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Forest Green: Marcus Kelly double gets Rovers back on track

By The Citizen  |  Posted: December 26, 2013

By Pete Orchard


Ady Pennock

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Two classy goals from Marcus Kelly steered Forest Green back to winning ways in the Skrill Premier.

Kelly's 12th minute rocket was cancelled out before half-time by Jordan Roberts, rough justice on Rovers after they had carved out the better chances.

But the former Tamworth man was determined to grab centre stage on Boxing Day, doubling his haul before a late James Norwood strike secured the home side's first victory in four attempts in all competitions.

Ady Pennock made two changes to his starting XI, with Al Bangura replacing suspended midfielder Paul Green and Matty Taylor preferred to Matthew Barnes-Homer in attack.

Home goalkeeper Sam Russell had to be on his toes as early as the sixth minute, helping over an over-hit cross from Craig Stanley that looked to be heading for the top corner of the net.

The resulting corner was only half-cleared to Stanley, whose deep delivery found Chris Barker in too much space for a header that dropped wide with Russell beaten.

Taylor was wildly wayward with an effort from the edge of the box before the deadlock was broken in spectacular fashion, Kelly volleying sweetly and accurately though a crowd after Jared Hodgkiss had recycled a partially cleared corner from the right.

A sharp turn by Taylor created space for a shot from 20 yards that whistled inches past the far post, and moments later Danny Wright met Kelly's corner with a meaty header that was narrowly too high.

Both Wright and Ed Asafu-Adjaye were unfortunate to see low efforts go wide as Rovers continued to press, and there was another escape for the Shots when Taylor found himself free at the far post but contrived to nod into the side-netting.

The visitors did not threaten again until the 38th minute when Emmanuel Oyeleke fired wide, a speculative attempt that summed up their growing frustration.

So there was understandable annoyance in the home dugout when a routine corner allowed the Hampshire outfit to restore parity four minutes later, Roberts running onto Barker's delivery and planting a header past a helpless Russell.

There was a glorious chance for Kelly and Forest Green to double their tally for the afternoon on 53 minutes when Norwood burst clear on the right and served up a perfectly weighted square pass, but the midfielder totally fluffed his lines and prodded straight at goalkeeper Jonathan Henly.

Kelly soon had his head in his hands again, having seen a shot blocked by Jaydon Gibbs from point-blank range after Wright forced Henly into a weak punch.

Aldershot ought to have made the most of such profligacy in the 66th minute when the Rovers defence parted for Aiden O'Brien, but a brilliant reaction save by Russell kept him out.

Pennock's men continued to look likelier winners, and another golden chance went begging when Wright fed Norwood for a one-on-one that was sliced horribly wide.

The New Lawn faithful were crying out for come composure, and a minute later Kelly duly delivered when he latched onto Norwood's pass and coolly dinked the ball over the onrushing Henly into the net.

And Norwood put the result beyond doubt when he broke clear on the left and clipped the ball beyond Henly's reach.

Forest Green: S. Russell; J. Hodgkiss (E. Oshodi 46), A. Racine, D. Bennett, E. Asafu-Adjaye; A. Barry, A. Bangura (K. Forbes 90), M. Kelly; M. Taylor, D. Wright, J. Norwood; Subs not used: M. Barnes-Homer, J. Alabi, A. McHugh.

Aldershot Town: J. Henly; J. Gibbs, J. Oastler (J. Goodman 67), A. Webster (M. Paterson 81), C. Barker; A. Mekki (L. Young 72), C. Stanley, E. Oyeleke, J. Roberts; B. Williams, A. O'Brien; Subs not used: M. Rowlands, L. Williams.

Referee: D. England (Barnsley)

Attendance: 1,676

Star man: Marcus Kelly

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