side and a good burst down the right on 55 minutes saw his cross gathered by keeper Flitney. Shortly afterwards Constable’s deflected shot left Sam Russell helplessly flat-footed but the ball drifted wide.
FGR took the lead near the hour with a little bit of good fortune, as Kamdjo was the beneficiary of a ricochet off the keeper which left him with a tap in, after being fed by Guthrie and Rodgers.
Almost immediately Eastleigh had a great shout for a penalty as Constable appeared to be brought down but the referee waved the protests away.
The game livened up as Eastleigh awoke from their slumbers to look for an equaliser and Rovers were using the pace of sub Norwood and Frear on the break. Wedgbury was unlucky with a fierce drive which was well saved by Flitney.
The ever dangerous Constable then dragged his shot wide on 77 minutes after a sublime piece of close control had left the defence chasing him. Then on 85 minutes, he got his just rewards as FGR failed to clear in their own box and he slammed home the loose ball.
It could have got worse for Rovers, as sub Midson clipped the outside of the post a minute later. However in added time James Norwood will still be wondering how he didn’t score the winner, when Kamdjo’s blocked shot fell to him in the six yard box and then Oshodi almost won it with the last kick, also blocked.
In truth, neither side did enough to win a poor game in difficult rainy conditions. FGR need to start turning the draws into victories if they are to stay near the top of the Conference table.

FGR – Russell, Pipe, Stokes, Oshodi, Oliver, Wedgbury, Kamdjo, Frear, Guthrie, Rodgers, Hughes

Eastleigh – Flitney, Spence, Green, Stanley, Constable, Reason, Fleetwood, Strevens, Evans, Reid, Wright

Att – 967 (away 68)

Severn Sport FGR Man of the Match – David Pipe