JUST IN: The Green Light with FGR fan John Light
WE can still dream! A vigorous, determined display at Chorley means a very winnable replay at The New Lawn tomorrow night, Tuesday.
Trophy glory is still a realistic prospect. Those of us who saw the game were both heartened and reassured by the whole-hearted efforts of all the players.
Missed chances cost us victory but at no time did heads drop. The game was in no way a classic but was always interesting. Credit to both teams for fighting hard in conditions that worsened rapidly.
Chorley were spirited opposition. They worked hard, harrying, chasing and challenging at every opportunity. Despite their aggressive approach only seven free- kicks were given against them. They showed that you do not have to foul to play with total commitment.
If Rovers made a mistake it was in forsaking a passing game and matching Chorley in hoofing the ball high. Rovers were the clear masters with the ball on the ground but it so seldom was and with a vertically challenged midfield too many aerial battles were lost. If Rovers can impose their style or at least maintain it, the replay should result in victory.
Lining up in a 4-4-2 formation with James Norwood as an attacking member of the midfield – playing basically as a deep lying right-winger, Rovers realised they were in for a tough task. Chorley were a well-drilled side, each player knowing his task in a well organized 4-3-3 formation.
Their main fault was the final pass or cross. In this respect they were very poor. Their centre-forward James Dean deserved better service. He was quick, mobile and took up splendid positions, making it easy for his teammates to give him the ball.
All Rovers’ back four played well and against Dean they needed to. He has a fine future.
There was one special moment at the end. Our manager gave Dean a huge hug at the end, showing proper appreciation of a fine performance. That is what true football people do – give credit where it is due, whatever the result.
A true football person is certainly what our manager is and on all the evidence so far our players respect that and are certainly playing for him. Anyone who thinks they are not was not at Chorley on Saturday.
James Norwood symbolised the efforts of the whole team. While defending, James won the ball in a fine tackle and raced with it some 80 yards. His firm shot swerved wide of the goal. It would have been a thrilling and deserved winner.
The whole day was enjoyable. Coach supremo Sam Reid was in fine form, but even higher marks to his wife Tracey. Thanks to her we enjoyed mulled wine and mince pies. Supporters club coach trips are always enjoyable, this one especially so.
The day represented all that is good in non-league football where so many volunteers are the life blood of the game. The current betting, spot betting and match fixing allegations are an insult to so many genuine people. Rigorous action is needed to root it out. There should be no sympathy for those found guilty.
Back to the replay, which I am sure both teams could do without. Without Danny Wright and Yan Klukowski changes will be necessary. I have no problem with the second booking Danny received, but am mystified by the first. He was very unlucky. Yan pulled up with a thigh injury. He left the pitch in some discomfort and will be much missed. Perhaps we shall see Matty Taylor and Kieron Forbes playing. The former could cause problems to the Chorley defenders if the ball is kept on the ground.
Sensible substitutions were made on Saturday with the incisive Al Bangura and latterly Aaron Racine making an appearance. Aaron gave needed extra aerial cover while Al is always an asset.
He can anticipate trouble and tackle so well. Marcus Kelly was substituted just after receiving a surprising booking. With a referee who has plenty of red card form this was a strategic move. The draw for the next round is mentioned elsewhere in the paper. The road to Wembley is getting shorter. I end where I started – dreaming!
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