Forest Green Rovers 1
Bristol Rovers 1
Rovers returned home with hard earned point from their game this afternoon and can consider themselves unfortunate not to have taken all three.
Once again there were encouraging signs that this team is growing into the season and the performance today was another improvement on Saturday’s showing against AFC Telford United.
Leading through an Andy Monkhouse goal scored in the 56th minute, Rovers were pegged back when Jon Parkin scored a fortuitous equaliser 12 minutes later.
Whilst it was an excellent team performance, Rovers really controlled the game in midfield where Clarke and Mansell, in particular, excelled.
Manager Darrell Clarke had the luxury of naming an unchanged team for this afternoon’s fixture.
There was just one change on the bench, where Stuart Sinclair was included at the expense of Daniel Leadbitter.
Danny Coles and David Pipe faced their former team this afternoon, as did Sinclair’s brother Rob.
Rovers were awarded an early free kick and Lee Mansell went close with a curling effort that Sam Russell touched behind for the game’s first corner.
At the other end a glancing header from Lee Hughes was comfortably cleared by Rovers.
With Rovers controlling the midfield chances for the home side were few and far between for the home side.
Dave Martin tried his luck with a long range effort that drifted wide of the target, while Ollie Clarke, no doubt buoyed by his goal on Saturday, saw his shot blocked at the expense of a corner.
Mansell went close again when his looping header from Lee Brown’s cross landed on top of the net and Brown blazed an ambitious effort wide of goal.
There was some delightful one touch football played down the left by Rovers some six minutes from the half time whistle, and MattyTaylor managed to get the ball in the net once the ball was played into the area.
Unfortunately, he had strayed into an offside position and his effort was disallowed.
Another Taylor effort was deflected behind but the home side had the final chance of the half when Sinclair’s attempted header to the back post just cleared the crossbar.
After controlling the opening second half exchanges Rovers took the lead when Monkhouse headed past Russell from Lee Brown’s cross.
Ten minutes later Taylor was unfortunate not to double the lead, but his powerful header from a Monkhouse cross produced an excellent reaction save from Russell.
However the home side equalised when Rovers didn’t really deal with a cross from the left. It was played back in after Steve Mildenhall had palmed away the initial ball in and the keeper was beaten by a deflected
shot that went in off of Parkin.
Lee Hughes and Coles then had chances to score again for Forest Green and Mildenhall made a superb save from Marcus Kelly’s free kick.
There were late chances for Rovers, but Brown’s free kick was just wide of the upright and Trotman’s header just cleared the crossbar.
Rovers: Steve Mildenhall, Tom Lockyer, Tom Parkes, Neal Trotman, Lee Brown, Andy Monkhouse, Ollie Clarke, Lee Mansell, Dave Martin (Stuart Sinclair, 78), Adam Cunnington (Ellis Harrison, 49), Matty Taylor (Jamie White, 84)
Substitutes: Jake Gosling, Will Puddy.
Yellow Cards: Lockyer, Trotman
Forest Green: Sam Russell, David Pipe, Chris Stokes, Luke Oliver, Sam Wedgbury, Lee Hughes (Luke Rodgers, 81), Clovis Kamdjo, Elliott Frear (Marcus Kelly, 59), Robert Sinclair (James Norwood, 59), Jon Parkin, Danny Coles.
Substitutes: Steve Arnold, Eddie Oshodi
Yellow Cards: Stokes, Oliver, Wedgbury