Sky Bet League Two

Forest Green Rovers 0

Stevenage 0

STRUGGLING Stevenage picked up a useful point at high-flying Forest Green who had Bournemouth loanne Kyle Taylor sent off four minutes from the end.

Rovers made it back-to-back scoreless draws and hand goalkeeper Lewis Thomas to thank for their fourth consecutive clean sheet.

Fit again Liam Shephard was handed his first full start of the season, with Udoka Godwin-Malife dropping to the bench. Bristol City loanee James Morton, red-carded against Carlisle last time out, served his suspension with Junior Mondal handed an opportunity from the get-go.

Kevin Dawson (calf) missed out, but Aaron Collins returned to the squad.

Stevenage, who named former England women’s boss Mark Sampson as caretaker manager following the sacking of Dino Maamria, included former Forest Green duo Kurtis Guthrie and Chris Stokes.

Searching for their first win of the season, Stevenage hit the straps inside two minutes – Luther James-Wildin arrowed a ball across the box for Jason Cowley to flick the ball towards the bottom corner, but the alert Lewis Thomas struck out a long lever to touch the ball wide.

Pre-match, boss Cooper billed this as a must-win game to keep his side in the early-season promotion mix, and Rovers tried to live up to this – Junior Mondal fizzing into Paul Farman’s gloves from the edge of the box.

Guthrie saw yellow against his old club on 19 minutes – crudely catching Farrend Rawson in mid-flight.

The game meandered on, missing any semblance of cohesion. Stevenage’s Ben Kennedy arrowed a free-kick wide on 33 minutes after Mondal had handled on the edge of the box.

Stevenage looked the more threatening in a tepid first period.

Guthrie forced Thomas into a decent low save with 35 minutes gone. Guthrie was at it again – spinning and fizzing a strike in which Thomas did well to pounce on.

Clearly irked by a lacklustre first-half ,Cooper ushered Nathan McGinley and Ebou Adams on for Farrend Rawson and Shephard.

Bookings for Taylor Allen and Liam Kitching greeted the second-half and one for Stevenage’s Michael Timlin in a niggly opening eight minutes of the second period.

Rovers had Liam Kitching to thank for a clearance off the line on 51 minutes – the former Leeds United defender stuck out a leg to clear a towering Charlie Carter header off the line and from the corner, the Rovers’ keeper showed sharp reflexes to block Guthrie’s point-blank stab.

Cooper played his final card on 71 minutes – Dayle Grubb coming on for Mondal.

Rovers huffed and puffed and they were stung on 86 minutes when Kyle Taylor received a second yellow for a foul on Michael Timlin.

Forest Green Rovers: Thomas, Bernard, Shephard (Adams 45), Kitching, Rawson ( McGinley 45), J Mills, Winchester, Taylor, Mondal (Grubb 71), Aitchison, Stevens

Subs not used: Wollacott, Allen, Collins, Godwin-Malife

Bookings: Taylor 47, Kitching 51, McGinley 85

Red card: Taylor 86

Star Man: Lewis Thomas

Stevenage: Farman, James-Wildin, Stokes, Cuthbert, Cowley (Newton 79), Kennedy, Iontoon (Watts 71), Denton (Husin 79), Timlin

Subs not used: Bastien, El-Abd, List, Mackail-Smith

Bookings: Guthrie 19,Timlin 52, Watts 93

Attendance: 1,881

Stevenage fans: 110

Referee: Darren Drysdale

Next up: Forest Green travel to Salford on Saturday, September 28, (3pm).