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Match Reports

REPORT| Exiles rampant in victory over Forest Green Rovers

14 October 2017

Padraig Amond bagged his first away goals in a County shirt with Scot Bennett and Shawn McCoulsky also scoring as the Exiles sealed a superb 4-0 away victory at Forest Green Rovers.

 Amond had both of his goals before half-time, the products of a dominating County performance in the first-half.

The first came on the quarter-of-an-hour from another corner goal for the Exiles, Amond finishing cleverly after Scot Bennett had headed back across goal from Matty Dolan’s delivery.

His second was a little easier and came on 40 minutes after superb work from his strike-partner Frank Nouble.

Mickey Demetriou launched a 40-yard pass into Nouble’s path - and after controlling the ball and bursting past the Rovers defence, chipped the goalkeeper to allow Amond to tap home.

Then, when Rovers came in search of a way back into the game, the Exiles put the game beyond question with goals in the 78th and 86th minutes.

First, Scot Bennett smashed home in the area after Rovers failed to clear a long-throw before McCoulsky headed home unmarked from inside the area.

It was no more than County deserved for a dominating display, moving the Exiles up to 6th place in League 2 in the process.  

Mike Flynn elected to make seven changes to the side that suffered a 2-1 defeat to Swansea City U23s in the CheckaTrade Trophy on Tuesday.

It was, however, the exact same team that took to the field in the previous league game against Yeovil Town.

That meant the Exiles kept to the usual 3-5-2 formation, with Padraig Amond and Frank Nouble again leading the line up-front.

Forest Green manager Mark Cooper made the solitary one change to his starting side from the 1-1 draw at Notts County last weekend.

That saw Omar Bugiel, who turned down the chance to join-up with the Lebanon squad in midweek to be available for Rovers, dropped to the bench.

Reece Brown came in to the Rovers squad after recovering from the injury that has kept him out recently, in a like-for-like change.

Rovers stuck with their familiar 4-1-2-1-2 setup at the New Lawn, with Luke James and Newport-born Christian Doidge up-front.

And Doidge was instantly involved, winning a free-kick in a dangerous area for his side within the opening minute, although the delivery lacked the pace to cause any trouble to the Exiles defence.

Day had to be alert to smother a potential chance for James moments later, as Rovers made the brighter start in Nailsworth.

Day’s opposite number Sam Russell was also being forced off his line early-on, as Amond almost snuck in for County’s first opportunity of the afternoon on five minutes.

Ben Tozer, implementing his lethal long-throw, was causing numerous problems in the opening exchanges to the Rovers defence, Amond unlucky not to quite react in time after Doidge had misjudged a clearance.

County were clearly responding after a slightly mediocre opening and found the opener on 15 minutes.

And just like last weekend, Matty Dolan would have a huge part to play in it. It was his corner delivery that found Scot Bennett unmarked at the far post, with the centre-back heading back across goal for Amond to rifle home his own header.

That strike meant Amond had moved up level on five goals with Nouble as County’s top scorer for the season.

The goal clearly rattled the home side, who were giving away numerous balls in the middle-of-the-park for the next five minutes, and County almost took advantage with a clever counter-attack, although Nouble couldn’t quite find the delivery to test the home side in the air again.

Nouble then had an effort deflected out on 22 minutes, Russell producing a spectacular finger-tip save to deny a Demetriou header from the resulting corner.

That was all for the entertainment in the first half-hour, County clearly in the ascendancy after a shaky start, and causing several problems to the Rovers back-four throughout.

There was a high foul count from both sides that stifled the game somewhat, but County were clearly dealing with that problem much better than the home side.

An injury to Nouble caused another temporary halt to proceedings on 35 minutes, for what seemed like an ankle injury, although he was cleared to return after some quick treatment.

But the injury clearly didn’t have an impact on the front-man, with Nouble superbly setting up County’s second. Amond was the man to finish from all of four yards again instinctively after a superb County build-up with four minutes to go of the first-half.

Demetriou launched a ball from the defence that sent Nouble on his way. His marauding run got him past the two markers on the right-hand side and into the area. And in fairness, his chipped effort over the goalkeeper may have gone in by itself, although Amond was taking no chances and calmly finished ahead of the recovering defender.

Doidge headed wide as the home side finally looked like causing County some problems, for what was Day’s first real involvement of the game so far.

The indication of two additional minutes of the opening half also seemed to spark them into action, Day having to produce a clever clearance to stop a Dan Wishart cross from going start in.

That brought the first-half proceedings to a close, and nobody in the stadium could dispute the scoreline.

It was the first time since Notts County away in November last year that County had been 2-0 up at the interval in a league game, and every County player was certainly playing a part in the bright start.

Although not involved directly in both goals, Labadie was superbly controlling everything in the midfield, not allowing Rovers to progress through the middle and test the County defence.

Rovers manager Mark Cooper was clearly unhappy with his sides output in the first-half and tried to rectify the problem with a double substitution at half-time.

Luke James and Reece Brown both made way, as Keanu Marsh-Brown and Will Randall came on for the home-side.

But it was Nouble who again started brightly, at his menacing best again early-on, earning the corner that nearly produced a third goal but Labadie’s header went wide.

Scot Bennett was the first man to be shown a yellow card from either side by referee Carl Boyeson, for what looked like a shirt-pull on Doidge, with Amond coming inches away from his hat-trick seconds later, only to see his header from a corner just drift wide.

Labadie joined Bennett in the referee’s notebook on 55 minutes, for a foul in the centre-circle, as the referee’s whistle was again disrupting the build-up to the action in Nailsworth.

Another superb move from County spanning at-least 15 passes almost got them another goal on the hour, although Dolan couldn’t quite get the curl required for his shot to creep into the far post from just outside the area.    

Omar Bugiel came on for Rovers final replacement on 65 minutes, replacing Charlie Cooper, as Marsh-Brown went close for the home-side just after.

The 70-minute mark came and went without another moment of danger for the Exiles, who were intent on sitting a little deeper than normal and forcing Rovers to play it through them rather than around.

A suspected groin injury brought Pipe’s afternoon to a premature end, Mark O’Brien coming on to replace the right-back.

And not long after that, County further extended their lead on 78 minutes.

Tozer’s long throw-in couldn’t quite find Labadie in the area as Mark Roberts attempted to head clear.

But his header only fell the way of Bennett whose shot was too powerful for Russell, as the home goalkeeper could only parry it into the far corner.

Shawn McCoulsky came on immediately for another Exiles change, as Nouble came off after a tireless display.

And McCoulsky was instantly involved in the action, grabbing the Exiles fourth of the afternoon.

It was all too easy for McCoulsky to head home unmarked from a Butler delivery, to send the 815 County fans into rapture in the away end.

And the Exiles saw out the four minutes of injury time with relative ease, to secure a huge away win in Nailsworth.  

 

County: Day, Pipe (O’Brien 77’), Demetriou, White, Bennett, Butler, Labadie (Owen-Evans 86’), Tozer, Dolan, Amond, Nouble (McCoulsky 81’)

Subs not used: Reynolds, Barnum-Bobb, Rigg, Quigley

 

Rovers: Russell, Bennett, Traore, Collins, Brown (Marsh-Brown 45’), Wishart, Cooper (Bugiel 65’), Roberts, Osbourne, James (Randall 45’), Doidge

Subs not used: Laird, Fitzwater, Iacovitti, Gomes

 

Referee: Carl Boyeson

Attendance: 2,864 (815 away)

Next up for County: Colchester United (17th October) HOME

 

 

Photo used not from the same game.


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