3:00pm - SaturdaySat 25th FebruaryFeb 2017
| Att: 1566

Forest Green Rovers
Forest Green Rovers
4 - 3


Cards look to continue improved away form

Brian Caffarey
7:17am, Thu 23rd Feb 2017
Forest Green Rovers v Woking
Vanarama National League
3pm on Saturday 25 February 2017

The Cards continue their tough sequence of away games with this trip to play-off chasing Forest Green Rovers on Saturday. However, the Cards have a good record historically against Rovers and may just fancy their chances of getting something out of this game after recent improved away performances. A coach is running, so why not sign up for what is usually one of the most enjoyable away trips?


It was a pretty ‘flat’ performance at home to a hard-working Southport side, on a tiring pitch, last Saturday and Garry Hill had to be content with just a point against fellow relegation strugglers. On Tuesday evening a much-changed Cards side defeated Knaphill 3-1 in the Surrey Senior Cup Quarter-Finals, with two goals from Connor Hall and one from Charlie Carter.

Last weekend’s draw against Southport, plus Guiseley’s surprising win at Dagenham and Redbridge, saw the Cards drop from 19th to 20th in the table, only one place and one point above the relegation spots. But it was not entirely bad news in that a defeat for North Ferriby United and a draw for York City resulted in a gap between the Cards and the bottom two teams of seven and six points respectively: a gap that was maintained on Tuesday evening when both of those sides lost. The Cards now need to set their sights on scrambling above Guiseley, Torquay, Sutton and Braintree, who are all only three points or fewer above them, while trying to keep Maidstone and Southport in their rearview mirror.

Last Saturday Garry started with Max Kretzschmar up front, partnering Gozie Ugwu. It will be interesting to see if he perseveres with that tactic, gives the nod instead to one of Connor Hall, Macauley Bonne or even Dennon Lewis or plays with just Gozie up front.


Tranmere’s midweek win over Boreham Wood saw Rovers slip to 4th in the table, seven points behind league leaders, Lincoln City. At home they have won seven games, drawn eight and lost only one.

Rovers, beaten 3-1 by Grimsby Town in last year’s play-off final, were expected to be strong challengers again this season under new manager Mark Cooper, and they currently sit in 4th place in the table, seven points behind league leaders, Lincoln City. With their financial backing from Ecotricity owner, Dale Vince, Rovers strengthened an already impressive squad in the summer. A few of those players have already departed, including Matt Tubbs, now with Sutton United, but those remaining include keepers Sam Russell, returning to the club, and Simon Lefebrve from Birmingham City; Ethan Pinnock, a central defender from Dulwich Hamlet; Liam Noble, an attacking midfielder from Notts County; Fabien Robert, another attacking midfielder, from Swindon; and striker Christian Doidge from Dagenham and Redbridge.

Among players retained from the previous season were Aaran Racine, Elliot Frear, Darren Carter, Sam Wedgbury, Keanu Marsh-Brown, Charlie Clough, Rob Sinclair, Dale Bennett and Marcus Kelly.

Rovers saw several players move on to League clubs in the January transfer window, including striker Rhys Murphy going on loan to Crawley Town; Elliot Frear heading off to Motherwell; Charlie Clough, sold for an undisclosed fee to Barnet; and striker Kieffer Moore joining Ipswich Town.

Arrivals have included striker Kaiyne Woolery, on loan from Wigan Athletic; Mark Ellis, a defender from Carlisle United returning for a second loan spell; midfielder Jake Gosling, on loan from Bristol Rovers; Omar Bugiel, a German striker recently signed for an undisclosed fee from Worthing; Dan Wishart, a forward brought in from Sutton United; Shamir Mullings, a highly-rated 6’5� striker signed from Chelmsford City; and Manny Monthe, an imposing central defender brought in from Bath City.

Aaron Racine, who had gone on loan to Torquay United, is out injured for a year or more, while Fabien Robert, Rob Sinclair and Marcus Kelly also missed Rovers’ last game, a 3-1 defeat at Gateshead.


The New Lawn
Another Way
GL6 0FG (Satnav: GL6 0ET)

Official website:

By coach
The Cards Trust coach leaves the Laithwaite Community Stadium at 11am and costs £19 for members and £24 for non-members, with U16s at £10/£12. Ring (01483 772470) or email the Club Shop ( to book your place or email Alan Barnes on

By car
Take the M4 west-bound towards Bristol and exit at J18. Then head north on the A46 to Nailsworth. At the mini-roundabout turn left onto Spring Hill and The New Lawn is at the top of the road on the left. There is parking at the ground, although this is often taken early, and in

By train
It’s a complicated trip by train to the nearest station, Stroud, which is four miles from the ground. Look up or for details. If you do get there by train, walk three minutes from the station to the bus stop outside Merrywalks Shopping Centre and catch the 63 bus to Forest Green, which takes about 30 minutes. Alternatively, take a taxi.


Main Stand Seating*
Centre: Adults £19, Over 65's £15, Under 22's/Students £11, Under 16's £7, Under 11's Free
Wings (including away section): Adults £17, Over 65's £13, Under 22's/Students £9, Under 16's £6, Under 11's Free

Adults £15, Over 65's £11, Under 22's/Students £7, Under 16's £4, Under 11's Free

* These prices are for tickets purchased in advance of matchday. (You can buy online.) Tickets bought on the day of the match can cost up to £1 more per Adult ticket and 50p per young person/child ticket. Under 11's are still admitted free.


Woking 0 Forest Green Rovers 1
Vanarama National League
18 August 2016

This defeat at the hands of a very capable Forest Green Rovers side came after a decisive loss at home to Lincoln City and a draw and defeat away at Solihull Moors and Southport respectively, reinforcing the suspicion that it was going to be a tough season for the Cards.

Rovers enjoyed much more possession from the outset and scored in the 19th minute through a powerful volley from Keanu Marsh-Brown at the end of a fine move.

The Cards worked hard, with Jake Caprice looking the most likely to inspire any comeback, but Rovers passed the ball around comfortably enough to secure all three points.

Woking: Michael Poke, Ben Gordon, Jake Caprice, Joey Jones, Brian Saah, Keiran Murtagh, Gozie Ugwu (Anthony Edgar 76), Zac Ansah, Nathan Ralph, Dennon Lewis (Charlie Penny 70), Fabio Saraiva (Max Kretzschmar 82)

Unused subs: Brandon Hall, Charlie Carter.

Forest Green Rovers: Sam Russell, Ben Jefford, Drissa Traore, Dale Bennett, Keanu Marsh-Brown, Christian Doidge (Kieffer Moore 82), Ethan Pinnock, Liam Noble, Rob Sinclair (Darren Carter 39), Aarran Racine, Rhys Murphy (Matt Tubbs 68)

Unused subs: Jonny Maxted, Mohamed Chemlal.

Attendance: 864


The Cards are at home to high-flying Dover Athletic on Tuesday 28 February, followed by a trip to basement side North Ferriby United on Saturday 4 March.

Come on, you Cards!

Only Late Bugiel Blasts Silence Cards

Ray Avards
12:00am, Sat 25th Feb 2017
Forest Green Rovers 4 Woking 3
Vanarama National League
25th February 2017

What a dramatic roller coaster of a game this turned out to be. The Cards deservedly levelling following a home goal against the run of play and leading for two minutes in the second half, before coming back to within a goal in stoppage time.

A late change to the team sheet – with, it seemed, a Connor Hall injury - had Kane Ferdinand retaining a midfield berth. With Macaulay in the side already it would have been an attacking 4-3-3 with Hall. As it stood the Cards started in a familiar 5-3-2 led by Gozie Ugwu. Nathan Ralph returned as left wing back for Chris Arthur, Macauley Bonne displacing Max Kretzschmar to the bench, from the home draw with Southport.

A brisk start by both sides saw home striker Christian Doidge have a shot blocked in the first minute, given a sight of goal from a slid pass into the penalty area. The Cards surged back, Jake Caprice and Bonne combining at a throw in for Fabio Saraiva to fire over his shoulder from the penalty spot, beaten by the high bounce of the ball.

Playing with a strong wind blowing down the ground the Cards were straining at the leash. Joey Jones swept a low ball across the goal area from one of many forward forays he would make. Pinnock caught Ugwu as he turned and was penalised. Moments later, a free kick awarded to Woking led to a Yakubu header back across goal and a scramble away. Keiran Murtagh was fouled and Saraiva’s free kick, at an angle from the right, was fired just wide of the far post.

FGR sprang the Cards defence on the counter, Marsh-Brown skipping round Michael Poke, only to find his shot blocked by Poke, back in position, and the ball cleared. Another sweeping FGR break down the right and low ball fired in for Marsh-Brown, saw him just to fail to control it, when had he done so he would surely have beaten Poke.

Woking would not relinquish control of the game, with the wind in their sails. A Caprice break led to successive corners, swung in from either wing by Saraiva. The first just cleared with Terrell Thomas arriving at the near post, the second superbly swung in from the right helped on its way at full stretch by goalkeeper Russell and the third just scrambled clear by the hosts. Within a few moments Woking raided once more, the ball being laid back for Bonne on the edge of the area but his shot was gathered in low down by Russell.

Wishart having fouled Murtagh, Carter unfairly stopped Ugwu and this time saw yellow. Jake Caprice somehow caught up with the ball to force a corner for Cards on another right wing raid. From it FGR didn’t clear and Ugwu’s overhead kick was well over with Bonne poised behind him.

Marsh-Brown, set free, hammered a diagonal shot inches over the far angle of post and cross bar. Doidge was played in and rounded Poke only to screw his shot well wide into the crowd. But FGR were clearly finding gaps. Doidge did have the ball in the net when Michael Poke didn’t deal with a left wing cross, but it was disallowed for a rebound off the striker’s arm, so probably unlucky not to register. A free kick from deep in the Cards off was right in the danger area by Liam Noble came off Poke straight to Marsh-Brown, who shot home, leaving Poke with no chance. A disappointing set piece goal to concede for the Cards.

Woking responded immediately setting up yet another right wing worked move. Murtagh having failed to create a one-two on the edge of FGR’s box, got back to get a foot in and disrupt the rapid counter, at the expense of conceding a corner from the halfway line.

After all their attacking intent it seemed Woking must go in at half time behind. Not so, Joey Jones strode forward with a couple of minutes of normal time remaining in the first half and unleashed a fantastic drive from way out. It sailed past Russell’s despairing right hand and into the top corner. A ‘worldy’ of a goal in modern language.

In two minutes of stoppage time Murtagh slalomed through three home midfielders but could not quite thread a pass through a retreating back line.

Half Time Forest Green Rovers 1 Woking 1

Attacking with the wind, the tables were turned in favour of Forest Green. Almost immediately Ferdinand, in trying to link with his back four, let in the home side. But a square ball on the edge of the ‘D’ did not find a green shirt. The Cards strove to counter and Murtagh found Ugwu to force a save low down by Russell. Jones and Caprice combined beautifully but the latter’s cross was held low down at his near post by Russell again.

Rovers were in the ascendancy. Poke was totally exposed one on one with Noble and then Ellis and forced to make a marvellous double save, the second with his feet, as FGR turned the left of the Woking defence to set it up. Back came Cards and Caprice drove down the right once more to hammer over a head high cross for Ugwu to fly upwards and divert it into the far top corner, for the lead, on 54 minutes. This proved short-lived. First Marsh-Brown got through yet again and Poke saved virtually one on one. Darren Carter curled in the right wing corner left footed and put on a plate for Doidge to head home at the far post to level the scores.

Doidge tried his luck almost from the restart, 25 yards out, but his shot was well over. Woking were on a knife edge at the back now. Ismail Yakubu deflected on a through ball he tried to cut out at full stretch and Cooper, in the area at an angle, also blasted over the bar.

Changes for the Cards in quick succession just after the hour mark as Garry Hill put on Charlie Carter for Bonne and then Dennon Lewis for Yakubu to go four at the back and five in midfield to try to stem the flow of attacks. It did not alter a concerted spell of possession and crosses from FGR. A ball into the area could not be dealt with by Thomas and Cooper ran in front of him, both taking a tumble running away from goal. Referee Rock gave a harsh but difficult to judge penalty. It was to no avail for Forest Green and Carter as Poke read his spot kick and took it comfortably to his left.

Back came the men in green. Ellis got up to a right wing cross at the far post and back across a beaten Poke but Joey Jones was running back and somehow hooked clear from under his own crossbar. Doidge did head home but a foul was given against him or another attacker for a second disallowed home ’goal’. Ultimately, they were not to be denied.

Marsh-Brown gave way to hefty German striker Omar Bugiel. Cooper’s cross forced Poke to tip away Carter’s header. FGR replaced Darren Carter with Bristol Rovers’ loanee Jake Gosling. Murtagh, running back to get a foot in tripped his man and got a yellow card despite his protest - possibly leading to a suspension - as Forest Green surged around the Cards’ rear-guard. He still put his body on the line by a sliding and horizontal block tackle of the ball, in front of goal, moments later. Caprice appeared to limp off with five minutes left, giving way to Max Kretzschmar.

As the clock ticked down Noble fed Wedgebury and his perfect right wing cross was bulleted in by a soaring Bugiel, above Jones, at the back post. The former Worthing striker was in again on the right hand corner of the Woking box in stoppage time, to fire across and round Poke’s despairing dive, for 4-2. He appeared to get a yellow card for the heaped celebration with his team mates.

The Cards were not done, with another pinpoint Saraiva corner being emphatically headed home by Terell Thomas to seal the excitement of a breathless seven goal thriller.

With results around them changing the table little Woking remain in 20th place, now only goal difference keeping them above the drop zone.

Woking face another test in quick succession against playoff chasing contenders, with the visit of Dover to Kingfield this Tuesday. Get down to the Laithwaite Community Stadium to boost the battle in the basement.

Woking: Michael Poke, Jake Caprice (Max Kretzschmar 85), Joey Jones, Terell Thomas, Ismail Yakubu (Dennon Lewis 65), Keiran Murtagh, Kane Ferdinand, Fabio Saraiva, Macauley Bonne (Charlie Carter 62), Gozie Ugwu.

Unused subs: Brandon Hall, Brian Saah.

Goals: Joey Jones 44, Gozie Ugwu 54, Terrell Thomas 94.

Booking; Keiran Murtagh

Forest Green: Sam Russell, Sam Wedgebury, Mark Ellis, Ethan Pinnock, Dan Wishart, Charlie Cooper, Rob Sinclair, Liam Noble, Darren Carter (Jake Gosling 78), Keanu Marsh-Brown (Omar Bugiel 75), Christian Doidge.

Unused subs: Drissa Traore, Dale Bennett, Kaiyne Woolery.

Goals: Marsh Brown 37, Christian Doidge 56, Omar Bugiel 88, 92.

Bookings: Darren Carter, Omar Bugiel.

Referee: David Rock

Attendance: 1,566

My MotM: Joey Jones’s goal was very special. He also contrived to clear a goal bound effort off the line, but I give it to Michael Poke. His heroics, one on ones and penalty save, kept Woking in it.
Forest Green Rovers LINEUP
1Michael Poke
2Jake Caprice ('85)
11Nathan Ralph
3Terell Thomas
4Joey Jones
6Ismail Yakubu ('65)
8Keiran Murtagh
14Fabio Saraiva
22Kane Ferdinand
9Gozie Ugwu
23Macauley Bonne ('62)
18Brandon Hall
5Brian Saah
12Charlie Carter ('62)
15Max Kretzschmar ('85)
16Dennon Lewis ('65)

Forest Green Rovers 4 - 3 Woking (Garry Hill Interview)

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