Didcot Town 0

Forest Green 3

JON Parkin fired his first hat-trick in a Forest Green shirt to book Ady Pennock’s side a place in the second round of the FA Trophy, writes Richard Joyce.

The experienced front man entered double figures for the season with an excellent treble against Southern League South & West Division outfit Didcot.

After the Railwaymen had launched a brave comeback at the weekend to earn a replay, it was a professional job well done from Pennock’s charges at the Draycott Engineering Loop Meadow Stadium.

It took only seven minutes for Parkin to guide Rovers into the lead with a fabulous long distance hit.

And he extended the margin of victory with a penalty at the end of the first half and with a smart finish midway through the second period.

Injuries and suspensions again influenced selection although FGR were able to welcome back Dale Bennett after his recent three game ban.

The former Watford defender was utilised however in an unorthodox right midfield position with Marcus Kelly taking up a central role.

Meanwhile in the second half there were two notable substitutions as Aarran Racine made his return following a nine month spell on the side-lines and second year Academy product, Louis McGrory, was handed his senior debut.

In the past Forest Green could be criticised for failing to recognise the threat carried by teams from a lower level in cup competitions like Didcot.

However any concerns based along those lines could be easily ignored near the start, when in as early as the second minute, Parkin almost drove Rovers in front after good work by Elliott Frear.

The striker did find the net five minutes later as he followed up his stunning strike from the weekend with another fabulous long range finish.

His side-footed volley from nearly 40 yards out caught Diddy goalkeeper James Foster off his line as FGR secured an early lead.

The lively Frear forced Foster into a good stop with his feet ten minutes later while Kelly demonstrated terrific technique to force Foster into action again.

Kurtis Guthrie had a brilliant opportunity to double Rovers lead on 23 minutes however he fired wide after he had managed to ease his way past the Didcot back line.

With five minutes left in the half Forest Green did manage to find the back of the net a second time thanks to Parkin’s confident finish from 12 yards.

Frear was bundled over in the box after the hosts struggled to clear a corner and Parkin stepped up to send Foster the wrong way from the spot.

The second half began with Didcot forcing a couple of attempts on the Rovers goal as they looked to make an impact straight after the restart.

Sam Russell did well to get a hand to Pablo Haysham’s low shot after he had originally slipped while John Mills powered over from 20 yards.

Andy Ballard then produced a tremendous volley which only just flew past the post as Parkin put the game to bed only a couple of minutes later with his third.

Great interplay on the left saw Frear feed the ball onto Stokes whose pacey cross was caressed into the back of the net by Parkin for his hat-trick.

Magno Vieira came off the bench and had two great opportunities that were narrowly off target, and Russell ensured he would keep a clean sheet when he kept out Luke Carnell’s header fantastically.

The job was already more than done but there were still two good openings for Forest Green in the remaining four minutes of stoppage time.

Kelly brought a good stop out of Foster with a free kick which looked to be heading for the back of the net while Vieira’s header, from a Frear cross, only just went over the bar.

With their place in the second round of the competition confirmed, Rovers will now await the winners of the postponed tie between Welling United and Ebbsfleet to see who they get in the next round.