Noah Dougherty
Monday 13 May 2019

Forest Green missed out on a place in the League Two play-off final after being held to a 1-1 draw with Tranmere Rovers, finishing the game with 10 men.

Joseph Mills opened the scoring for Rovers with a well-directed first-half header before a James Norwood volley levelled the match up.

Carl Winchester was sent off in the second half for two yellow cards, making the chances of an FGR aggregate equaliser much more difficult towards the end of the game.

Mark Cooper made one change from the first leg of the play-off semi-final at Prenton Park on Friday. With Gavin Gunning suspended, Lee Collins came into the side having come off the bench in the first match. Isaac Pearce replaced Gunning in the squad, earning a place on the bench.

After a confident start to the game, it was a set piece after 12 minutes which brought FGR back on terms in the tie. Junior Mondal swung it in from the right-hand-side. It was a beautiful delivery which perfectly found Joseph Mills who directed the header through the hands of Scott Davies at the near post.

Ollie Banks thought that he could replicate his long-range stunner after 23 minutes but his effort was comfortably dealt with by Lewis Ward.

Four minutes later, Tranmere found an equaliser on the night to put them back in front on aggregate. David Perkins clipped a ball into Kieron Morris on the right-hand-side and he headed the ball back to Norwood just inside the area who volleyed the ball first time into the bottom left corner.

Dayle Grubb had his first shot of the game 36 minutes in, cutting in from the left-hand-side, but it was a simple save for Davies.

Christian Doidge almost got on the end of a dangerous Mills cross with just over 40 minutes played, but a very good defensive header from Liam Ridehalgh prevented the goalscoring opportunity for the Welshman.

Mondal was inches from getting on the end of a speculative through ball a couple of minutes later, but even his pace couldn’t get him around Ridehalgh before the defender made a vital interception for his side to keep the score level at the break.

In a quiet opening to the second period, the first half-chance of the game almost fell to Doidge on the hour. This time a cross from the right-side from Liam Shephard was claimed by Davies with Doidge lurking with intent.

Carl Winchester saw his swerving effort from 20 yards out evade everyone to go wide of the right post in the 64th minute.

Two minutes later Morris had a left-footed shot from 25 yards out sail just over the bar for Tranmere before being subbed off moments later.

Things became even more difficult for the home side when Carl Winchester was sent off for a second yellow card. The referee, who had cautioned the midfielder earlier on in the game, booked Winchester for fouling Norwood as he tried to counter-attack with just over 20 minutes to play.

Norwood had another chance on the counter attack in the 84th minute but he fired his shot over the bar from just inside the box.

 

Forest Green Rovers XI: Ward, Shephard, Collins (McCoulsky 81’), Rawson, Winchester, Grubb (James 70’), Doidge, Brown, McGinley, Mills (c), Mondal (Williams 45’)

Unused subs: Montgomery, Pearce, Digby, Godwin-Malife

Tranmere Rovers XI: Davies (c), Ridehalgh, Nelson, Monthe, Harris, Norwood, Jennings, Caprice, Perkins Morris (Gilmour 66’), Banks

Unused subs: Pilling, Buxton, McNulty, Mullin, Smith, Dagnall

Referee: Eddie Ilderton

Attendance:  4492 (1188 away)

Man of the match: Joseph Mills