FOOTBALL Forest Green Latest Sports News League Two

Former Manchester City, Newcastle United, Rangers midfielder Joey Barton and Forest Green Rovers boss Rob Edwards heap significant praise on “phenomenal” Jamille Matt

Forest Green striker Jamille Matt received plaudits from his manager Rob Edwards and Bristol Rovers boss Joey Barton after his brace settled the sides West Country derby.

The former Plymouth Argyle forward netted his netted ninth and 10th goals of the season either side of half time to push FGR six points clear at the top of League Two and leave the Gas lingering in 16th.

Forest Green were dominant throughout the contest which was played in front 4,128 spectators, 1,228 of which were away, packed into a bitterly cold Fully Charged New Lawn on Saturday.

Despite his undeniable goal-scoring knack, Matt has somewhat played second fiddle to Matty Stevens as the number one goal scorer in Nailsworth, with the latter picking up the League Two August player of the month award after bagging five goals in six games.

However, Edwards, who won the manager of the month for August, had plenty of positive things to say about his number nine after his match-winning double.

“His goals were brilliant,” Edwards said. “The first one was different because he had a long time to think about it after being played through one-on-one and sometimes players don’t like that but he was really calm and it was a great finish.

“He then had a long time to think with the penalty because they had a player down, but he took that really well.”

In their post-match press conferences both managers were keen to stress the impact that weather had on proceedings, but it was the hosts who adapted to the conditions efficiently.

Stevens and Jack Aitchison swarmed round the Gas defence at any given opportunity and the duo won nearly every knock down provided to them by Matt, something Edwards put on a level playing field to his goals.

“Two fantastic goals for him but it’s not just the goals”, he said. “His all-round game is phenomenal. What he does for the team and how hard he works. He’s such a team player.”

At the other end of the pitch, Brett Pitman was the talisman for the Pirates but he struggled severely with the service into him often overhit or poor.

The veteran forward did manage to bring some passes under control but unlike Stevens and Aitchison, Sam Finley and Antony Evans were often too deep allowing Ebou Adams and Ben Stevenson to swoop up possession with real ease.

And Gas manager Barton pitifully acknowledged how his side didn’t use Pitman’s qualities effectively, while their opponents epitomised using their forwards greatest strengths.

“I feel sorry for Brett today because the lads never got round him,” Barton said. “You want the young lads like Evo (Antony Evans) and Sam Finley to get round him and give him a bit of help up there and we didn’t.

“I don’t think there was any good football played today, other than what you’ve seen with their number nine (Jamille Matt).

“He held the ball up today and gave them a platform to play off and we really needed the front side of our team to step up today.”

Forest Green are in action tomorrow night (Tuesday, 7pm) against Chelsea U-21’s in the second round of the Papa John’s Trophy, while the Gas welcome Sutton United to the Mem next Saturday in round two of the Emirates FA Cup.

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