Skip to main content Skip to site footer
Match Previews

PREVIEW | Exiles welcome Forest Green Rovers for play-off semi-final first leg

17 May 2021

Newport County AFC begin their second play-off campaign in three years as they host Forest Green Rovers in a first leg fixture.

The match holds extra significance as it will be the first time in over a year that fans will be allowed into Rodney Parade to cheer on the Exiles.

Here, you can find all the facts and statistics ahead of this Sky Bet League Two play-off fixture...

The opposition - Forest Green Rovers

Forest Green Rovers finished in sixth place in Sky Bet League Two with 73 points. Rovers won 20 of their games, drawing 13 times and losing 13 times, finishing below County on goal difference alone.

Forest Green started the season six matches unbeaten, defeating Bolton, Scunthorpe and Stevenage before finally succumbing to a loss against Colchester. They then won four of their next seven fixtures.

Rovers did hit a tough patch of form in March, where they went six matches without a win. However they finished the season in strong fashion, winning their last two fixtures.

Team news

County’s strong finish to the season was helped by Michael Flynn’s selection of the same starting squad for five consecutive matches. This trend could continue as Joss Labadie has recovered from a knee injury which he sustained against Southend United.

Defender Priestley Farquharson is back fit after his spell on the side-lines, while David Longe-King, Jake Scrimshaw and Dom Telford could feature.

Rovers will be without top scorer and former County man Jamille Matt, as well as Dan Sweeney and Elliot Whitehouse. The match will see returns to Rodney Parade for Aaron Collins and Shawn McCoulsky.

One to watch – Aaron Collins

Aaron Collins has become the main man at The New Lawn, filling the boots of injured top scorer Jamille Matt. Collins finished the season with ten goals and six assists to his name.

The 23-year-old scored twice on the final day of the season at Oldham to secure Rovers’ playoff place. He also scored his side’s second goal a week earlier in their 2-1 win over Tranmere.

Tuesday’s first leg will see Collins face off with the club where he began his career, as well as coming up against his younger brother Lewis.

Manager – Jimmy Ball

Jimmy Ball took over at The New Lawn in April after the departure of Mark Cooper. Cooper had been in charge at Forest Green since 2016.

Ball was promoted from the U18’s to take interim charge of the senior team for the final six fixtures of the season. It was a successful spell, where Ball oversaw three wins and two draws to secure a playoff place for Forest Green.

This is Ball’s first role in management, but has coached at Portsmouth, as well as the academies at Blackburn Rovers and Stoke City.

Last meeting between the sides

The last time the sides met was in February at Rodney Parade, where Forest Green took all three points from South Wales.

Rovers opened the scoring just before half time through Josh Davison to give the visitors the advantage at the break.

Their lead was doubled after the hour mark from the penalty spot, ex-County striker Jamille Matt converting to seal the win for the away side.


Advertisement block