SNJ columnist John Light talks about all things Forest Green
THE New Lawn was the place to be on Saturday.
It was the best game of the season so far. Two very good teams gave a stunning display – either could have won, but neither deserved to lose.
Wrexham were initially on top, but Rovers stood firm and grew in confidence. After half an hour they were playing sweet attacking football and a previously quiet crowd responded. Silent since the kick-off all were now in full voice.
Styche and Norwood were running at the heart of the defence, looking dangerous every time they had the ball, but everyone played a part. This was essentially a team performance; moreover a team that grew in stature as the game progressed.
Their increased confidence showed them and us they are as good as the best in a very good league. It was a learning performance not just for the team, but any doubters among us.
Picking man- of- the match was difficult, the effervescent James Norwood just shading it for me.
Perhaps Reece may have been chosen, but for a wretched injury.
Starting again in the front three he gave a wholehearted display and was always dangerous. He has speed, can beat a man and is a wholehearted player.
Playing him in every match must be an easy decision to make after this display. Fine refereeing was the order of the day. Allowing the game to flow, but having a word when necessary, Mr Horwood gave a mature display.
Talking to either captain and linking well with his assistants he played a large part in making the game so enjoyable.
Wrexham claimed a goal when Sam Russell made a Gordon Banks type save from a dangerous header. I must admit I looked straight towards the linesman but he kept his flag down. From the reasonably positioned press box I thought it was the correct decision.
The game ended with both teams going all out for a win. There was no time wasting and no fielding in the corners. We all got full-value. Both sets of spectators, properly noisy, and also well behaved throughout were properly appreciative. It wasn’t just the players who were on top form. When Reece was stretchered off I heard applause rather than jeers.
Arriving early gave me the chance to look in the Green Man. It was buzzing for all the right reasons (beer, food, football and rugby on TV). Wrexham fans were both pleased and appreciative.
One had just told me "this is the back of beyond".
There was so much that afternoon that would have opened his eyes.
Mine were when I reached the Carol Embrey Suite.
I encountered food critic Jay Rayner and his One Show TV crew. Jay, also of Master Chef and The Observer were doing a feature on vegetarian food.
All he saw must have impressed him, because caterers Relish had done us proud.
Coffee and cake were stupendous, but so many items looked equally good.
Rayner and his team were involved in one of the best moments of the day. The lady steward who is responsible for the area in front of the press box looked especially fetching in a warm white hat.
She encountered the TV visitors walking slowly along the touchline. The match was in progress and not only were they blocking the view they were in a dangerous position.
Calmly this was pointed out to them. Rayner can be waspish on TV but he and his colleagues responded in a polite fashion.
A conversation with Chairman Dale after the match showed him to be quietly proud (is he every noisy?). He had so many reasons for being exactly that. The afternoon had been truly joyous.
All of us should join him, being quietly proud of our club – until five minutes before each kick-off. That is the time for 90 plus minutes of noisy pride.
Everyone deserves it!