Football: Forest Green knocked out of FA Trophy by Chorley after penalty shootout
12:32pm Wednesday 18th December 2013 in Gloucestershire Sport
FA Tropy Second Round Replay
Forest Green 0 Chorley 0
(AET; Chorley won 3-1 on penalties)
SAM Ashton’s penalty saving heroics helped dump Forest Green out of the FA Trophy in underwhelming fashion against Evo-Stik Northern Premier League Chorley, writes Richard Joyce.
After 210 minutes of football had failed to separate the two sides, the tie was ultimately settled from a shootout as the fog descended at The New Lawn, and Rovers choked badly against their lower level counterparts.
Former FC United keeper Ashton made three good stops to ensure his Chorley team would continue their excellent campaign and book themselves a third round trip to Tamworth as hopes of a return to Wembley were dashed for Ady Pennock’s side.
Saturday’s meeting had brought no goals between the two and neither side could find the back of the net once again at the second time of asking.
After a goalless half-hour of extra-time, Rovers' inability to produce anything convincing in the final third cost them badly.
Chorley proved on Saturday just why they’ve impressed at the top of the Northern Premier this season, and they started brightly again down in Gloucestershire as the dangerous James Dean brought the best out of Sam Russell after the powerful forward had fired off a smart effort.
Dale Whitham’s attempt for the visitors from a narrow angle was hammered into the side netting in a first half dominated by Chorley and Dean blast an effort over the crossbar seven minutes before half-time.
A more threatening Rovers attack finally arose at the start of the second half as Matthew Barnes-Homer and James Norwood both smashed early efforts over.
Barnes-Homer then forced Ashton into his first meaningful save of the night while Adam Roscoe spurned a great opportunity for Chorley, firing wide inside the box after Dean had set the midfielder.
Norwood then came even closer to hitting the target when his burst through on goal ended with his strike edging inches over the bar as Rovers began to take command.
James Alabi slammed wide on 71 minutes from Barnes-Homer’s low ball across the face of goal and the former then headed Ed Asafu-Adjaye’s cross off target minutes later.
Matty Taylor’s introduction as a substitute added some late spark, and the striker’s long distance drive on goal was heading in, but Ashton plucked his effort out of the air.
As The New Lawn’s traditional evening fog began to smother proceedings, extra-time again saw Rovers pushing to find a goal, but it was actually Roscoe who was denied by an outstanding last ditch Jared Hodgkiss block on the line for the visitors a minute before half-time when he looked sure to score.
It looked as though Rovers may have found the elusive goal they were after in unusual circumstances five minutes from the end.
Norwood’s dinked cross pressured Ashton into taking the ball on his line, but the keeper stuttered and dropped the ball, almost handing Rovers the lead, but the linesman judged that the ball hadn’t crossed the line despite the protests of the fans behind the goal.
Ashton’s error had almost handed Rovers a January trip to Tamworth, but the keeper would go on to be a hero in the shootout, as after Josh Hine had hit the post for the visitors with the first penalty, Ashton stopped Barnes-Homer’s first attempt too.
Dean then put Chorley ahead while Norwood was denied by Ashton as Darren Stephenson put Chorley two up.
Matty Taylor confidently stroked in Rovers' only successful spot kick, but after Dale Whitham had extended the visitors lead in the shootout, another Ashton stop denied Paul Green and Rovers were dumped out.
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