Get tickets for Grimsby

Noah Dougherty
Tuesday 13 August 2019

It went the distance, but Forest Green Rovers are through to the second round of the Carabao Cup after a shootout victory over Championship side Charlton Athletic.

In a game with chances aplenty, it was Joe Wollacott's debut penalty save that took the game through to a penalty shootout at The Valley.

The Addicks were denied a perfect record by the outside of the post, while Rovers hit five for five, with Shawn McCoulsky netting the vital kick, to see them safely through.

Rovers started a little brighter than their hosts, Udoka Godwin-Malife breaking into the box after just five minutes before finding Junior Mondal, who couldn’t get his shot away.

Making his first start of the season, Godwin-Malife was involved again three minutes later as he slid a ball between the Addicks backline, but full-back Dom Bernard couldn’t find Taylor Allen at the back post and Deji Oshilaja was able to steer the ball behind for a corner.

The nippy Mondal, who always poses a threat, was causing Charlton some trouble again after 12 minutes as he was brought down 25 yards from goal.

Joseph Mills struck the ball sweetly but the Addicks wall stood firm, George Lapslie taking the powerful effort straight to the face.

An 18th-minute corner from the visitors could have handed Matty Stevens an opportunity to open his account with Forest Green, but the referee called him back for handball as he tried to find a shot in a crowded penalty area after the ball had dropped kindly for him.

Macauley Bonne could well have broken the deadlock after 22 minutes as he met Alfie Doughty’s cross from the left, but the Addicks forward couldn’t keep his half-volley on target and could only watch as it bounced wide of the far post.

The best chance of the half fell the way of the hosts after 29 minutes as Naby Sarr was first to react to a cross into the Rovers area and Wollacott somehow denied his powerful strike from close range, the debutant keeper’s face taking the brunt of the force.

The stopper was called into action again five minutes later, but he was equal to Bonne’s tame effort from outside the area.

Just one minute into the second half, the hosts tried their luck again, Lapslie getting round the left of the Forest Green backline before seeing his deflected strike comfortably saved by Wollacott.

An hour into the encounter, Liam Kitching’s exquisite 70-yard through ball just skipped away from Stevens and Ben Amos was quick off his line to sweep up.

Charlton were given a golden opportunity to take the lead with 67 minutes on the clock as Sarr raced round the side of the Forest Green defence before Kitching’s challenge brought him crashing to the ground, the referee pointing to the spot.

Jake Forster-Caskey stepped up, but Wollacott guessed the right way, diving low to his left to pounce on the weak spot kick.

Forest Green’s best chance of the night landed at the feet of Mondal as substitute Dale Grubb’s driving run found the striker with space to shoot, but his left footed area was too close to Amos who parried the ball away.

A late spell of pressure from Charlton looked dangerous, but the young Rovers back line held out brilliantly to take it to penalties.

Mills, Grubb and Ebou Adams were all on target before Charlton's Albie Morgan struck the post with his spot kick. James Morton calmly put Rovers in the driving seat before substitute McCoulsky fired home the winner in front of the travelling Rovers faithful.

Charlton XI: Amos, Oshilaja, Forster-Caskey, Aneke (Quitirna 62’), Bonnie, Morgan, Sarr (c), Field (Ocran 78'), Lapslie, Wiredu, Doughty

Unused subs: Phillips, Dempsey, Stevenson

Forest Green XI: Wollacott, Bernard, Stevens (McCoulsky 69'), Allen (Grubb 64'), Adams, Morton, McGinley, Kitching, Godwin-Malife, Mills (c), Mondal

Unused subs: Smith, Winchester, Collins, Dawson, Covil

Referee: John Busby

Attendance: 2,693 159 away

Man of the Match: Joe Wollacott

Next up: Grimsby Town, The New Lawn, Saturday, August 17