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Forest Green: Injury-hit Rovers beaten at Woking

By The Citizen  |  Posted: April 01, 2014

Lee Hughes

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Luckless Forest Green came unstuck at the Skrill Premier's form side as their play-off hopes suffered another savage blow.

Lee Hughes' brilliant second-half strike was cancelled out by a controversial penalty, converted by Scott Rendell against his former club.

Blighted by injuries at the back, Rovers were then sunk by Jack Marriott's strike to give Woking a fifth straight league win.

Ady Pennock's response to defeat at Southport was to recall central defender Luke Oliver as captain in place of Anthony Barry, whose berth in midfield was taken by Yan Klukowski.

There was also a debut on the left for new Charlton Athletic loanee Bradley Jordan, who bears an uncanny resemblance to former New Lawn man James Rowe – now at Tranmere Rovers – in both appearance and playing style.

Klukowski needs one more goal to break Forest Green's all-time scoring record in the Conference, and he came close to achieving that feat in the 14th minute when he prodded the ball past hesitant home goalkeeper Sam Beasant and saw his shot cleared off the line by Joe McNerney.

Roles were reversed on 22 minutes when Cards defender McNerney soared highest to meet an inswinging corner with a header that was hacked away by Klukowski with Sam Russell beaten.

Normally rock-solid keeper Russell has just penned a new one-year contract, but his handling was less than secure when Keiran Murtagh let fly from 25 yards and saw his effort fumbled.

Recalled Rovers striker Danny Wright made a hash of a decent opportunity five minutes later, slicing horribly wide with Hughes screaming for a square pass in the middle of the area.

John Nutter's corner at the other end was not properly cleared and the ball dropped to much-travelled forward Rendell, who volleyed wildly over the bar.

The visitors began the second half in more urgent fashion, and a teasing cross to the near post by Jordan had to be grasped at the second attempt by Beasant with Hughes lurking.

Experienced Woking midfielder Kevin Betsy snatched at a chance when handily placed and Russell had to be alert to clutch a skidding shot from Marriott.

If anything the home side looked likelier to break the deadlock, but a bolt from the blue was delivered in the 63rd minute when James Norwood worked diligently to cut the ball back and teed up Hughes for a rocket of a shot that flew past a helpless Beasant.

Four minutes later Woking were gifted the chance to restore parity when substitute Eddie Oshodi misjudged the bounce of the ball on a lumpy pitch and was penalised for a handball.

It looked a harsh call by referee Colin Lymer, but Rendell showed no mercy in sending Russell the wrong way from the spot.

Marriott thought he had made it 2-1 in the 72nd minute, claiming his header had been acrobatically saved from behind the line by Russell.

Having already lost Aarran Racine to injury, Rovers were forced into another defensive reshuffle when Chris Stokes pulled up with a recurrence of the hamstring problem that has blighted his season.

Al Bangura was summoned from the bench and Paul Green retreated into the back four, but nobody took command on 82 minutes when Marriott latched onto a ball over the top and slotted into the bottom corner.

It could have been worse when Jamie Turley's mistake put Betsy in the clear for a piledriver that crashed against the crossbar.

Woking: S. Beasant; A. Newton (M. Cestor 90), M. Ricketts, J.McNerney, J. Nutter; K. Betsy, K. Murtagh, J. Jones; S. Rendell, J. Marriott (B. Johnson 89), J. Goddard; Subs not used: A. Little, R. Beckles, G. Sole.

Forest Green: S. Russell; J. Turley, L. Oliver, A. Racine (E. Oshodi 53), C. Stokes (A. Bangura 76); J. Norwood, P. Green, Y. Klukowski, B. Jordan; D. Wright (L. Rodgers 86), L. Hughes; Subs not used: M. Taylor, P. White.

Referee: C. Lymer (Hampshire)

Attendance: 1,315

Star man: Sam Russell

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