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Steve Cotterill’s Forest Green Rovers forced to settle for a point in six-goal thriller with Colchester United

Colchester United 3 Forest Green Rovers 3

Forest Green boss Steve Cotterill praises his team’s ‘heart’ and ‘fight’ after they recovered to take a point against fellow relegation-threatened Colchester United.

Rovers led 2-0 at the break before a dominant five-minute spell saw the U’s in front with only 20 minutes of time remaining.

Dom Thompson’s first career goal salvaged a point for the visitors late on to ensure the battle at the bottom stayed the same.

“It will feel like a defeat because we were two up,” said Cotterill. “They showed unbelievable character though today, a team who aren’t fighting for their lives get beat four and five there.”

Rovers made the best possible start when Matty Stevens netted from the spot after Jordan Moore-Taylor took a boot to the face in the penalty area on 10 minutes.

Christian Doidge scored on his return to double Forest Green’s lead after 27 minutes when he converted from close range.

The visitors dropped deeper in the second half and invited pressure from a Colchester side growing in confidence.

They halved the deficit when Alistair Smith drove a crisp strike underneath Luke Daniels with 65 minutes on the clock from a tight angle.

Jayden Fevrier levelled things just two minutes later when he side footed home Harry Anderson’s cut-back.

The U’s completed the turnaround on 70 minutes when Anderson found a yard of space on the edge of the area and curled home a fine finish.

Forest Green fought back soon after when Thompson’s speculative left-footed effort was bundled home by goalkeeper Owen Goodman.

Depsite late Colchester pressure, both teams were forced to settle for a point on an action-packed afternoon.

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“It’s five minutes of madness.” Cotterill added.

“We took a backwards step, we said to them that what gets you in front keeps you in front. We needed to see that period through, when that first one goes in it gives them belief.”

“All in all, it has to be a big positive for the boys today. They played with huge hearts and ran their socks off. They (Colchester) are on an upward curve.

“We lose a centre-back (Jordan Moore-Taylor) through injury and that stopped a bit of our possession that we had and what we worked on. Dom (Bernard) did well but having a natural left-footer opens the play up more.

“Because of where we are, it doesn’t look like a positive point but I think I’d rather take that what we’ve done is shown heart and fight.

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“All of a sudden, if we can carry on with the same heart and fight, if we can get a couple of back-to-back wins, it will look different. The point today could be very, very important.”

On Doidge’s scoring return: “I thought they were excellent today. He led the line very well and we’re delighted for him. He will be important for the run-in.

Cotterill concluded: “It has to stay positive, focussed and determined. There has to be an element of belief in there too.”

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