WHAT a wonderful result against Dartford in the FA Trophy replay last week!
The game itself was far from a classic, but seeing FGR win a cup-tie was a joy in itself.
Those of us who remember the wretched results against lower league Gainsborough Trinity and Bishops Stortford (and that must be most of us!) are both relieved and delighted.
Those words sum up my Forest Green mood and private conversations with manager Ady and a respected senior player reinforce these feelings. I found our new supremo honest, realistic, shrewd and open in what he said, without being irresponsible.
All who heard him at the fine fans forum will I am sure agree.
Able to appreciate the fine Forest Green set up Ady has I am sure views of how to get us promoted from the Conference and how to move on when we are in the football league.
In his personal career he has been there and done it. How wonderful if he could take us on a similar journey. Results are needed to keep us moving forward and I think they will be forthcoming. The evidence points that way.
So does the attitude of the team. In my post match player conversation I heard these words, “He sends us out to play in a way that allows us freedom on the pitch. We can think for ourselves”.
Apparently the previous manager wanted to control everything. That must have put pressure on the players collectively and individually.
I am not criticising their efforts earlier in the season. Instead I am noting the extra exuberance and zeal the players are now showing.
It is those qualities that enable teams to win close matches, especially cup-ties.
Tuesday showed that. A makeshift midfield could have been a real reason for us losing the game. Kieron Forbes, ill in the morning, could have recovered and a place was left open for him.
He failed to make it and with Green and Kelly not fully fit and Bangura not selected as part of the management of a long standing knee condition (another example of managerial honesty) a midfield three of Barry, Klukowski and Norwood selected.
Playing in what looked a 4-3-1-2 formation I feared the worst. Both defensive midfielders (Green and Bangura) were not on the pitch. Surely we would be vulnerable.
I need not have worried. Barry was quietly responsible, Yan was as always 100 per-cent and in a most unlikely role of left-sided midfield James Norwood ran and ran, always looking to break forward.
Not a great tackler James but behind him was Eddie A-A, tackling superbly and growing in stature as the game went on.
There were some good performances in the back four and playing behind them was in-form Sam Russell. He punched more than usual but did so very effectively.
Playing just behind the front two of Wright and Alabi, was Mathew Barnes-Homer. He gave his best display at The New Lawn, scoring a fine goal, making me forget how cold it was.
No – not the best of games, but the best of results. I am off to Chorley for the next round. This could be our Trophy year. I do not wish to miss a match.
Looking at Saturday’s matches several strong Conference sides are paired together and therefore half will be knocked out.
The road to the final could be clear of serious obstacles, but I am becoming wise enough to know anything can happen!
I enjoyed my pre and post match visits to the Carol Embrey suite. The atmosphere was so different. Welcome familiar faces were returning, quiet optimism was now prevailing. Is there a better place for a pre match drink and chat?
Regrettably there were inevitably mentions of the match fixing stories being unveiled in the press.
A common theme among fans that the FA had been too inactive. Nothing I have read reassures me of their actions past or present.
Those of us who remember the game at Grays (2009) that caused an investigation remembered the astonishing penalty conceded by Grays to make sure Rovers were ahead at half time as the ‘match script’ demanded. “No evidence” said the FA. They should have seen that penalty!
Back to the present, I have heard the question asked was Dave Hockaday an unlucky manager and is our current boss a lucky one?
The question is not a valid one. By your on field approach and attitude you make your own luck, and that is exactly what we are now seeing. Good luck Ady and than