Noah Dougherty
Tuesday 20 October 2020

Forest Green Rovers fell to a first defeat of the League Two season, as an early Colchester United goal proved the difference.

Noah Chilvers headed Steve Ball’s men into the lead after 73 seconds, and despite a gargantuan second-half effort, Rovers simply couldn’t find a way through.

Mark Cooper made a further three changes to the side that beat Stevenage last on Saturday, as Dom Bernard, Carl Winchester and loanee Odin Bailey replaced Aaron Collins, Jake Young and Jayden Richardson.

It took less than two minutes for the hosts to get their noses in front, Chilvers darting in to space in the area to nod home a deft cross from the right.

Shortly before the 15-minute mark, Rovers had two fantastic chances to draw level.

Scott Wagstaff’s cross from the left was inch-perfect, but Bailey couldn’t keep his header down and it bounced back off the face of the crossbar. From the resulting loose ball, Ebou Adams made space on the edge of the area, but dragged his effort inches wide of the far post.

Winchester, on his return from injury, almost levelled the scores after 25 minutes as he let fly from range, but his effort flashed narrowly wide of the right-hand upright.

With chances few and far between, Bailey was next to try his luck for the away side, but couldn’t keep the shot down after Matt teed him up on the edge of the area.

The half-time introduction of Josh March down the left looked to add a spark for Rovers, and the former-Leamington striker almost muscled his way onto the end of Wagstaff’s cross after 49 minutes, but he was crowded out and couldn’t win the header.

Matt looked to have found the all-important goal shortly after the hour mark, but his header from March’s delicious cross, but Dean Gerken did well to sort out his hands and parry the ball away.

Off the bench, Aaron Collins turned wide of the near post after 72 minutes, the forward unable to turn home Udoka Godwin-Malife’s cut-back.

Rovers continued to pile on the pressure, hardly allowing the hosts passed the halfway line, and it looked like Jake Young had become the hero again, but his effort flashed inches wide on the angle with a minute of normal time to play.

The seize by Mark Cooper’s men continued deep into stoppage time, but all 11 FGR players in the area couldn’t find the crucial chance.

Fervent appeals from the Rovers players and bench deep into stoppage time caught the referee’s attention, but he waved them away, blowing full time with March still in a heap on the floor.

Referee: Carl Brook

Forest Green XI: McGee, Bernard (March 46’), Stokes, Winchester (c), Adams, Matt, Bailey, Whitehouse (Collins 57’), Wagstaff (Young 73’), Godwin-Malife

Unused subs: Thomas, Evans, McCoulsky, Richardson

Colchester XI: Gerken, Welch-Hayes, Bramall, Smith, Pell, Brown (Bohui 77’), Harriott, Chilvers, Eastman, Poku (Norris 74’), Gambin (Sowumni 86’)

Unused subs: George, Senior, Scarlett, Marshall Miranda

Man of the Match: