Green Light: Our resident expert talks Forest Green

John Light

John Light

First published in Sport by

YES there are 45 more matches to look forward to. No a home draw is not a disaster. Thus spoke the voices of moderation. I prefer reality.

The two points lost in the Cambridge match have gone forever. Margins will be tight at the end of the season.

These two points could be crucial. For the first half an hour Rovers were woeful. It took a Cambridge goal to produce some signs of flowing football. Until then the home display was nervous and disjointed. It did get better.

Rovers dominated possession but could not make it count. James Norwood was always a threat, but this was down to individual ability, rather than teamwork, although his goal worthy header came from the team’s best move.

Half-time changes were needed, but only one was made. Our passing game had been poor, with too many high balls hoofed aimlessly forward.

James Rowe was brought on to improve matters and he did, but there was no cutting edge. Reece Styche would have been my choice to start the second half. His ultimate appearance was far too late.

There were some good points. The effort of the team could not be faulted and Collins played well in the centre of defence. However old faults remain. There was no threat from corners.

Two were wretched – one was drastically over hit and one attempt at a short corner was shamefully botched. These are matters for the training ground, as is another long-standing problem, the inability to defend free-kicks.

Yet again this resulted in an opposition goal. Although our defence was generally adequate it became obvious how much we missed full-backs Hodgkiiss and Stokes.

They are an integral part of the FGR system. In addition to their defensive duties they move forward augmenting mid field and supporting the forwards.

They add so much to the teams passing game. Without these two our wingers were isolated, and with the willing Taylor being well held by the excellent Cambridge central defenders, our attacking options were limited.

It is the full -back injuries that concern me most. We know of Jared’s problems, but the situation concerning Chris Stokes is worrying, being difficult to diagnose. Perhaps rest will help.

My biggest disappointment however was not playing related. It was us the crowd. Whereas our players fought back and earned a point, we were over whelmed by Cambridge.

Exclude the Rockwool from these remarks because although not great in number they constantly encouraged the team. The same could not be said of the stand. I have been to more cheerful funerals.

Players respond to encouragement – and on Saturday I heard little of that, while carping criticism abounded. It is too soon in the season for that. Numbers were lamentably low – only 800 home supporters, Cambridge brought over 300, and brought them a long way.

They did not use holidays or Olympics as excuses. I know of the efforts so many are making to increase the FGR following and would like to offer a suggestion.

On match days have a stall at Stroud Farmers’ Market? Make promotional ticket offers – sell club merchandise – spread the word. I would willingly do a stint there.

The great and the good, the high and the low climb up Cornhill in their numbers on Saturday. Ecotricity offices are nearby, so tables etc should be no problem. Is it worth trying? On a personal note it was delightful to be back in the press area again.

Ballistic Bob Hunt always such good value seems slimmer and trimmer. Head prefect Richard Joyce keeps us all in order and Peter Orchard has the gravitas of an elder statesman. This week Jared was a welcome addition. Informative, good company and prepared to listen, as well as contribute he is just the person who should be captain of our football club. In the interests of accuracy I must mention the trousers worn by SNJ Ash. They were green – almost as bright as the home teams shirts. He looked like a performer from Giffords Circus.

I would have told him so but the pre-match music was rather loud. Now for Telford and Gateshead – two games last season in which we were wretched. We can do better can’t we?

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