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Ball: If we’re not promoted automatically, we’ll go to Wembley

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Interim Forest Green boss Jimmy Ball insists automatic promotion is still on with four games to go. 

Ball, son of England World Cup winner Alan made it a win and a draw in his opening games since replacing axed boss Mark Cooper last week as his side  shared the spoils in a scoreless draw against play-off rivals Exeter City  at the Innocent New Lawn. 

“I think a point was fair,” said Ball. 

“In the first half you would’ve had us on top, but both teams know they been in one. Two good teams have had a dust up tonight, but you take it and move on. 

“Defensively I thought we were different class against the league’s top scorers.” 

With four games of the regular season to go, Rovers remain anchored inside the play-off places in sixth, and Ball believes anything is possible as his side enter the final straight. 

He added: “There are twelve points to play for. Anything can happen. If we’re not promoted automatically, we’ll go to Wembley. 

“If we keep creating the chances we are, we’re going to win games. 

“That’s four points from two games for me. We’ve got a lot of spirit back and the lads are giving everything for each other.” 

Rovers started the game brightly –  Ebou Adams inducing a save off the boot of  Jökull Andrésson inside the opening 10 minutes and Aaron Collins fizzed wide of the mark. 

Exeter survived a penalty appeal on 25 minutes – Lewis Page swatting the ball away with his hand after the ball broke following a charged-down Kane WIlson shot. 

On the cusp of the break, Rovers’ Dom Bernard took a tumble under a challenge but protests were ignored by former Premier League referee Bobby Madley. 

Pierce Sweeney missed a free header straight after the break – planting his header wide from a Matt Jay corner. 

Exeter were bossing the game – Jay forcing Luke McGee to save with his feet. However,  Rovers nearly broke the deadlock on 76 minutes – substitute  Richardson spanking the underside of the Exter bar from just inside the box. 

Exeter are now  three points outside the top seven and one place behind Newport County in eighth who they welcome on Saturday. 

And Grecians boss Matt Taylor insists Exeter City’s match at home to play-off rivals Newport is now a must-win. 

He said: We’re stumbling at the moment and can’t quite get there. We now have to reset, but it’s difficult when you can’t do much work on the training ground. 

“The big plus was staying in the game in the first half because it could’ve been a lot worse. 

“But the boys have given everything and they’re out on their feet. 

“We were off the pace in the first half. We improved in the second half and could’ve won the game. We were second best in our individual battles in the early part of the game. 

“Newport on Saturday is now a must-win game.” 

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