Sam’s Section: Hartpury hunt down Wembley whilst Rovers look to extend unbeaten start to year


As Gloucestershire starts to feel more like the Artic, football continues with some very important fixtures set to take place.

Starting in League Two as Troy Deeney’s hunt for a first win as Forest Green Rovers manager continues but has led his side to remain unbeaten in 2024 so far.

Following their draw on New Year’s against AFC Wimbledon, Rovers took a trip to the Class of 92’s, Salford City.

A real six-pointer awaited Deeney and his side with both teams struggling at the lower end of the league and had just six points separating themselves.

But Salford had 24 hours prior hired former Oxford United manager, Karl Robinson, to take the helm which added an extra flavour to this tie.

Dramatic is the only way to describe this encounter as it saw three red cards, four goals, landmark goals, a comeback, and a late, late penalty.

Rovers had the worst possible start going behind inside four minutes to a Matt Smith looping header but from the point on it was downhill for Salford.

Robinson’s first game in charge was ended on 14 minutes when he was sent off for delaying a restart when he kicked the ball away from Rovers defender, Dom Bernard.

Deeney’s men took full advantage scoring either side of the half with Charlie McCann’s first Rovers goal and Matty Stevens 50th league goal for the club.

It looked as if Rovers were about to pick up some important three points until the referee pointed to spot in stoppage time.

Rovers defender, Ryan Inniss and Salford defender, Adrian Mariappa were both shown red cards following an altercation before Ryan Watson dispatched the spot kick.

Deeney finally got himself a full week to work with side ahead of Rovers League Two clash with Harrogate Town at The New Lawn on Saturday.

A win could move Rovers to within three points of safety and open a gap on bottom side Sutton United if they fail to win.

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Elsewhere across Gloucestershire, Wembley beckons as Hartpury University are in FA Vase fourth round action when they travel to Falmouth Town on Saturday.

Hartpury head down south on a 10-match winning run and with confidence having already beaten two sides from leagues above to get this far.

A 5-3 win against Nailsea & Tickenham in round two and a 2-1 victory over Clevedon Town last time out shows the quality Martin Longworth’s side possesses when coing up against higher opposition.

On Thursday, Hartpury posted Longworth’s pre-match comments, where he said:

“We’ve beaten higher league opposition each round and the lads deserve to be in the last 32 of the competition again. Similar to last season, we have an extremely tough away tie vs a step 5 title challenging side. They’ll be a huge local crowed, we’ll need to produce one of our finest performances to go one better and get into the last 16!”

Winning in Falmouth leaves Longworth and his side just three rounds away from having the once in a lifetime chance of playing underneath those famous arches.

Follow Sam Yapp on Twitter @SJY_Journo for more

READ MORE: Check out this Saturday’s fixtures in and around Gloucestershire right here

READ MORE: Check out Sunday’s Women’s fixtures in and around Gloucestershire right here

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