5:11pm Wednesday 28th November 2012
REECE Styche’s match-winning expression cut a mixture of unbridled joy, but with it a glimmer of frustration.
Always Forest Green’s main man before the arrival of green energy tycoon Dale Vince and his deep pockets, the talismanic striker is now a bench regular, but with an embarrassment of riches from the sidelines boss David Hockaday knows in Styche he can trust.
And the popular hit-man proved his worth as he stepped off the bench to smash in a last-gasp winner at a damp New Lawn to leave his manager a happy man.
Hockaday said: "Saturday's win has put a smile on Reece's face and a smile on everyone else's faces too – it was no more than we deserved in the end.
"The good thing is that I've got great squad players that I can bring on.
"I was really pleased with the performance because we've dominated for all but ten minutes of the game.
"It was a good cup-tie. I thought in the first half we were very good and my keeper hasn't had one chance to save. We've missed a few chances and hit the post a few times.
“In the second half we've gone ahead, we've missed a lot of chances, and then fair play to them (Totton) they've changed shape and we haven't come to grips with it.
“They deserved their equaliser and it ebbed and flowed after that.”
Hockaday played the squad rotation card to perfection as his side started with a confident swagger against Southern Premier minnows Totton.
Stephen Brogan’s free kick saw Matty Taylor nod over. Yan Klukowski was covering more ground than a carpet fitter and only a smart block from keeper Gareth Barefoot repelled his legwork. Totton found their feet and, in a rare foray, Jonathan Davies’ nifty footwork and chipped effort clipped the top of Matt Bulman’s bar.
However, Rovers continued to hold sway. Magno Vieira, Omar Koroma, Chris Stokes and Taylor all went close. But it was the impressive Koroma who went near to pushing Rovers 1-0 up when his thumping drive smashed against a post.
In stoppage time, the busy Brogan saw his strike blocked in the box following fine link play from Taylor and Vieira.
Rovers found the goal their play deserved a minute after the break with Taylor bagging his ninth strike of the season from a Brogan corner.
Taylor almost added a second soon after but he lifted his shot over the bar from inside the box.
The under-employed Bulman showed his worth when his sharp reactions denied James Coutts a certain goal and captain Jared Hodgkiss reacted quickly to block the free ball from Michael Gosney.
Rovers stepped off the gas and Davies somehow fired wide with just Bulman to beat.
Totton found parity when Davies cut Rovers open and his cross was turned in by the unfortunate Aarran Racine.
With time ebbing away, Stokes snatched possession and fed Koroma, who switched the play to Styche and his strike from just inside the box went through Barefoot. Forest Green: M Bulman, J Hodgkiss, C Stokes, A Racine, C Todd, A Bangura, Y Klukowski, S Brogan (J Rowe 86), O Koroma, M Taylor (R Styche 78), M Vieira (J Norwood 66). Subs not used: S Russell, P Green.
Referee: A Bromley (Devon) Attendance: 523.
Star man: Steve Brogan.
* FOREST Green entertain Nuneaton Town in the Blue Square Premier on Saturday, 3pm.
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