Noah Dougherty
Saturday 12 October 2019

Forest Green Rovers slipped to a first defeat in nine as they lost 1-0 at the hands of Exeter City.

Exeter raced into an early lead via the boot of Ryan Bowman and, despite chances, Forest Green couldn’t break them down.

Mark Cooper made two changes to the side that beat Crawley Town last weekend, Udoka Godwin-Malife coming in for the injured Liam Shephard while Farrend Rawson came in for Matt Mills.

The hosts started quickly, bursting out of the blocks and looking to get at Rovers early on. Aaron Martin going close as he powered a header past the top corner of Lewis Thomas’ net.

The early pressure paid off with just 11 minutes gone in the encounter, Jack Sparkes whipping a dangerous ball into the area for Bowman to volley home with his left foot. Thomas got a hand to the effort, but couldn’t do enough to keep it out.

Exeter continued to look dangerous going forward on the break, but Rovers began to grow into the encounter, testing the backline in front of former FGR keeper Jonny Maxted.

Jack Aitchison, who looked a danger throughout the whole first half, was presented with a good opportunity as Udoka Godwin-Malife slipped him in behing, but the striker’s effort was well blocked.

Ebou Adams embarked on one of his trademark drives through the Grecians midfield with 35 minutes on the clock, but he couldn’t find a pass and Aaron Collins was forced to try his luck from range, firing wide.

Midfielder Nicky Law could have carved out a second for the hosts with six minutes of the first half to play. Having picked Dom Bernard’s pocket on the halfway line, Law began running towards goal before deciding to lob Thomas from 40 yards, his eye for the audacious seeing the ball fly over the bar and into the Big Bank behind the goal.

Rovers had chances to equalise after the break, Adams seeing a low shot well saved after fantastic footwork from Liam Kitching set Rovers on the counter, before Collins also tried his luck minutes later.

Rovers best chance of the afternoon fell the way of Collins. Great build-up play from Rovers saw Joseph Mills get in down the left, and his inch-perfect cross was met by the Welshman’s head, only to see Maxted throw himself in the way to make a great stop.

Exeter XI: Maxted, Sweeney, A.Martin, L.Martin, Law, Williams, Bowman, Parkes, Sparkes, Taylor (c), Collins (Atangana 71’)

Unused subs: Visser, Jay, Fisher, Richardson, Moxey, Seymour

Forest Green XI: Thomas (Wollacott 46’), Bernard, Rawson, Winchester, Stevens, Collins, Adams, Kitching, Godwin-Malife, J.Mills (c), Aitchison (Morton 63’)

Unused subs: Allen, Mondal, Taylor, Covil

Referee: Paul Marsden

Man of the match: Liam Kitching

Attendance: 5,312 (446 away)

Next time out: Mansfield Town, Saturday, October 19, The New Lawn