FOOTBALL

OPINION: Forest Green Rovers shouldn’t be too concerned about Lincoln City setback

Christian Doidge and Keanu Marsh-Brown put the home side in control with a fine downward header and a precise low-drive.

But, Danny Cowley’s side responded with Alex Woodyard, Luke Waterfall and Sean Raggett all netting to complete a wonderful turnaround for the Imps and inflict a first home loss for Mark Cooper’s Rovers.

Parklife Sports’ Forest Green writer, Elliot Owens, reflects on Rovers’ 3-2 loss to Lincoln City…

Although the gap has closed to six points, I wouldn’t worry…

It was another disappointing afternoon in front of BT Sport cameras for Forest Green as they let a two-goal lead slip, with Lincoln scoring twice in three minutes to steal the three points.

NAILSWORTH, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 19:  Lincoln City's Sean Raggett (hidden) celebrates scoring his sides third goal, an injury time winner, with team-mates during the Vanarama National League match between Forest Green Rovers and Lincoln City at  on November 19, 2016 in Nailsworth, England. (Photo by Andrew Vaughan - CameraSport via Getty Images)
Lincoln City’s Sean Raggett celebrates scoring the third and final goal in Saturday’s 3-2 win.

The gap at the top of The National League could have extended to 12 points in Rovers’ favour, instead it was slashed to a mere six points, with nearest rivals Lincoln and Tranmere playing a game fewer.

I don’t think fans should be worried. Yes, they were poor and the momentum is back with the teams playing catch up on Mark Cooper’s side. But, Cooper isn’t the type of manager to let the team slack. So far this season, Rovers have recovered quickly after setbacks in previous outings due to the manager’s intense style of management.

Poor defending cost Forest Green…

After a week of praise following a solid defensive display in the 1-0 win away at Macclesfield in the build up to the weekend’s heavyweight clash – the praise all came to nothing in the final twenty minutes of the game on Saturday.

Captain Liam Noble, who was excellent in the first half, was at fault for Lincoln’s first goal – which gave the Imps the drive to go on and get something from the game…

And that’s exactly what they did – backed by their impressive following – Luke Waterfall and Sean Raggett converted chances from two set pieces that weren’t defended well enough by the hosts.

What Mark Cooper said…

As you could probably guess, the gaffer wasn’t pleased in his post match interview and lamented his side’s inability to defend from setpieces.

“If you don’t defend long throws or corners into your box then you are asking for trouble,” Cooper said. “At 2-0 the game is won.”

“Then, Liam Noble decides to do what he wants to do, instead of clearing the ball and that gives them a bit of impetus.

“Individual players are not doing their job – it’s gone now – we have had a good run – we have got to get back on it and make sure we get a result Tuesday.”

Who’s next for Forest Green?

Micky Mellon’s promotion-chasing Tranmere Rovers are next to visit The New Lawn on Tuesday.

Tranmere are third, level on points with Saturday’s opponents Lincoln. So, I would fully expect another tough evening to test Forest Green’s title credentials.

Mellon has only dropped two points since his appointment in October, so Rovers will have to be at their very best to take something from the game.

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