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FINAL SCORE: Forest Green Rovers 3 Derby County 4

By This is Gloucestershire  |  Posted: January 03, 2009

Carroll beaten

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A late penalty by Steve Davies shattered Forest Green hearts after they had led Championship opponents Derby County three times at the New Lawn.

The managerless Rams had to battle back from 2-0 and 3-2 down, but Darren Jones’ foul on Kris Commons with five minutes left saw him red carded and heroic Rovers sunk.

Brilliant goals in the 14th and 19th minutes by Jonathan Smith and Alex Lawless had put the home side in dreamland, but Rob Hulse reduced the deficit in the 39th minute before Martin Albrechtsen made it all square in first-half stoppage time.

It was almost even more of a fairytale start for Rovers, as within eight seconds Adriano Rigoglioso pounced on an error in the Derby defence and forced a smothering save from recalled goalkeeper Roy Carroll.

Carroll’s opposite number Terry Burton had to be alert to keep out a cross-shot from Commons in the third minute, but otherwise the hosts were almost entirely on the front foot.

The opening goal was an absolute peach. Carroll rushed out of his goal to deal with a long punt forward, but found himself stranded as Smith smashed into the top corner from 25 yards.

Simon Clist’ delightful through-ball carved the visiting defence open to create Rovers’ second, though Lawless still had plenty to do to with a superb finish past Carroll from a tight angle.

Derby’s reply stemmed from a free-kick by Commons, from which Lewin Nyatanga’s header come back off the crossbar and Hulse stabbed home the rebound.

Another Commons set piece caught Rovers out seconds before the break, enabling Danish defender Albrechtsen to net at the back post.

Momentum remained with the Championship outfit as the second period got underway, and they should have gone ahead on the hour when Hulse fired straight at Burton when clean through and Commons sliced the follow-up wide via deflection.

The hosts looked to be tiring, but they were given a massive lift in the 72nd minute when Stonehouse’s speculative shot crept past Carroll at the near post.

Suddenly the dream was back on, but four minutes later Green latched onto a cross-field pass and slotted tidily past Burton from close range.

The Rams’ superior fitness was now telling, borne out when Commons was scythed down from behind by a labouring Darren Jones – rightly sent off by referee Paul Taylor.

Substitute Davies gave Burton no chance with the spot kick, smashed into the top right-hand corner.

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    David, Hertfordshire  |  January 04 2009, 6:16PM

    Derby supporter wanting to say bad luck to FGR. First half FGR played more football and deserved to take a 2-0 lead. Although happy the Rams won would have minded too much if you had got a reply. Your fans and club are a credit to football and as my relations live in Uley will come again to see you play. Good luck for rest of season and I hope you keep you place in the Blue Square Premier.

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    Lady Magpie, Middleyard  |  January 04 2009, 6:10PM

    Been a supporter of FGR for some 35+ years, That was the most fantastic match I've watched and that includes all the finals etc. The players and the club can hold their heads high, very professional both on and off the pitch.

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    chris, stroud  |  January 04 2009, 4:38PM

    Ah you are a wise old mutt dieseldog. Unfortunately a your aging reject Gill is keeping out a better player (Chris Thomas) and our right flank is vulnerable because of it. Don't want to seem ungrateful but please take him back very soon and invite Darran Kempson too. Good luck against Donny

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    diesledog, paddock  |  January 04 2009, 12:20PM

    I doubt it village, we had the same at WR when we entertained the Magpies and when we went to Millennium Stadium. When it comes to the nuts and bolts of watching your team on a cold and wet Tuesday evening, they'll be at home with there feet up(co-co and slippers) watching Corrie!!! Having said that, I was hoping to be one of those 'glory hunters', having seen our game being called off in mysterious circumstances, but was no way getting a ticket for your game, so had to settle to seeing re-runs on Setanta. What a fantastic effort and with a bit less respect to Derby, you could have nicked it. We need to see the second Glos side to make it to league status, but i hope it's not going to be the same old scenario of not being able to convert it to league games. Come on FGR, climb that table.

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    Pete, Forest of Dean  |  January 03 2009, 11:21PM

    As a Rams supporter - born and bred in Derby but living in Glos for the last twenty years - I'm pleased to see a win for Derby but I'm also sorry to see FGR lose especially after such a great effort. This game could just as easily been theirs and they can hold their heads up. Best of luck to the team and the supporters with the rest of the season.

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    village idiot, TETBURY  |  January 03 2009, 9:54PM

    A Great day for FGR, but as a seasoned supporter we took the game to Derby and gave them a shock or two! Finally we gave them the game with a few late tackles. See some of you glory hunters next week?

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    chris, stroud  |  January 03 2009, 7:01PM

    Fanatastic match and memorable occasion. Well done Rovers - you did Gloucestershire so much credit. 3 excellent goals but conceding from 3 free kicks and a penalty is our season in a nutshell. ITV viewers will get their money's worth tonight

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    doggy, glloucester  |  January 03 2009, 6:50PM

    the boys were absolutely immense, totally proud of you all f.g.r. thanks for giving me and my boys the thrill of our lives!! lets get up that league table now.