Matt double sinks Rovers

Nov 28, 2021 | Match Reports, News

The Gas were defeated by the League Two leaders after a Jamille Matt double in a game which saw the hosts go down to 10-men.

Rovers made two changes for the visit to Forest Green. Brett Pitman and Harry Anderson were the players to come into the starting XI with Sam Nicholson missing out and Aaron Collins dropping to the substitute’s bench.

The game’s first real chance fell to the hosts. After Josh Grant attempted to win the ball from Nicky Cadden with a sliding challenge, the attacker squirmed away from the Rovers defender and had his sight on goal but he was only able to fire his effort over Belshaw’s goal.

The league leaders were causing danger in the Rovers box again minutes later. Cadden crossed the ball into the front post where Matty Stevens’ half volley was well saved by the legs of Belshaw.

The host’s early pressure in the game paid off in the 20th minute. Forest Green captain, Jamille Matt was played through on goal and was able to slot his low-effort through Belshaw’s legs and into the net.

Forest Green pushed for a second and very nearly unlocked the Rovers’ backline again. Stevens came close to adding to his earlier goal just before the half-hour mark. A cross sent in by Ben Stevenson found the head of the forward whose effort cannoned off the crossbar and out for a Rovers goal kick. 

Rovers almost found their way back into the game through Connor Taylor. Antony Evans’ corner kick found the centre-half whose efforts were twice beaten away by Luke McGee in the Forest Green goal.

As the half went on, Rovers pushed for an equaliser and looked to have a great chance to level the game through Evans who bore down on goal appearing to have beaten the Forest Green defenders only for Baily Cargill to put in a last-ditch challenge to deny the Rovers forward.

Rovers began the second half pushing got the equaliser. Paul Coutts and Nick Anderton had efforts blocked quickly after each other as the Gas looked to put the home side under pressure. 

The hosts were reduced to 10 men shortly after the hour mark. Coutts sent a lofted pass over the FGR backline which Anderton latched onto forcing Udoka Godwin-Malife to bring the Rovers full-back to the ground as he raced into an attacking position and receive his marching orders from Referee, Simon Mather. 

Forest Green came close to doubling their lead after a corner kick routine found the head of the substitute, Dan Sweeney who couldn’t keep his effort on target. Jack Aitchison also came close to adding to the host’s lead. Cadden played the ball across the goalmouth to find Aitchison who first-time shot was saved brilliantly by Belshaw.

Rovers made two substitutes to mix things up going into the last 20 minutes of the match. Former Forest Green Rovers player, Aaron Collins and Luke Thomas entered the fray as Joey Barton’s side looked for a route back into the game.

FGR doubled their lead in the 78th minute through a Jamille Matt spot-kick. Evans was adjudged to have handled the ball while attempting to block a long-range effort. Matt made no mistake from the penalty spot and smashed the ball down the middle of the goal past Belshaw.

Evans came close to pulling one back for Rovers in the final minutes of regulation time. Evans’ firm effort was parried away by McGee. Forest Green Rovers were able to see the game out and come away from the New Lawn with all three points.

Rovers face Sutton United in the Second Round of the Emirates FA Cup on Saturday, 4th December at the Mem. (3pm KO)

Forest Green Rovers: Luke McGee, Dom Bernard, Baily Cargill, Ben Stevenson, Ebou Adams, Matty Stevens (66′), Jack Aitchinson, Nicky Cadden, Jamille Matt (C), Jordon Moore-Taylor, Udoka Godwin-Malife.

Subs: Lewis Thomas, Dan Sweeney (66′), Jack Evans, Jake Young, Regan Hendry, Sadou Diallo, Josh March.

Rovers: James Belshaw, Josh Grant, Sam Finley, Paul Coutts (C), Nick Anderton, Connor Taylor, Harry Anderson (74′), Antony Evans, Cian Harries, Glenn Whelan (71′), Brett Pitman.

Subs: Jed Ward, Luke Thomas (74′), Zain Westbrooke, Aaron Collins (71′), Pablo Martinez, Trevor Clarke, Sion Spence.

Attendance: 4,128 (1,228 away) 

Referee: Simon Mather