Stand up if you're FGR

FGR fan John Light

FGR fan John Light

First published in Sport by

LAST night of the Proms, Abide with me at the Cup Final, shouts of Glawster in the Shed - these are special moments of pride, joy and emotion.

Now one more can be added to the list. “Stand up if you’re Forest Green” sang the Rockwool. Four minutes of injury time were left - what would happen? Suddenly we knew. Those seated in the main stand responded as one - not just by standing, but by vigorously applauding.

We were not just applauding a 3 - 0 win. We were applauding so much more, we were top of the league.

In those marvellous minutes we knew! We knew we had a team that could play superb football, could dominate, could win. This was not a flash in the pan performance. This was a top of the table side showing what they can do, but more so - shouting what they will do.

The players knew something too. They need not defend a 1-0l lead, they can go on, entertain and score more goals. They also knew, perhaps for the first time that they had a crowd behind them. It was not just the team that were on top form Friday night, we were as well. It showed!

It had been a good start. Phil Butterworth’s Forest Green Ambassadors (what a splendid initiative that is) accompanied the players on to the pitch; both they and the team looked relaxed and happy.

There was a warm, genuine reception for everyone and manager David Hockaday warmly responded. Making the dug-outs to stand side was a master stroke from DH and DV. It means each game can start on a high. We can all give players and coaching staff a real lift, as was done Friday.

And how well they responded. Throughout the whole game no-one hid. Everyone wanted the ball, everyone used it well, everyone knew their role in the team.

The goals showed this. There was some clever mid field passing organised by Bangura (what a first half he had!) then Al saw the marauding Chris Stokes. A swift pass to the left touchline, Chris to Yan, who set our own “Reynard” and with a fox like finish Matt Taylor scored. The second goal was similar to the Macclesfield winner. A safer Adjaye saw an opportunity down the right, a clever piece of football set him free and an inch perfect cross was met by a flying Taylor, right in front of the roaring Rockwool.

The third goal had been fashioned on the training ground. One near post corner had been tried, but had not worked.

The second did! Taylor moved quickly to met it, flicked it on and Vieira made scoring seem easy. The home bench erupted.

There were other thrilling moves and individual goal attempts, notably an audacious turn and chip by our lively centre forward. Did not someone suggest a few weeks ago he should be on loan at Cirencester? That will surely win the prize for the season’s howler.

Chris Todd is seeking to go on a loan for all the right reasons. Now fit himself he wishes to get match fit in case he is needed in the first team.

His book has been re-launched and is available on Amazon. Well worth a read it records a victory greater than any that can be achieved on the football field. To have someone of his maturity in the squad is a real bonus.

As is Jamie Collins. On Friday evening he did so many necessary things. When Bangura went off he had more defensive duties to perform and did so excellently. Impressive in the air, he played a major part in keeping Lincoln at bay.

It was only in the air that they threatened, three first half corners being met by Lincoln heads. One was an easy save for keeper Russell; the other two were off target.

Lincoln were also off target off the field. Their manager muttered about a Friday night fixture, as did the visiting media before, during and after the game. Did they not realise that every conference club plays at least half a dozen evening matches, many involving considerable journeys?

On my journey home I found a parking spot high up the ‘W’. I looked back; the lights of Nailsworth were shining bright.

Not only the lights I thought. I could see the outline of the main stand and thought of those words written by cousin Laurie (Lee). “If ever I heard blessing it was there”. He was not writing about football, but nonetheless his words were for that special evening, so apt.

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