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Forest Green boss delivers Newport County verdict as race to the title rolls on


Forest Green 2 Newport County 0

Measured Forest Green boss Rob Edwards remains grounded despite the champions-elect looking a shoo-in for the title.

With the bookies already paying out, Rovers now boast a 10- point cushion at the top and 14 points clear in the automatics, but there’s no room for complacency in Edwards’ eyes.

“No, we aren’t taking anything for granted,” revealed Edwards after Rovers’ comfortable victory over Newport. “Getting 1-0 up was key at half-time in the conditions, but  my only criticism was we could have been a bit more ruthless, but that’s another good clean sheet for us.”

Edwards was delighted with the way his side contained  Newport hot-shot DomTelford, the League Two leading marksman.

He said: “We nullified Dom Telford and we kept his team who supply him, quiet.”

Matty Stevens’ brace extended Forest Green’s unbeaten run to 17 games as the runaway leaders produced another ruthless display.

Goals in each half saw Stevens take his personal tally to 19 league goals thanks to two Kane Wilson assists.

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Matty Stevens nods in his second Pic: Shane Healey/ Pro Sports Image

In a high-octane opening, it was Forest Green who conjured the first opportunity – Stevens misdirecting his header from a Nicky Cadden cross.

County responded – Liverpool loanee Jake Cain fizzing a corner onto the head of Courtney Baker- Richardson who induced Luke McGee into a plunging save.

Rovers broke the deadlock on 33 minutes. Wison picked the ball up in his own half to motor into the Newport box and flick the ball to Stevens who smashed the ball home for the opener.

Jack Aitchison fluffed his lines for Rovers on the cusp of half-time – firing into Nick Townsend after picking the pocket of Scott Bennett.

Forest Green made an electric start to the second-half – Wilson standing the ball up on the head of Stevens who watched his strike gathered by Townsend.

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Kane Wilson steps on the gas Pic: Shane Healey/ Pro Sports Images

The Wilson and Stevens combination proved pivotal again as Wilson’s dinked cross was met by the head of Stevens for his second of the game on 61 minutes.

The well-shackled Dom Telford flickered into life for Newport, but McGee blocked at his feet. Rovers were close to a third when Baily Cargill’s header was touched over as Newport’s four-game winning sequence came to an end. 

And Edwards toasted the mazy run of Wilson who conjured the opening goal for Stevens, he added: “Kane Wilson’s run was incredible – a Roy of the Rovers run, the length of the pitch, and Matty Stevens was in the right place at the right time for the finish.

“We won the games because of the lads’ hard work, and the players deserve a lot of credit but it’s just another game.”

County boss James Rowberry felt his side lacked their usual quality, he said: “We didn’t really capitalise on our final ball. We lacked the little bit of quality we usually have. Saying that, the lads have been brilliant in the time I’ve been here.

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Nicky Cadden races forward Pic: Shane Healey/ Pro Sports Images

“We’ve just got to go again on Tuesday.”

And the County boss was impressed with classy Forest Green. He said: “They’re an excellent team. They have the ability to mix it up. They go long and they can also play good football and when they have someone like Jamille Matt up front they can stretch you.”

Forest Green: McGee 7, Wilson 8, Cargill 7, Stevenson 7, Adams 9, Stevens 8, Aitchison 8, Cadden 7, Matt 7 (captain), Moore-Taylor 8, Godwin-Malife 7.

Substitutes: Thomas, Bernard, Sweeney, Allen, Young, Diallo, March.
Goals: Stevens (2)

Newport County: Townsend, Norman, Pask, Demetriou, Haynes, Bennett, Cain, Azaz, Cooper, Telford, Baker-Richardson.

Substitutes: Day, Clarke, Dolan, Willmott, Collins.

Yellow: Pask, Cain, Street

Referee: David Rock

Attendance: 3,817 (1,224)

Star Man: Ebou Adams – bossed the game in the middle of the park.

Next up: Rovers face Rochdale at the Fully Charged New Lawn on Tuesday, 7.45pm.

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