Noah Dougherty
Friday 13 July 2018

Forest Green Rovers conceded a 90th-minute equaliser in a pre-season game with Weston-super-Mare that ended with both sides claiming six goals apiece. 

A first-half hat-trick from Christian Doidge, a Theo Archibald brace and a strike from former Weston man Dayle Grubb somehow wasn’t enough for Rovers to take the victory at the Woodspring Stadium.

Stepping out onto the pitch at the Woodspring for the first time since leaving Weston-super-Mare in January 2017, Grubb was keen to get Forest Green on the front foot, and with just three minutes on the clock he did.

As Doidge tried to power his way into the area the ball broke back out to Grubb on the edge before he found Archibald who was able cut inside onto his left foot and fire across the keeper into the bottom corner.

After a long week on the training ground, Rovers were clearly well drilled and in the mood for goals and just four minutes later they proved just that.

Doidge, as the FGR fans have come to expect, perfectly anticipated a ball into the box before trying to round Purnell in the Weston goal and all the keeper could do was bring the striker crashing to the ground for a penalty.

Of course, Doidge converted the spot kick, sliding the ball calmly down the middle.

Forest Green were then stunned by two Weston strikes in two minutes as, for the first goal, Farrend Rawson was caught two-on-one at the back and although he tried to cover both forwards the ball found its way to the Weston striker who gave Robert Sanchez no chance from inside the area.

Two minutes later, with 14 minutes on the clock, the hosts found the net again. This time a cross to the far post was nodded back across before the number four slotted home from six yards.

Having been the provider for the opening goal, Grubb had his moment against his old side with less than half an hour on the clock. Archibald’s initial dinked ball into the area was headed clear but the former Weston man was on hand to fire home on the full from the edge of the area.

Rovers continued to demonstrate their attacking prowess and with half an hour played they added a fourth goal. This time Grubb was once again the provider as he acted instinctively and slid a quick free-kick into Doidge who simply doesn’t miss when one-on-one with the keeper.

Three minutes later, Doidge completed his hat-trick as George Williams was brought down in the box and last season's top scorer, once again, slotted home from 12 yards.

Weston added a third just before the break as a ball was drilled into the area from the byline and the number nine was on hand to powerfully head home.

With four new faces introduced at half-time, FGR looked to continue their impressive attacking display and they did just that with 52 minutes on the clock as Archibald curled a beautiful finish into the top corner after cutting in from the right of midfield.

However, the hosts weren’t done either and with just over an hour played the Weston-super-Mare number 11 slotted home through James Montgomery’s legs after a cross from the right.

Having been subbed on at half time, Reece Brown was keen to get in on the act and his shot straight from kick off dropped agonisingly too late and clipped the bar rather than dropping in for an incredible goal.

Just three minutes later, Weston found the net once again as former FGR man Louis McGrory  slid into the area and made no mistake, putting his side within touching distance of closing the 5-6 deficit.

The scoring was not done there and with less than a minute to play, the host’s number 18 did well to drive forward and find the bottom corner from outside the area and share the spoils.