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Super Lawless strikes to save Harvey’s men

By This is Gloucestershire  |  Posted: August 11, 2008

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NEW season, same dependability from Forest Green’s most

unsung stalwart.

Alex Lawless was Rovers’ hero in more ways than one at the

A-Line Stadium, filling in for the injured Kris Thomas at

right-back and grabbing a deserved 77th-minute leveller against

combative opponents.

Jim Harvey’s men were ragged around the edges at times, and

he will be hoping the more jittery moments were down to

first-day nerves.

But their measured response to John Dempster’s goal from a

corner on 14 minutes was highly encouraging, a sign of growing

maturity within the squad.

Blue Square North champions last season, Kettering roared

out of the blocks and capitalised on a disjointed start from

their opponents.

 Indeed, Rovers nearly contributed to their own

downfall four minutes before conceding when Darren Jones was

caught badly in possession on the edge of the area by Chris

Beardsley.

The frontman slid the ball left for Gareth Seddon on the

edge of the penalty area and he forced a parry from Ryan

Robinson.

Moments later Alfie Potter burst clear on the right flank

and whipped in a cross that fell perfectly for Owain Warlow

five yards out, whose shot was superbly blocked by

Robinson.

The former Morecambe stopper was looking keen to justify his

reinstatement as first choice, but he must take his share of

the blame for allowing Warlow’s corner to drift over his

flailing glove and enabling Dempster to power a header

home.

Having been second to every 50-50, Rovers suddenly had a

rescue act to perform and needed to shift up a couple of

gears.

They also had to come to terms with Poppies defender Exodus

Geohaghon, whose huge throw-ins were tougher to contend with

than pronunciation of his surname.

Such tactics are not the Harvey way, and the visitors set

about repairing the situation by stringing passes together and

remaining patient.

 They were almost rewarded six minutes before the

break.

Andy Mangan got the faintest flick to Lawless’ cross and

Dempster’s deflection forced home goalkeeper Lee Harper to turn

the ball on to the post in athletic fashion.

Mangan was one of three starters making their competitive

debuts for the club, worrying the Kettering defence with his

tireless running off the ball but failing to fashion any

gilt-edged openings.

Playing in the Rigoglioso role behind the main striker, Kaid

Mohamed struggled initially to impose himself on the game but

was a threat from wider areas in the second half.

Lee Fowler was the most impressive of the trio, rarely

wasting possession in the middle of the park, while substitute

debutants Conal Platt and Curtis McDonald each had a hand in

Rovers’ overall improvement.

Less convincing was Robinson, who looked nervy whenever the

ball was at his feet and remains some way short of the

impressive form he showed during his first season at the New

Lawn.

The equaliser was a triumph for quick thinking, Lawless

latching on to Mohamed’s short corner and unleashing a

cross-shot from 25 yards which flew past Harper into the far

corner.

It heralded a harum-scarum conclusion to the match, as first

Mangan raced onto McDonald’s through-ball and saw his effort

clutched by Harper at the near post.

Lawless then touched a short free-kick to Platt, whose

angled drive from the edge of the area was deflected a couple

of feet wide.

Two efforts from Andre Boucaud in stoppage time had hearts

in mouths at the other end, and Robinson was grateful for

Lawless’ frantic clearance after failing to hold a long-range

drive.

Kettering Town: L. Harper; J. Dempster, G. Branston, E.

Geohaghon, T. Jasczun; A. Potter (D. Taylor 68), D. Wrack, B.

Solkhon, O. Warlow; G. Seddon (A. Boucaud 75), C. Beardsley

(J-P Marna 60); Subs not used: L. Graham, S. Dorrill.

Forest Green: R. Robinson; A. Lawless, D. Jones, J.

Hardiker, P. Stonehouse (C. McDonald 58); L. Afful, J. Pitman

(C. Platt 50), L. Fowler (J. Smith 73), S. Clist; K. Mohamed;

A. Mangan; Subs not used: M. Preece, T. Burton. Referee: J.

Adcock (Long Eaton)

Attendance: 1,346

Star man: Alex Lawless – Reliable as ever in his less favoured

position, scoring one and laying on chances for others.

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