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OPINION: It is great to see Christian Doidge finally show pre-season promise as Forest Green cruise to victory on Saturday

Forest Green Rovers bounced back from their set back in the FA Cup last time out with a resounding three-nil win against struggling Guiseley, who looked tired after a midweek FA Cup replay.

Two very similar curling efforts from Darren Carter and Christian Doidge as well as an own goal by Jake Lawlor completed the victory for Mark Cooper’s men, who now sit four points clear at the top of the National League after Dagenham conceded a late goal to draw at home to Macclesfield.

Parklife Sports’ Forest Green writer, Elliot Owens, reflects on Rovers’ three-nil win against Guiseley…

At last, a lot of praise can be made for striker Christian Doidge…

Saturday’s Man-of-the-Match Christian Doidge netted the second goal, hit the post and was beaten to the third strike by the unfortunate Guiseley defender Lawlor. The 24-year-old, who was rightfully awarded the post-match champagne, showed us for the first time why Mark Cooper signed him from Dagenham.

The Welshman was the main catalyst in going forward, creating chances all game and netted his fourth of the campaign on the hour mark on Saturday with a luscious curled effort into the top left-hand corner from the edge of the box after lovely one-touch passing football. In his first interview with the Stroud News and Journal he vowed to “bag 20 goals this season” – so he is a fifth of the way to his target, after a quarter of the games played.

The stats don’t tell the full story…

Saturday’s comfortable three-nil victory was the 11th win in 16 games this term as The Green Army extended their lead at the top to four points, their biggest lead at the summit all season. The stats favour the Nailsworth club too; with the highest goal difference of +21, the most wins, the most goals as well as the joint fewest losses – but that isn’t the entire story…

In recent weeks, anyway, each starting XI has gone out and really taken the game to the opposition, with scintillating passing and chances aplenty. It is seven games without defeat now for the Little Club On The Hill – including six consecutive clean sheets and ten goals in their last three fixtures. Things are really taking shape for Rovers.

What manager Mark Cooper said…

The hard-to-please Forest Green gaffer Mark Cooper was happy with elements of the game.

He said: “I am pleased with certain aspects of the game.

“We didn’t start particular well – we were a little bit sloppy in the first 20 minutes.

“Guiseley did quite well and the referee helped that because he kept stopping the game.”

He went on to add praise for striker Doidge and defender Dan Wishart, who made his first start at The New Lawn since moving from Sutton at the start of the month.

Looking ahead for Rovers…

Forest Green have two games this week, starting with a trip to the Midlands against Marcus Bignot’s Solihull.  The Moors sit in 15th after 16 fixtures in their debut season in the fifth tier and will offer a stubborn test to the in-form Rovers. Second-placed Dagenham then visit the New Lawn in the first real title-showdown of this campaign next weekend.

The Daggers, who were relegated from League 2 last term, have made an impressive start this time around and will pose the biggest test for Cooper’s Football League ambitions, with top goalscorer Ollie Hawkins being a huge factor in their success so far this campaign.

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