Vanarama Conference

Forest Green 1

Altrincham 1

FUMING Forest Green boss Ady Pennock agreed the fans were right to boo his team off after they served up a shocker.

In truth, this draw felt like a defeat, as Rovers once again started brightly, but failed to put a dogged Altrincham to the sword.

Pennock even jokingly invited one frustrated fan to join him in the dugout just before the break as Rovers huffed and puffed.

Pennock said: “I totally understand the frustration of the supporters and we deserved to get booed off.

“Take the first 25 minutes out of the game and it wasn’t a good performance.”

Big-spending Rovers, with aspirations of League Two, looked way off it against part-time Altrincham, and this fact wasn’t lost on Pennock, who added: “We’re not killing teams off and that will have to change if we want to get the wins we need.”

Earlier, Pennock was forced into three changes following the FC Halifax brawl.

Suspended trio James Norwood, Dale Bennett and Eddie Oshodi were replaced by Luke Oliver, Clovis Kamdjo and returning skipper David Pipe.

Rovers needed a positive start and they got it. Jon Parkin quick throw-in saw the eager Elliott Frear pick out the leggy Kurits Guthrie, who flicked the ball deftly past David Parton for a seventh minute lead.

Rovers remained on the front-foot with Parkin and Pipe trying their luck from distance.

In a rare Altrincham first half attacking foray, the under-employed Sam Russell showed good hands to glove away Gianluca Havern’s strike from outside the box, which clipped off Sam Wedgbury.

Rovers took their foot off the gas and a succession of Altrincham corners saw Simon Richman a whisker away from netting parity on the half- hour mark.

In stoppage time, Rovers flickered into life with Parton doing well to block a Parkin fizzer.

Rovers were caught cold and gifted Alty an early Christmas present just two minutes after the restart. Shaun Densmore tossed in a free-kick for the unmarked Tom Marshall to escape Oliver and volley beyond the helpless Russell.

How the willing Guthrie would have welcomed Premier League technology when he had justifiable claims for a second turned down.

Ragged Rovers continued to soldier on. Pipe’s free-kick was headed on by Oliver for Guthrie's header to  come off the underside of the bar and in, but despite his celebrations the referee adjudged the ball hadn’t crossed the line.

The touch paper was lit. Russell showed quick reactions to smother at the feet of the dangerous Damien Reeves.

Rovers tried to find an answer and Rob Sinclair flashed over from a Parkin assist.

Sub Lee Hughes added some fresh impetus and came close to snatching a victory with five minutes to go. The veteran raced onto a Parkin ball but his attempted lift over the onrushing Parton was high and wide.

Plenty more inept performances like this and the New Lawn outfit will be suffering a long winter of discontent.

Forest Green: Russell; Pipe, Oliver, Coles, Kelly; Sinclair, Kamdjo, Wedgbury, Frear (Hughes 63); Parkin, Guthrie.

Subs not used: Racine, Stokes, McGrory, White.

Star Man: Kurtis Guthrie.

Attendance: 1,261