FOREST Green will be looking for some Christmas cheer when they welcome Skrill Premier rivals Aldershot Town to the New Lawn on Boxing Day, kick-off 3pm, writes Richard Joyce.
There were no early Christmas presents on offer for Forest Green at FC Halifax on Saturday as Ady Pennock’s side failed to score for the third consecutive match IN A 1-0 defeat.
Marc Roberts’ first half header proved to be the difference between the two sides as for a second Saturday running Rovers ended the afternoon with ten men.
Paul Green’s late tackle in the second half was deemed a red card offence by referee Ross Joyce, as despite coming close with several efforts in the second half, including a James Norwood header that hit the woodwork, Rovers failed to hit the back of the net once again.
On what was the club’s first visit to The Shay for five years,Pennock elected to install Aarran Racine in his team’s back line, while Danny Wright was restored to the attack following his red card last weekend at Chorley.
A confident Rovers start saw the visitors dominate possession against a team who have lost just once at home in the league all season.
But little was produced and it was in fact Paul Marshall’s well struck drive midway through the half that marked the games first major opening.
Minutes later, and having offered little themselves, the hosts had their lead as Roberts rose highest above all in the box to nod in Adam Smith’s corner.
Once again there was a lack of pressure on Matt Glennon’s Halifax goal in what remained of the first half, but Rovers erupted in the second half all guns blazing, and fired a series of chances off on goal.
Firstly Anthony Barry saw his fierce strike turned away by Glennon. And from the subsequent corner Norwood struck the crossbar with a header from Marcus Kelly’s excellent delivery, and the forward then saw his follow up strike palmed wide by the hosts’ shot-stopper.
Rovers’ early second half pressure continued, but Halifax weathered the storm, and were handed a major advantage on 65 minutes when Green saw red.
The central midfielder’s late lunge on the on-rushing Dan Gardener caught the attacker badly. Although whether it ticked all of the boxes worthy of a straight red were questionable.
Nevertheless, Green was given his marching orders, as Forest Green picked up their seventh red card of the season.
Barry’s free kick was blasted just over the crossbar shortly after, while Norwood had another terrific opportunity to level for Rovers, but he was foiled by Glennon after the forward had got in behind the hosts defence.
Reece Styche and James Alabi were thrown on late into the fray to try and help salvage a point, but it was too little too late as Halifax inched nearer to the play-offs while Rovers slipped back into the bottom half.
Forest Green: S. Russell; J. Hodgkiss, A. Racine, D. Bennett, E. Asafu-Adjaye; P. Green, A. Barry, M. Kelly; M. Barnes-Homer (M. Taylor 70), D. Wright (R. Styche 83), J. Norwood (J. Alabi 84).
Subs not used: E. Oshodi, A. McHugh.
Rovers travel to Hereford United on Saturday, kick-off, 7.45pm.