Noah Dougherty
Saturday 09 March 2019

Forest Green Rovers fell to a third defeat in a row as Morecambe ran out 3-0 winners at the Globe Arena.

Rhys Oates opened the scoring after just six minutes before Aaron Collins added a second before the break.

Shrimps captain Alex Kenyon rounded off the afternoon after 72 minutes as he struck into the bottom corner.

Mark Cooper was forced to make a change in goal as Lewis Ward returned to the side with James Montgomery missing the trip with a back injury.

Udoka Godwin-Malife was also handed his full debut for the club following his January arrival from Oxford City, as well as Dayle Grubb and Lloyd James also returned to the side to make up four changes to the starting XI.

Despite some early possession for Forest Green, it was the hosts who took the lead after just six minutes.

Collins latched onto a long pass into the area, and although his effort was blocked by goalkeeper Lewis Ward, the loose ball rolled across the face of goal and Oates simply couldn’t miss as he tapped into the empty net.

It didn’t take long for Rovers to try and hit back and as Mills got in behind down the left, his pull-ball back found Shawn McCoulsky, but the striker’s effort on the spin was well cleared off the line by Richie Sutton.

Forest Green went closer still after 15 minutes as 18-year-old Udoka Godwin-Malife found space down the right, his cross finding Christian Doidge, but Shrimps’ stopper Mark Halstead did exceptionally well to get down low and palm the forward’s bundled effort onto the post.

At the other end, Ward was called into action three minutes later as he was forced to palm away Collins’ stinging drive before Paul Digby stepped in to tidy up and clear the ball away.

Shortly before the hour mark Rovers had another great challenge to level the scores as George Williams deep free-kick was headed back across goal towards McCoulsky but Halstead rushed out and spread himself well to block the shot.

A good spell of possession around the hosts’ box followed for Rovers but when a chance failed to present itself, they were eventually punished.

With 10 minutes of the first half to play the ball broke to Collins on the edge of the FGR  box and, having evaded the challenge of two players, he fired home into the bottom corner past a helpless Ward.

The final chance of the half fell the way of Forest Green as Godwin-Malife stood up a nice cross to the back post, but Doidge’s header lacked power and was comfortable for Halstead.

The introduction of Junior Mondal and Reece Brown looked to inject a little extra pace and creativity to Cooper’s side, but it was the hosts who created the first opportunity of the second period.

Richie Bennett latched onto a ball in the Rovers half and despite beating Paul Digby for pace he couldn’t keep the ball under his control and Ward rushed out to clear.

Carl Winchester then went close for FGR with 66 minutes as he turned in the area and fired at goal but Halstead pulled out another good save to palm away the low shot.

Forest Green’s afternoon would get worse with 18 minutes to play as Digby was out-muscled as he tried to shield the ball behind for a goal kick and goal-scorer Oates turned provider as he squared the ball for Kenyon to fire home.

With 75 minutes on the clock Ward had to be called into action again as he pulled off an excellent save to deny Kenyon from long range.

It wasn't Rovers day and with 10 minutes to spare, Joseph Mills' goal-bound effort was blocked by Williams who was stood in an offside position.

Rovers' last chance of the game fell the way of Williams but Steve Old was in the right place to clear off the line again after Mills couldn't tun the ball home at the bak post while half on the floor.

Morecambe XI: Halstead, Mills, Conlan, Kenyon, Old, Bennett (Ellison 70'), Sutton, Wildig (McKay), Oates (Mandeville 89'), Mingoia, Collins

Unused subs: Roche, Dalby, Mendes-Gomes, Hedley

Forest Green Rovers XI: Ward, James (Brown 57'), Winchester, Grubb (Mondal 57'), Doidge, Williams, Gunning, Digby, McCoulsky (Shephard 69'), Godwin-Malife, Mills

Unused subs: Thomas, Collins, Rawson, McGinley

Attendance: 1528 (141 away)

Referee: Carl Boyeson

Man of the Match: Udoka Godwin-Malife