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Gaffer tapes: Burchnall heaps praise on Wickham


Forest Green boss Ian Burchnall heaped praise on former Premier League striker Connor Wickham as his fifth goal of the season handed struggling Rovers their second home win of the season over an abject Bolton Wanderers.

The former Premier League striker pounced 13 minutes before the break to grab a vital victory for Burchnall’s side.

Burchnall purred: “He (Connor Wickham) has been brilliant since arriving in the building, he keeps scoring and when Corey O’Keeffe cut the ball back you hope Connor is on the end of it and it was a good finish and such a brilliant team goal.

“ I’m very proud of them today, we’ve had a good week planning for this game and the boys executed everything on point.”

Burchnall championed  the return of defender Baily Cargill after six weeks on the sidelines: “I don’t really want to single players out as it was a fantastic, full-team performance, but I thought Baily (Cargill) was outstanding and he gave us much better balance and gave us a lot with the ball and without it he was brilliant – we asked for  a reaction from the Burton defeat and we got it.”

The Rovers boss lauded the fans who have recently called for his head: “The fans were great today, we need their backing when not winning and we are all in it together.”

It was Forest Green who conjured the first meaningful chance on 12 minutes.  Reece Brown and Kyle McAllister opened the Trotters up, but Armani Little fluffed his lines – firing into the feet of on-loan Manchester City keeper James Trafford as the net bulged in anticipation.

Chances were at a premium but Rovers got their noses in front before the break – Corey O’Keeffe’s run and cross from the byeline found the predatory Wickham lurking inside the box to thump in his fourth goal in five games beyond the helpless Trafford.

Bolton cranked up the heat after the break and were a whisker from a 58th-minute equaliser, but McGee’s sharp reflexes denied Dion Charles. It was Charles who should have snatched a point for the Trotters with six minutes to go, but he elected to drill the ball into McGee. With a minute of normal time to go, Bolton substitute Kieran Sadler volleyed wide with just McGee to beat as Rovers held out.

Bolton boss Ian Evatt isn’t planning a knee-jerk reaction after a second 1-0 defeat in the Cotswolds in a week, losing 1-0 at Cheltenham Town on Tuesday: “It was one of those games where we could’ve played ‘til next week and not scored.

“We had lots of opportunities, we just didn’t take one. We completely dominated the game.

“We have to find a way to play with the intensity we had in the second half but from the first minute.

“In the first half, they got into our box twice. Traff saves one shot and they score with the other.

“I don’t think there’s any need for knee-jerk reactions. We’ve lost two games, but you’re allowed to lose.

“We’ll strive to improve and come back better.

“I think we’ve still got the best defensive records in the league, but there was a lapse on Tuesday and another today.

“It’s amazing how hard it is to build up confidence, but it’s quick to slip away.

“We need to get our heads down, work hard and come out fighting.”

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