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‘Blatant penalty’ – Forest Green manager Rob Edwards reacts after 1-1 draw with Sutton United

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Forest Green boss Rob Edwards saw his side come from behind to grab a point at Sutton United – before sharing his frustration at being denied a “blatant penalty”.

Named manager of the month for January – his third gong of a spectacular season, Edwards felt his side deserved a penalty when substitute Josh March appeared to be pushed in the box in the dying embers of a game low on quality due to an unforgiving playing surface.

Edwards said: “It was a really tough game in difficult conditions – the pitch isn’t conducive to playing football on, it was a dead pitch with a lot of sand on it, but it was the same for both teams. It looked like a blatant penalty when he (Josh March was pulled back, but we didn’t get it.”

PSI SH Sutton United Forest Green Rovers 12Feb22 3909 | ‘Blatant penalty’ – Forest Green manager Rob Edwards reacts after 1-1 draw with Sutton United
Sutton United defender Ben Goodliffe and Forest Green striker Josh March
Pic: Shane Healey/ Pro Sports Images

The game roared into life when veteran Sutton midfielder Kenny Davis clipped home a stunning first-half free-kick to see Rovers fall behind for the second time in a week, but Kane Wilson’s neat finish after the break allowed the league leaders to stretch their unbeaten run to 19 league games and maintain their 10-point cushion at the top of the league two tree.

Edwards cut a frustrated figure at half-time, but rallied his side at the break.

He added: “I was disappointed in the manner we conceded it but it was a good free-kick. We were tentative in the first half, but we had to be more aggressive and positive in our play and I thought we were after the break.”

Rovers went back into their shell after Wilson grabbed parity from a sublime Nicky Cadden assist, with Ben Stevenson heading and Cadden clearing off the line and Luke McGee fingering a Davis howitzer, as the league two newcomers turned up the heat.

PSI SH Sutton United Forest Green Rovers 12Feb22 3704 | ‘Blatant penalty’ – Forest Green manager Rob Edwards reacts after 1-1 draw with Sutton United
Nicky Cadden shoots for goal Pic: Shane Healey/ Pro Sports Images

Edwards reserved special praise for Cadden: “It was great from Cadds (Nicky Cadden) and our opposite wing-back (Kane Wilson) to be in the right position, and he had to really concentrate on the finish and it was really good technique. Cadds set one up and cleared one off the line -really pleased for him as he was back doing his job.”

With promotion seemingly a given, Edwards is keeping his foot firmly on the pedal, he said: “That’s 16 games to go, a third of the season and 48 points to play for. It has been a good run, but we must keep our foot down and keep it going.”

STAT ATTACK

Sutton: D Bouzanis, J Kizzi, B Wyatt, A Smith(sub J Barden 86), B Goodliffe, L John, D Ajiboye, K Davis, R Bennett O Bugiel 70), D Wilson, W Randall(sub E Boldewijn 83).

Subs not used: Nelson, Rowe, Beautyman, Korboa.

Booked: Ajiboye.

Forest Green: L McGee, K Wilson, U Godwin-Malife, J Moore-Taylor, B Cargill, N Cadden, B Stevenson, E Adams, M Stevens J March 78), J Aitchison D Sweeney 83), J Matt.

Subs not used: L Thomas, D Bernard, T Allen, S Diallo, K McAteer

Referee: James Bell

Attendance: 3,314 (306 away)

Star Man: Nicky Cadden.

Next up: Forest Green welcome Walsall to the Fully Charged New Lawn on Saturday, 3pm.

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