STEPHEN ‘Braveheart’ Brogan came up with a debut winner deep into injury-time to end ten-man Macclesfield’s fightback at the Moss Rose, writes Non League Paper reporter Stuart Hammonds.
It’s not often you hear wingers praised for their courage. But that was the case as Forest Green boss David Hockaday pushed plaudits towards his new signing from Guiseley, his never-say-die team and their opponents, whose 100 per cent home record is no more.
The Silkmen, one place above Rovers in second at kick-off, lost the opening goal before half-time when man-of-the-match Matt Taylor scored his fourth of the season.
They then lost their own highly-rated winger when John Paul Kissock was dismissed for a second yellow card on the hour.
They ultimately lost the game, after top scorer Matthew Barnes-Homer had dragged them level four minutes after going a man down, when substitute Brogan netted in the 93rd minute.
It was tough on Macclesfield, but the impressive Kieron Forbes, Ben Wright and Magno Vieira had all rattled the woodwork for rampant Rovers, who moved up to second as Macc dropped two places.
“That was what football should be all about,” said Hockaday. “It was two teams that just went out to have a go at each other. How it ended up just 2-1, I don’t know. It was like a basketball game, so end-to-end.
“I thought that the shout from both teams to go and attack, attack, attack was brilliant. I’ve really enjoyed it and if we’d have lost, it would still have been a great game.
“I hold my hands up to Macclesfield because I thought they were super with ten men.
“But Stephen’s got in the box and scored from six inches, which sounds easy, but to get where he did takes some doing. That’s a bravery in itself and I’m delighted for him.”
However good they look going forward, Macclesfield are a muddle at the back – and King knows it.
After conceding three at Nuneaton last week, he dispensed with centre-halves Kieran Charnock and Pablo Mills and brought back captain Nat Brown and Tony Diagne, making his first start of the season. You could tell.
After some early scares, the ring-rusty defender let an up and under from Sam Russell travel 70 yards over his head on 35 minutes. Taylor was quickly onto it, his control, as ever, sublime.
He held off desperate Diagne’s attempts to pull him back and shot across the keeper into the far corner.
Forbes had already hit a post at the end of a flowing fourth-minute move involving Taylor and Vieira, while the Brazilian – after picking Diagne’s pocket, naturally – forced Cronin into early action.
Macc had chances of their own, with Keiran Murtagh marauding through midfield. Barnes-Homer twice went close, while Russell repelled Brown’s far-post header.
Kissock’s first yellow arrived for simulation just before Taylor’s goal, and his second – leading to a red – came after over-stretching to reach a loose ball from Arnaud Mendy, catching left-back Chris Stokes late for a second time.
As these things often do, it sparked the Silkmen into life and when his ex-Luton team-mate Asafu Adjaye crashed a headed clearance into James Turley, Barnes-Homer pounced to rifle his seventh goal of the campaign past Russell.
Murtagh bent a 30-yarder straight into Russell’s arms, before Rovers’ recycling of the ball tired the Silk ten and, after Vieira struck the post and Taylor headed over, the latter fed Asafu-Adjaye on the right and his ball from the byline was turned in by Brogan.
Forest Green: (4-3-3) Russell 7, Asafu-Adjaye 7, Turley 7, Oshodi 7, Stokes 6, Bangura 7, Collins 7, Forbes 7 (Styche 84, 5), Wright 6 (Klukowski 63, 6), Vieira 7 (Brogan 80, 6), Taylor 8.
Subs not used :Koroma, Marsh.
Referee: Karl Evans 7/10
Star man : Matt Taylor.