Forest Green 0 Charlton Athletic 1
By Matt Gilby
at the Bolt New Lawn
Forest Green manager Duncan Ferguson believes his side put in their best performance of his tenure so far despite falling to a 1-0 defeat at home to Charlton Athletic.
Rovers fell behind to a Corey Blackett-Taylor goal in the 11th minute but improved as the match went on and they were unlucky not to grab an equaliser as a flurry of chances were squandered.
Ferguson has only picked up one point in his first four games, but said: “I don’t look at the table as it would keep me up at night, but that’s the best performance in four games.
“The second half we were absolutely outstanding. We covered every blade of grass, we created a lot of chances and stuck to the game plan.
“How on earth we didn’t get a goal is beyond me.”
Despite the improved performance, Rovers were unable to find the back of the net and remain bottom of Sky Bet League One on 22 points, four behind nearest challenger Cambridge United.
Amadou Bakayoko and Myles Peart-Harris both skied great opportunities to bring the home side level either side of a Brandon Cooper header that was kept out expertly by Ashley Maynard-Brewer.
“We had good chances but couldn’t take one of them. Putting the ball in the back of the net is the hardest part of the game,” added Ferguson.
“The players have been excellent, but you need the rub of the green sometimes.”
The Scotsman also had plenty of praise for the performance of 19-year-old Charlie Savage, who came on to make his debut for the Gloucestershire side in the 65th minute.
“When you get your chance you’ve got to be ready and Charlie has worked his socks off in training and I thought he was absolutely excellent.”
The victory for Charlton means they move up to 11th place, leapfrogging Exeter City who were held to a goalless draw at home to Shrewsbury Town.
Addicks manager Dean Holden was pleased that his side returned to winning ways following their defeat to Fleetwood at the weekend.
“It was a funny game but for 20 minutes we were outstanding,” said Holden.
“We should have seen that game out much more comfortably. The second half we stopped playing in behind them, they were trapping us in midfield and we caused our own problems.”
“But we’ve responded from the defeat at the weekend with a win and that’s a really good sign.”
Looking ahead, Forest Green will travel to promotion-chasing Ipswich on Saturday as the pressure builds to pick up points. The side are yet to win a league match in 2023 and sit nine points adrift of safety with 14 games still to be played.
Forest Green Rovers: Doohan- 6, Bernard– 6, Casey- 6, Cooper- 7, Robson- 5, McGeouch 8, Stevenson- 6, O’Keeffe- 7, Peart-Harris- 6,, Garrick- 7, Bakayoko- 6
Substitutes: McAllister- 6, Savage- 7, Godwin-Malife- 6, Omotoye- 7
Charlton Athletic: Maynard-Brewer- 7, Clare- 6, Inniss- 7, Ness- 7, Sessegnon- 6, Kilkenny- 7, Dobson- 7, Fraser- 6, Rak-Sakyi- 7, Aneke- 6, Blackett-Taylor- 8
Substitutes: Bonne- 6, Hector- 7, Payne– 6
Referee: Christopher Pollard- 9