Noah Dougherty
Tuesday 09 October 2018

Forest Green Rovers fall to a penalty shootout defeat at the hands of Coventry City.

The hosts opened the scoring inside three minutes through Jordy Hiwulu before Isaac Pearce levelled the score with 20 minutes to play.

Matt Worthington and George Williams missed the first two penalties for Rovers and from their it was an uphill climb, Dominic Hyam burying the winner to seal a 4-2 shootout victory.

Mark Cooper named a changed side that resembled the one that completed a convincing win over Cheltenham Town in the first group game, with loan duo Ben Morris and Matt Worthington both handed starts.

Meanwhile, there was also a place on the bench for 16-year-old academy forward Dan Ogunleye, who featured in two of the pre-season friendlies and has made a fine start with the Under 18s under Chris Barker’s guidance this season.

It didn’t take long for the League One side to get up and running and just three minutes into the encounter they had the lead.

Hiwula capitalised on a forward header before driving towards the corner of the FGR box and firing, via a deflection, into the bottom corner of James’ Montgomery’s goal.

As Forest Green began to settle they were able to start forcing their way into the match. With 20 minutes on the clock, the first chance of note for the visitors fell in the direction of Williams but his effort from the edge of the area was blocked well.

Nathan McGinley’s outrageous run forward with 24 minutes on the clock looked set to create a great chance for Rovers but he was brought down and, despite fervent appeals for a free-kick the referee signalled for play to continue.

There seemed to be a lot of good fortune coming down the FGR right but no one was able to connect with any of Williams’ balls into the six-yard-box. The most dangerous of these came after half an hour but it was just too quick for Tahvon Campbell.

Into added time at the end of the first half Rovers may well have grabbed an equaliser as Tahvon Campbell raced through but his sliding effort rolled wide of Liam O’Brien’s post.

Exactly the same amount of time into the second half as he opened the scoring in the first, Hiwula had a great chance to double his side’s advantage. His effort though, rolled across Montgomery’s goal and just wide of the post.

With 54 minutes on the clock the visitors had another chance to level the score as Williams once again did well to wriggle away from his marker before finding Lloyd James but the latter’s effort was straight down the keeper’s throat.

The 57th minute saw the introduction of Pearce from the bench and 12 minutes later he equalised for Forest Green.

Theo Archibald’s dangerous free-kick into the area was headed straight up in the air and captain Lee Collins rose highest in the area to nod towards the back post where Pearce was waiting to hed home past O’Brien.

Five minutes from time the Rovers goal-scorer had another effort on goal as Archibald drove forward with a mazy run before finding Pearce who’s effort was well blocked.

Goal-scorer Hiwula missed the opening spot kick of the afternoon before Worthington replicated that result. The hosts then took the lead before Williams also missed from the spot.

The FGR spot kicks picked up from there but they had already built themselves a mountain to climb and Hyam slotted home the winner.


Man of the Match: George Williams

Attendance: 1,341 (85 from FGR)

Referee: Darren Drysdale

Coventry XI: O’Brien, Mason, Kelly, Hiwula, Hyam, Ogogo, Bakayoko, Andreu, Thompson, Hickman, Williams
Addai, Walters (Andreu 81’), Camwell (Mason 56’), Eccles, McCallum, Ngandu, Burroughs (Hickman 61’)

Forest Green XI: Montgomery, James, Collins, Rawson, Williams, Campbell, Archibald, McGinley, Digby, Worthington, Morris  
Sanchez, Winchester, Grubb (Campbell 75’), Brown, Gunning (Digby 57’), Pearce (James 57’), Ogunleye

Image: Pro Sports Images/Shane Healey