Thursday, September 21, 2023

Forest Green 2 v 1 Grays

Forest Green Rovers 2 v 1 Grays Athletic

Grays have only one thing going for themselves at the moment and that is the fact that there are many other teams that are also in a terrible rut.

Having said that, Grays are the ones sitting second from bottom and it is clear that boss Julian Dicks has got to change things fast.

Maybe, this reporter sees Grays too much but this is not a bad side nor a team that look like relegation fodder but if they continue to have these fatal switch off moments like the 31st minute on tuesday and in the 6th minute today then they will go down.

The first goal was very simple: Paul Stonehouse launches one up field, Anwar Uddin sees Lee Butcher come off his line but he is far too slow and former Blue Sean Rigg sneaks through to score.

The team didn’t panic and started to produce possession football which was very impressive however, although Paolo Vernazza and Daryl Robson retain the teams shape, you just can’t find a moment when they changed the game at most or even made a significant contribution at least.

Grays didn’t panic but were disjointed throughout. In the 10th minute, Glenn Poole split the defence to put Jamie Slabber in but experienced keeper Terry Burton got his foot in to clear.

Rovers showed that they could play measure football as the mercurial Conal Platt orchestrated play from the edge of the box until he slipped the ball into Rigg who just failed to get power behind his shot.

Grays thought they should have had a penalty in the 26th minute as Petar Rnkovic wriggled into space in the area but Mark Preece produced a perfect tackle to dispossess him.

Grays desperately missed Daniel Charge (not on the injury list and yes i forgot to ask) as Rnkovic and Slabber had absolutely no understanding whatsoever. The norwegian thrived on Charge’s pace on tuesday but here had to plough a lonely furrow while a plodding Slabber was short of fitness and ideas.

If it was hair dryers from Julian Dicks at half time, it worked, as Grays got back on terms in the 47th minute when an unmarked Kenny Davis ghosted onto the far post from a Glenn Poole cross to head level.

Davis and Poole played well and have to retain their place.

The game now opened up as Rovers went for the win. The rampaging Rigg earned a free kick on the edge of the box in the 57th but the kick headed straight into the wall. A minute later Gavin Hoyte failed to clear from six yards but Tomi Ameobi couldn’t latch onto the free ball and nor could a host of Rovers players in a goalmouth scramble a few minutes later.

The game was decided in the 72nd minute when Conal Platt’s piercing corner found the head of Mark Preece who close range header found the back of the Grays net.

It is all so simple against Grays; wait for that moment when Uddin and Hoyte play statues and you will get your chance. Braham-Barrett was marginally better but his distribution was still shocking.

You are loathe to suggest change as stability is what everyone craves. Perhaps it is a question of working with the whole squad. If McEvilly and Rigoglioso come back, some class and steel in the centre and a general understanding then things should be fine. There is a good team in there, you can see it in the passing. Time though may not be so patient.

Forest Green Rovers (4-4-2): Burton 7, Ayres 7, Preece 7, Stonehouse 8, Brown 7, Platt 8, Davies 7, Ameob 7i, Rigg 9, Spence 7, Thorne 7

Subs not used: Maxwell, Curran, Pass

Grays Athletic (4-4-2): Butcher 6, Mawer 6, Hoyte 6, Uddin 6, Braham-Barrett 6, Davis 7, Vernazza 5, Robson 5, Poole 6, Rnkovic 6, Slabber 5

Subs not used: Edwards, Beavan, Cutler


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