BISHOP'S CLEEVE... 0
FOREST GREEN....... 4
By Richard Joyce
A LATE flurry of second half goals handed Forest Green a first pre-season success against Southern League side Bishop’s Cleeve at Kayte Lane.
Only 24 hours before Rovers had suffered a narrow defeat against Championship side Birmingham City at The New Lawn.
But with the new Conference Premier season less than a month away, boss Ady Pennock continued his team’s vital preparations by taking a full squad to a Cleeve side in action for the first time this season.
Luke Rodgers first half strike was all Rovers had to show for a dominant first half.
However an emphatic finish sealed a convincing win as a brace from James Norwood plus a late strike from Rob Sinclair in the final quarter of an hour rounded the evening off positively.
With a four division gap between the two sides, Forest Green were understandably dominant from the off and Danny Wright was the first to try his luck with a header that went wide.
Elliott Frear had a go from distance while Rodgers and Kurtis Guthrie were both denied by two excellent stops from former Cheltenham Town goalkeeper Steve Benbow.
Forest Green finally found a breakthrough on the half hour mark when Rodgers powered home after Wright had set him up nicely with a knock down.
And the former New York Red Bulls forward should have doubled both his team and personal tally shortly before the break but he guided a cross into the box wide of the goal.
There were a flood of changes at the break but despite the introduction of fresh legs, the home side made an impact in the opening minutes of the second half.
Paul White made a good stop to stop Harlie Price from finding the back of the net while former Shortwood and Brimscombe & Thrupp striker Joe Tustain saw his deflected long range strike smash the woodwork.
Cleeve’s replacement goalkeeper Gavin Jones was forced to make two solid stops to deny Sinclair and Magno Vieira.
However he couldn’t stop Norwood from collecting his first goal of the evening from the penalty spot after Marcus Kelly had been fouled.
And the England C attacker found the back of the net from the penalty spot again after he had been taken down to make it three.
Sinclair added the final goal just two minutes from the end with Cleeve legs tiring to hand Rovers their first pre-season win ahead of Saturday’s visit to Shortwood.
FGR: P White, D Pipe, S Bevan, A Baldwin, D Bennett, A Bangura, S Wedgbury, K Guthrie, E Frear, D Wright, L Rodgers, L McGrory, K Forbes, E Oshodi, C Pirie, J Jennings, R Sinclair, M Kelly, J Norwood, C Kamdjo, M Vieira
BISHOP’S CLEEVE: S Benbow, N Jones, N Rhodes, R Joynes, J Lock, M Oliver, D Gittings, C Hopkins, S McKeon, J Tustain, C Griffiths, G Jones, W Pugh, M Liddiard, M Sholly, H Price, E Major, D Chick, J Pickup