FOREST Green put on a superb attacking showcase to blitz Stockport County in a thrilling clash, writes Richard Joyce.
Four separate goal scorers, albeit with the visitors contributing one of the goals, helped Forest Green to a terrific three points against a Stockport team who have been hot on the road this season.
Jamie Turley’s suspension saw Chris Stokes regain a place in the Rovers back line while Magno Vieira replaced Stephen Brogan in the eleven that had started in Kent just a few days before.
Hectic defending from the visitors cost them dearly early on, and top goal scorer Yan Klukowski took full advantage when just five minutes in he finished coolly past Ian Ormson to put Rovers ahead.
Whilst the visitors’ defence were all over the place in the opening exchanges, the Edgeley Park club possessed a mean attack, and after Sean Newton had crossed from the left, Craig Hobson headed an effort over Sam Russell’s bar.
But it was Stockport’s defensive insecurities that would go on to cost them as on the quarter of an hour mark Klukowski’s dangerous corner was steered in to the back of the net by a Stockport defender.
Jim Gannon’s County side, who have impressed on their travels this season, were at risk of suffering a huge rout when James Norwood got in on the goal scoring action.
Klukowski, involved in all of the games key moments, drove a low cross towards the back post and Norwood was on hand to stick in a comforting third.
Goal- hungry Norwood then tried his luck with a curved shot that fell wide and Matty Taylor’s low 25-yard attempt dragged away from goal.
Then came a mad five minutes at the end of the half. Ormson produced an excellent stop to deny Norwood while moment later Russell was on hand to make a similar save to stop Dan Whitehead from netting one-on-one.
Just seconds later and Norwood tried his luck again, only to fire wide, and Hobson’s fantastic touch set him up for a left footed strike that was dealt with by Russell.
An incredibly entertaining first period continued in to the second with Taylor almost notching early on when Chris Stokes supplied a teasing low cross.
Klukowski then saw his long distance shot saved and header fly over as the busy and impressive Ormson kept out Stokes pile-driver shortly after.
With less than a third of the half to go Stockport struck back, although the goal involved some dubious circumstances.
Klukowski’s given away foul appeared to be outside of the Rovers box and initially referee Brett Huxstable awarded a free kick only for the linesman to overrule the match official’s decision by pointing to the spot.
Former AFC Telford United man Newton ensured Stockport would take a huge opportunity to prepare a late fightback by lashing in from 12 yards out although Rovers had different ideas.
Reece Styche, on as a sub with just minutes to go, broke with outstanding speed and the fans favourite fed Klukowski whose cross found Stokes, bursting from the back.
Stokes driven effort was stopped by Ormson but the County keeper could do nothing when Styche, just a minute after coming on, bundled the ball past the sprawling Stockport defenders to add a conclusive fourth.
Taylor’s left footed shot in stoppage time was the final moment of a entertaining affair where Rovers prowess in front of goal, a factor that was so often against them last season, aided the Green to a magnificent three points in the search for a play- off place.
Boss David Hockaday said: “It’s another great performance and a great result because they (Stockport) are a very dangerous team.
“They are big and strong and good at set plays, and they had been on a good run over the last ten games.
“We deserved to win, although I would have liked to get the fourth goal sooner and I wasn’t happy with the penalty awarded against us.
“Now the league just eases down for a few weeks, when it’s Saturday to Saturday, so games become even more important.
“Lose a game and you’ve got seven days to dwell on it, rather than another game on Tuesday to try and put things right. So it was important we got a positive result.
“We just need to keep on nailing the basics, and when we do that we look a good team.”
Forest Green have invited Hitchin Town and former Stevenage striker Zak Burke to train with them this week.
David Hockaday’s side has been drawn at home to AFC Totton in the first round of the FA Carlsberg Trophy.
Rovers will host the Southern League Premier Division outfit on Saturday, November 24.
Rovers travel to Barrow on Saturday, 3pm