Forest Green fan John Light talks all things Rovers
Horrendous weather – a wretched forecast – a snow bound New Lawn, but I still went to Lincoln. Of course I was not the only hero – thirty five others made the journey as well and what a fine reward – three precious promotion points.
"We are ready for it – we have trained well" were breakfast time words from manager Hockaday, and how right he was. From the kick-off the Rovers front three pulled Lincoln apart. At last we saw Norwood, Taylor and Styche playing together and what a threat they were. There was a real cutting edge to the attack and at half-time it could have been 4-0. There was pace, movement and a desire to move the ball quickly to the exuberant front men.
Lincoln offered little from open play, relying on long throws from either touch line. Safe handling from the reliable Russell and consistently dominant head work by fit again Jamie Collins nullified this threat.
Of course Lincoln were better in the second half and pressed forward but achieved little in areas that mattered. Perhaps Rovers were adopting a more cautious approach with a "what we have we hold" philosophy.
Substitutions were made, probably with tough future fixtures in mind and one of the new faces we saw was Magno Viera. Did my eyes deceive me or were Rovers playing 4-4-2 with Magno playing a withdrawn role on the right. This was an all action Viera prominent in defence and attack. His wholehearted second half contribution was the best I have seen from him. More like that please.
The only way Lincoln would have scored was from a penalty and they were duly awarded one. A more likely penalty shout had just been turned down and this one came under the heading of a "make up" decision – The referee thinking I got one decision wrong – I must make up for it.
He was not always right. A rampant Reece was through, but tripped. It was a goal scoring opportunity and the culprit, defender Garner looked to be the last man. He received a yellow card rather than a red, a most lucky let off for Lincoln.
Now for Woking and Wrexham. No team in our league has won more home matches than Woking so any success there will be well-earned and welcome.
On Saturday Wrexham came to "fortress Forest". This week I am right. Six away matches remain, with eleven to be played at home. We all have a part to play in making the New Lawn a ground where we are invincible.
We can start on Saturday. The players will leave the dressing room and be greeted by a wall of sound, but it will be a Welsh wall. Both teams have to pass through away supporters as they enter the playing area. For Rovers players it must seem like an away fixture. They may not be put off but the Wrexham team will be uplifted.
This is where we come in. When the players line up in front of the East Stand this is our chance. How morale boosting it would be if chants of "Forest Green, Forest Green" rang out as the pre-match handshakes take place. Even better if this continues to kick-off and beyond. Whatever happens during the game we must not be silenced.
Now is the time to consider the "P" word. You all know what it is and some of you fear it. I do not know why. Having been there with Barnet the problems are known to me. The 2005 ‘Bees’ squad was not good enough to make an impact. The age profile was such it would not get better. The last few years have seen the London club as perpetual struggles. How different it is at FGR! A talented squad is being assembled, and given the security of reasonable contracts. They will grow up together, they will improve together. It is a prospect for us to both anticipate and relish. If promotion does not come this year, it is surely not far away.
Then there will be more opportunities like last Saturday, when a small but vibrant Cotswold town sent its team to a fine stadium in a major English city. The team came back victorious. This Saturday it is comparable to playing in Europe. Opponents are from an important city in a different country. Broadcasters will speak a foreign language. Where ever it takes us there is a splendid ride for us all to enjoy. Why not join us at "Fortress Forest".
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