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PREVIEW | Exiles return to League action with a trip to Forest Green Rovers

13 October 2017

Forest Green Rovers will be looking for just their second league win of the campaign when the Exiles travel to Nailsworth this Saturday. The solitary win came back on 19th August with a 4-3 success over Yeovil Town. That sees the side on six points from the opening 12 fixtures, in their first ever season in the Football League.

Here, you can find all the facts and statistics ahead of this League 2 encounter.


Last six league games

Rovers have only managed to pick up two points from the last 18 available after two draws and four defeats from their last six league games.

In that time, the club have only managed to score two goals, with only one of those coming at home. That sees them currently at a record of just one home goal from the previous four league games at the New Lawn.

That run of just two points started with a home defeat, as Lincoln ran out 1-0 winners with a goal from Harry Anderson.

A point then followed, their first ever away point in the Football League, as Omar Bugiel cancelled out Dan Turner’s early opener in the 1-1 draw at Port Vale.

Then came three defeats without scoring a goal.

In-front of the SKY cameras, Swindon scored two late goals to take the points at the New Lawn, before Rovers suffered a 3-0 defeat at Cambridge United.

Another home defeat soon followed, Seamus Conneely grabbing his first goal of the season in Accrington’s 1-0 victory, a result that saw Rovers at the foot of the English Football League.

But a stunning point at high-flying Notts County saw them move off the bottom of the table, and out of the relegation zone to 22nd position ahead of County’s visit to the New Lawn. And they may have taken all three points from Nottinghamshire, only to see Rob Milsom head home a 96th minute equaliser for the home side.



Rovers club captain Liam Noble left the Nailsworth-outfit on Monday through mutual consent. Noble, who joined in July 2016, requested to be allowed to move closer to his family in the North of England, and the club have accepted his request.

Other than that, Rovers only have doubts over one player.

Defender Manny Monthe has been side-lined with a fractured cheekbone injury suffered in training two weeks ago, and as such is expected to miss the encounter.

Fellow defender Alex Iacovitti may be in-line to make a first start since picking up an achilles problem, as the 20-year old has been used as a late substitute recently on his road to recovery.

In their last game at Notts County, manager Mark Cooper made just the two changes from their 2-1 win at Cheltenham Town in the CheckaTrade Trophy.

That saw Rovers line-up in a 4-3-3 formation with Newport-born striker Christian Doidge the main man up-front.


Rovers team vs Notts County (4-3-3): Russell, Bennett, Roberts, Collins, Wishart, Traore (Randall-Hurren 71’), Cooper, Osborne, Bugiel, Doidge, James (Iacovitti 90+2)


One to Watch – Omar Bugiel


Age: 23

Position: Winger

Goals this season: 3

Selected previous clubs: BognorRegis Town, Worthing

Bugiel is currently embarking on his first season as a Football League player after a successful non-league career thus far.

And the 23-year old has settled well to the

jump up the divisions, netting three goals already this season.

The first of those came in Rovers only league win so far this season against Yeovil Town, with further strikes coming against Port Vale and Notts County.

Such is the quality of Bugiel’s performances this season, that the German-born player was called up to the Lebanon squad, who he is eligible to play for through his father.

His call up for the game against North Korea saw him miss the game with the Exiles earlier this season, although he didn’t make the playing squad on that occasion. He could have missed the game with County again following another call up, although he rejected the chance so that he could focus on things with his club side.

Before joining Rovers, Bugiel came through the ranks at TSV 1860 Munich.

Then, when he was sixteen, Bugiel enrolled at Chichester College and subsequently signed for Chichester City.

A brief stint at Burgess Hill Town soon followed, before a season at Bognor Regis Town.

From there, Bugiel transferred to Worthing where he has become somewhat of a cult legend at the club.

Three prolific goal-scoring seasons and over 100 appearances later, Bugiel was finally given his Football League chance with Rovers, and he has made 11 appearances with the club so far this campaign.


Manager – Mark Cooper

Cooper has been in charge at the Nailsworth outfit since 9th May 2016, winning a managerial honour at the club in his first season, as Rovers beat Tranmere 3-1 in the National League play-off final last season.

So far he has managed 69 games at Rovers, of which he has won 32 of those matches at a win percentage of 46.2%. He has suffered defeat on a further 21 occasions, while he has overseen 16 draws.

It is his eighth managerial position, having started out in the non-league with Tamworth in 2004.

He twice got the club to the FA Cup third round, although their league positions didn’t match their cup exploits, with Cooper moving onto Kettering Town in 2007.

He won the Conference North title with them in his first season, with a solid 8th place finish in the Conference in his first season. 

That saw Peterborough United, who were in the Championship at the time, move to make him their manager. However, his stint was short lived, as Cooper was dismissed after winning one of his first 13 games in charge.

He them moved to Darlington where he won the FA Trophy, before a brief spell with AFC Telford United.

Another Football League spell came in 2013, when Cooper took over at Swindon Town. He lost a League One play-off final in May 2015, before being dismissed in October of that year.

A short spell at Notts County soon followed before he took the job with Forest Green Rovers.

Prior to management, Cooper had a successful 22-year playing career, making more than 450 appearances, and scoring over 100 goals combined whilst playing for a host of clubs in the Football League.


Stadium – The New Lawn

Built in 2006, The New Lawn has been home to Forest Green ever since. The current capacity of the stadium currently stands at 5,032, with County being allocated close to 1,000 tickets.

Due to an expected high following from Exiles fans, Rovers have agreed to let County have 926 uncovered terrace tickets, in-addition to 20 seated tickets and two wheelchair bays.

For our CheckaTrade encounter earlier this season, 239 fans made the trip across the bridge, while 1,039 attended on Boxing Day 2013.


Previous meetings

The two sides have met on nine competitive occasions. County have the slight advantage from the previous meetings, winning three compared to two Forest Green wins, with a further four draws.

And it was the Exiles who won the first ever meeting between the sides. A 3-1 win at Spytty Park was followed by a 0-0 draw during the 2010/11 season.

In 2011/12, the clubs met on four occasions, with three draws and a solitary County win. Both league games ended in a draw, 1-1 at the New Lawn during Anthony Hudson’s last game as County manager while it was 0-0 at Spytty.

County booked their place in the next round of the FA Trophy with a 2-0 win in the replay, which followed a 0-0 draw at the original tie in South Wales.

For the 2012/13 promotion season, the two clubs met over the Christmas period. Ryan Charles and Darryl Knights both scored for a 2-1 away County victory on Boxing Day, before Rovers secured their first ever win over the Exiles with a thumping 5-0 victory at Rodney Parade.

Rovers also won a friendly at the start of the 2016/17 season, a 4-3 success at the New Lawn before they also won the last meeting between the sides, Dan Wishart and Luke James scoring in the 2-0 victory back in August.



Referee: Carl Boyeson

Assistant Referee 1: Paul Hobday

Assistant Referee 2: Ben Cobb

Fourth Official: John Flynn

Boyeson is currently embarking on his 16th season as a referee in the Football League.

Currently, he has refereed 10 games so far this season, with the last of those coming on 30th September as Grimsby and Lincoln drew 0-0.

However, the 26th September 2017 stands out as a far more significant date for Boyeson. In refereeing the 2-2 draw between Walsall and Charlton, Boyeson reached the remarkable milestone of officiating 500 Football League and Cup matches.

Of the ten games this season, Boyeson has given out 27 yellow cards and five red cards. That follows on from last season, where he officiated on 36 matches. A total of 139 yellows and 10 reds were given out during that 2016/17 season.


County Connection

Boyeson has refereed County on three previous occasions. The Exiles are currently unbeaten from those games with one win and two draws.

His most recent game was the 2-2 home draw with Cheltenham Town last season. Paul Bignot was the only man booked from either side, as Jon Parkin scored both of County’s goals that day.

A hat-trick from Aaron O’Connor saw the Exiles secure a 3-1 away victory against Bury on 22nd November 2014.

Boyeson produced two yellow cards on that occasion, both to County, Chris Zebroski and Darren Jones both cautioned.

The final game saw Lee Minshull cancel out Harry Worley’s early own-goal in the 1-1 draw with Exeter City at Rodney Parade. No bookings were given out during this fixture.

This game will be Boyeson’s first at the New Lawn, although he has taken charge of Forest Green Rovers already this season, in their first ever away Football League match, a 2-0 defeat to Mansfield Town.


Other League 2 fixtures that day (All 3pm kick-offs)

Accrington Stanley vs Coventry City

Chesterfield vs Morecambe

Colchester United vs Carlisle United

Grimsby Town vs Crawley Town

Lincoln City vs Cambridge United

Luton Town vs Stevenage

Mansfield Town vs Swindon Town

Notts County vs Barnet

Port Vale vs Cheltenham Town

Wycombe Wanderers vs Exeter City

Yeovil Town vs Crewe Alexandra


Can’t make the match?

You can follow along on social media using @NCAFCLive on Twitter, or via the Club’s official Facebook and Instagram pages.

Don’t forget – if you reside outside of the UK, you can watch the game live by subscribing to County’s iFollow service. Commentary by Tim Thraves and Charlie Brown can also be found at the Match Centre.

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