Noah Dougherty
Tuesday 22 October 2019

Forest Green Rovers were victorious for the first time in nine visits to the Globe Arena, as they beat Morecambe 2-0.

Second-half goals from Jack Aitchison and Liam Shephard proved the difference as Rovers moved within two points of first-placed Crewe Alexandra, the Alex paying a visit to The New Lawn this weekend.

Head coach Mark Cooper opted to make three changes to his starting line-up, with the game just three days after the home draw with Mansfield Town.

Elliott Frear was handed his first start since re-signing, replacing Aaron Collins, who had an ankle niggle, while Joe Wollacott and James Morton both came in to replace the rested Lewis Thomas and Jack Aitchison.

Forest Green started quickly, but it was the hosts who had the first chance as the game became scrappy.

Lewis Alessandra nipped in to intercept Dom Bernard’s headed backpass, but Liam Kitching was on hand to clear the striker’s trickling shot off the line, with Wollacott beaten.

Shephard wasn’t far off carving out an opportunity for Matty Stevens with 21 minutes on the clock, his smart through ball sliding just out of reach of the striker.

With 19 minutes on the clock, the hosts went close to opening the scoring, Cole Stockton firing a dangerous half-volley wide of the far post.

Frear, having carried the ball across the full width of the pitch, found himself with an opportunity to shoot, but his effort took a deflection and flashed wide.

Proving a threat down the right, Shephard created two chances in quick succession as the 40-minute mark.

The first, a cross from the right which looked destined for Ebou Adams’ head, was well headed away, before the ball made its way back out to the Welshman who’s second ball was even better.

This time it looked like the Adams, the Gambian international, was on hand to slot home, but Sam Lavelle slid in to poke the ball behind for a corner.

With Rovers on top in the latter stages of the half, Adams went close again, as he demonstrated his athletic prowess to climb highest in the area to nod just over from a Joseph Mills corner.

Just before the hour mark, Stevens was convinced he’d won a penalty, the striker turning Steven Old in the area before pushed to the ground. The referee waved his claims away. 

Joseph Mills dribbles the ball away vs Morecambe

Stevens was a whisker away from prodding Rovers into the lead with 70 minutes on the clock, as substitute Collins worked the ball down the line to Shephard, the Welshman’s vicious cross flashing just in front of the sliding striker.

Collins could have been the hero against the against his old side, the striker drilling a low shot against a sliding defender.

Rovers’ dominance finally payed off with a quarter of an hour to play, the Nailsworth side taking the lead though a brilliant move.

Kitching’s ball down the left found Mills, whose touch was perfect, he played a clever one-two with Collins before cutting the ball back to Aitchison in the area.

The youngster showed composure beyond his years to control the ball, beat a man, and slot into the bottom corner via a slight deflection.

The hosts had a brilliant chance to level things up with mere minutes to go, as a ball in from the left was half cleared by Mills into the path of Steven Old, who fires over the bar from the edge of the six-yard box.

Morecambe’s night got worse with two minutes to play, as Lewis Alessandra was given his marching orders for a yellow-card challenge on Shephard, the forward having already been booked for a late tackle on Carl Winchester.

Shephard put the game beyond all doubt as he received a lay-off from Stevens to fire home across goal in trademark fashion with 94 minutes on the clock.

Morecambe XI: Roche, Conlan, Kenyon (Miller 80’), Old, O’Sullivan, Alessandra, Stockton, Ellison, Brewitt (Wildig 69’), Lavelle, Tanner

Unused subs: Halstead (GK),Sutton, Howard, Mendes-Gomes

Forest Green XI: Wollacott, Bernard, Rawson, Kitching, J Mills, Morton (Collins 64’), Adams, Winchester, Shephard, Stevens, Frear (Aitchison 64’)

Unused subs: Thomas, Mondal, Taylor, Allen, McCoulsky

Referee: Matthew Donohue

Attendance: 1,658 (63 away)

Man of the match: Liam Kitching