FOREST Green paid the price for a wretched first half to fall to a second consecutive 2-1 defeat and lose their unbeaten home record in the process, writes Jack Webb.
There were initially signs that Rovers would bounce back from Saturday’s loss at Wrexham when Chris Stokes tested Tony Breedon in the Tamworth goal with a 20 yard strike in the opening exchanges of the first half. Ben Wright drove a shot wide from Matty Taylor’s lay-off before James Norwood had his first sight at goal which he headed into the side-netting from a difficult angle.
On 10 minutes, Taylor’s excellent chest control released Norwood who skipped through challenges, only to slip at the crucial moment and see his shot turned away by Breedon. Jamie Turley headed in from the resulting corner, but his goal was disallowed for hand-ball before the home fans could begin to celebrate.
This early optimism was soon eradicated as the Lambs took the lead through a Stokes own goal. A long-ball caused uncertainty in the Rovers penalty area and the match officials agreed that Stokes’ header had inadvertently crossed the line for an unfortunate own-goal, much to the displeasure of the Rovers faithful.
Rovers failed to respond and it was 2-0 shortly afterwards after a penalty was awarded for a hand-ball in the Rovers penalty area. Adam Cunnington stepped up to continue his fine form in front of goal, reaching double figures in goals for the season from the penalty spot with an assured spot-kick which sent Sam Russell the wrong way.
An uninspiring first half performance continued from then on as Forest Green failed to gain any foothold in the game before half-time and they were fortunate only to be two behind as Lloyd Kerry should have done better from inside the penalty area.
Boss David Hockaday brought on Yan Klukowski and Magno Vieira in an attempt to improve the fortunes of his side and it was a quality free-kick from Klukowski which captain Jamie Collins powerfully headed home to halve the deficit on 59 minutes.
Collins had the opportunity to level the score moments later as Taylor’s powerful shot rebounded to the midfielder who could only blaze over the bar from the edge of the area. Forest Green looked certain to equalize on 76 minutes as Stokes delivered an inviting cross, but his delivery proved inches out of reach for either Vieira or Taylor to convert.
Rovers will perhaps feel unfortunate not to have gained something from the match as a goal-mouth scramble deep into injury-time was somehow cleared thanks to some last-ditch defending from the Lambs. Though, the substandard first-half performance ultimately proved costly for Hockaday’s side.
Rovers will need to improve on this performance in their next outing when they travel to Mansfield Town if they wish to close the five-point gap opened up by Conference leaders Newport County.
Forest Green: S. Russell; E. Asafu-Adjaye, J. Turley, P. Green, C. Stokes; K. Forbes (O. Koroma 79), J. Collins, S. Brogan (M. Vieira 46); J. Norwood, M. Taylor, B. Wright (Y. Klukowski 46).
Subs not used: J. Hodgkiss, A. Racine.
Tamworth: T. Breedon; R. Tait, D. Courtney, T. Marshall, M. Kelly (P. Till 71); L. Kerry, G. Baldock, L. Hendrie (S. Oji 85), G. Taylor; T. Wright, A. Cunnington; Subs not used: C. Gudger, C. Collins, D. Belford.
Star Player: Ed Asafu-Adjaye.