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Ball bounce – Jimmy Ball gets Rovers off to a record-breaking start


Interim head coach Jimmy Ball thinks he may have made it into the Guinness Book of World Records.

Ball, son of England World Cup winner Alan, who replaced axed boss Mark Cooper,  got off to a flying start as goals from Jordan Moore-Taylor, Ebou Adams and Chris Stokes saw Rovers end a four-game losing streak get their play-off hopes back on track with five games to go after a 3-2 victory over Scunthorpe United.

Ball follows in the managerial footsteps of his dad Alan and grandfather Alan senior, in managing in the Football League.

He said: “I’m waiting for someone to tell me that it has been done before, anywhere in the world, and no one has yet, so if that’s a fact then it’s incredible. Obviously, Sir Alex and Darren Ferguson have, Terry and Mark Cooper, Brian, and Nigel Clough, but I don’t know if three generations have done that before. We’re a very proud family of our football and it would be amazing.

An academy coach at Rovers, Ball joined in the summer  from the Stoke City youth set-up, but is taking it game-by-game as he aims to give Forest Green fresh impetus going into the final five games of the regular season.

” I’m sad Mark Cooper lost his job – he’s a good man, but I’ve been given an opportunity and had to take it. The club is about the future, the ethos is about the future, but I can’t think like that at the moment. I’ve got to think about three points, winning games of football and giving this club the opportunity to be where it wants to be, which is at the top of this league and being extremely competitive, and if not here, then in League One.”

From the get-go, Scunthorpe keeper Rory Watson miraculously denied  Stokes the opener – gloving the ball off his line from Nicky Cadden’s corner.

Rovers got their noses in front on 21 minutes  –  Moore-Taylor nodded in from an Adams’ cross. Harrison McGahey levelled for Scunthorpe on the cusp of the break, drilling beyond Luke McGee.

Abo Eisa put the Iron ahead on 52 minutes – spanking the ball into the bottom of McGhee’s net from just inside the box. Rovers netted parity on 72 minutes – Cadden’s free-kick glanced in off the unmarked Adams’ head.

Cadden fluffed his lines from the penalty spot with 11 minutes to go after Adams was fouled by Jacob Bedeau, but a minute later Rovers regained the lead – captain Stokes stabbing the ball through a crowded goalmouth.

Ball heaped praise on Scunthorpe keeper Watson, who produced a save of Gordon Banks standard in the first-half.

Ball added: Their goalkeeper made an outrageous save off Chris Stokes, it was like Gordon Banks’ save off Pele and he made another world-class save in the second-half.”

Meanwhile, Iron boss Neil Cox doesn’t want the season to meander out, he said: “We were disappointed not to see the game out when we were 2-1 up. 

“We can’t just let the season fizzle out. We don’t want that sort of mentality at the club.

“We’ll go again, but we need to learn quickly how to defend from set-pieces.”

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