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Match verdict: Boss Burchnall lauds Forest Green fledglings


Forest Green 2

Accrington Stanley 1

Forest Green boss Ian Burchnall toasted his baby-faced side as Josh March’s 80th-minute winner saw Forest Green halt a three-game losing sequence in a rousing finish against Accrington Stanley. 

Ravaged by injury, Rovers finished the game four teenagers and handed a league debut off the bench to academy graduate Harvey Bunker. 

“We finished the game with four 19-year-olds and one 20-year-old, so with the injuries we have, that’s magnificent. Christian Marquez came in from Wolves on Friday and was outstanding.” 

Burchnall lauded the impact of Chelsea loanee Bryan Fiabema, who teed up March’s winner with his first touch: “I spoke to people in Rosenborg about him and you aren’t a bad player if you are at Chelsea – he had a positive impact but I’m not sure about his hair cut.” 

Tommy Leigh’s 76th-minute strike appeared to have handed Accrington a point before livewire March swept in a ball from Chelsea loanee Bryan Fiabema. 

PSI SH Forest Green Rovers Harrogate United 30April22 03649 | Match verdict: Boss Burchnall lauds Forest Green fledglings
Josh March scored a late winner for Forest Green Pic: Pro Sports Images

Earlier, Reece Brown’s first-half opener gave Ian Burchnall’s side a deserved lead eight minutes before the break as Brown swiveled on the edge of the box to thunder a strike into the bottom of Jensen’s bottom corner from a Myles Peart-Harris assist. 

Sixty seconds into the resumption of the second-half – Ryan Atley spooned over with just Luke McGee to beat as John Coleman’s side looked for a quick response. 

Stanley netted parity with 14 minutes to go. Mitch Clark weaved his way into the box for Leigh to sweep home with 14 minutes to go. Four minutes later Rovers regained the lead. Substitute Fiabema, with his first touch since coming on, squared the ball for March to pounce and give Rovers their first home win of the season.

Deep into stoppage-time Accrington boss Coleman was booked for leaving his technical area and trying to grab a ball back from a ball boy. 

And the frustrated Accrington boss said: “The ball boy should have been dismissed from the side of the pitch. The referee said he’s going to report him but what good is that to us? All I was trying to do was get the ball back and get the game going. 

“It’s all about scoring goals. They scored two and we scored one. 

“We were comfortably in control of the game, but we’ve got no cutting edge at the moment. We’re blunt. 

“You’ve got willing lads who’ll run themselves into the ground, but we’re missing quality. We’ve got to start working goalkeepers. 

“They were low in confidence tonight, but they worked hard and sent their fans home happy. 

“We’ve got to start keeping clean sheets. 

“I’m not travelling overnight anymore. Every time we go away from home and stay overnight we get beat. 

“I’m scratching my head at the moment.” 

Stat Attack

Ratings out of 10

Forest Green Rovers: McGee 7, O’Keeffe 8, Bernard 6 (C), Casey 7, Little 6, Wickham 6 (Stevenson 7, 67), Marques 7, Peart-Harris 8, Davis 7 (Bunker, 6 74), March 7, Brown 7 (Fiabema 7, 79).

Subs not used: Thomas, Hendry, Jones, McAllister.

Accrington Stanley: Jenson, Clark, Hamilton, Atley, Coyle (Connelly 54), Whalley (Woods 65), Leigh, Lowe, McConville (C), Rodgers, Tharme.

Subs not used: Sangare, Nolan, Sloane, Savin, Fernandes.

Referee: Andy Woolmer.

Attendance: 2,007 (34 away).

Star Man: Myles Peart-Harris – Brentford loanee made Rovers tick.

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