Connor Laing
Saturday 05 October 2019

A Joseph Mills double and a goal from Aaron Collins secured all three points for Forest Green Rovers against Crawley Town at The New Lawn on Saturday.

Crawley goalkeeper Glenn Morris tripped Mills in the area before saving the full-back's penalty, but the captain tucked in the rebound to give Rovers a half-time lead.

Collins scored early on in the second period before Mills added a third from the spot when Ebou Adams was bundled over in the box.

Mason Bloomfield scored a consolation for the away side but they were unable to muster up too much more to trouble FGR for the rest of the game.

Mark Cooper named an unchanged side after Saturday’s 4-0 win at Salford. Farrend Rawson returned to the squad following an injury to make the bench.

The head coach was forced into an early change when Matt Mills picked up a knock after a short scramble around the Rovers area ten minutes in.

Rovers had their first half-chance of the game a couple of minutes later. Some good play in the middle of the pitch created space for Liam Shephard on the right. He cut it back to Jack Aitchison on the edge of the area but he was unable to direct the shot goalward.

The home team did eventually take the lead. Joseph Mills latched onto a loose ball after Matty Stevens had held the ball up well and got there before on-rushing goalkeeper Glenn Morris. He was tripped as he tried to round the Crawley man and the penalty was awarded along with a yellow card. The captain took the penalty he had won but had to settle for converting the rebound after his initial effort was saved by Morris.

An equaliser could have been scored when a ball was driven across the goal by Reece Grego-Cox just before the half-hour mark but no-one in a red shirt was able to get a touch on the ball.

Four minutes later, Jack Aitchison had a great chance at the other to double the lead for the hosts but he was denied by Morris who came out to smother his one-on-one opportunity.

Collins had two opportunities within five minutes left in the half. One was an audacious but accurate attempt from distance which forced Morris into another save. The second, just a minute later, was a much better chance as the ball was played back to his feet in the area but the forward couldn’t keep his shot down as it flew over the bar.

Panutche Camara had a deflected long-range strike go just wide of Lewis Thomas’ left post late on but FGR went into the break a goal to the good.

FGR did eventually extend their lead seven minutes into the second period. Collins was played into the area by Carl Winchester after some well-worked build-up play before calmly slotted the ball into the bottom left corner with the inside of his right foot.

Collins was involved in the set-up for the third goal just a few minutes later. He passed the ball inside to Ebou Adams who was bundled over in the area and the referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot. Mills stepped up again but this time made no mistake with his first attempt, dispatching the ball into the bottom right corner.

Crawley pulled a goal back a couple of minutes later when the ball found its way to Mason Bloomfield in the Rovers area. He calmly finished before rushing to get the ball in an attempt to keep their hopes of a result alive.

Winchester thought that his brilliant long-distance curler was destined to find the top corner and make it four with 20 minutes to play but Morris pulled out an equally good save.

Shephard also saw his shot deflect just over the bar as it landed on the top-netting with just over 10 minutes to play. The full back went close a second time five minutes later as his drive across the goal went just wide of the left post.

Gyliano Van Velzen had his effort saved by Thomas late on but it wasn’t enough to get them back into the match.

 

Forest Green XI: Thomas, Shephard (Morton 89’), Bernard, M.Mills (Rawson 10’), Winchester, Stevens, Collins (Allen 84’), Adams, Kitching, J.Mills (c), Aitchison

Unused subs: Wollacott, McGinley, Mondal, Taylor

Crawley XI: Morris, Doherty, Dallison, Grego-Cox, Ferguson, Bloomfield (Van Velzen 77’), Sesay, Tunnicliffe, Bulman (Nathaniel-George 65’), Camara (Allarkhia 56’), Lubala

Unused subs: Luyambula, Sendles-White, Young, Galach

 

Referee: Peter Wright

Attendance: 2106 (136)

Man of the match: Aaron Collins

Next Up: Coventry City, The New Lawn, Tuesday October 8 (Leasing.com Trophy)