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This is a big, big win for us today – Forest Green boss Steve Cotterill on vital victory over Walsall

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Forest Green 2 Walsall 0

Fasten your seatbelts, strap yourself in, the white knuckle Forest Green rollercoaster ride is underway.

In arguably Forest Green’s most tumultuous season, Steve Cotterill shrewd late season appointment could be the difference between League Two survival against a return to non-league obscurity and the financial insecurity that comes from relegation.

Cotterill is what you call a proper manager and his cajoling of a team previously strewn of confidence is proving to be the winning formula.

This was in evidence in a surprise win over in-form Walsall – a third win in six catapulted Steve Cotterill’s men to two points off safety.

The game turned on 64 minutes. A decisive break saw Christian Doidge hit the post and Emmanuel Osadebe was on hand to finish with ease.

Norwich loanee Vicente Reyes was on his mettle when he gloved away an Isaac Hutchinson penalty. Seconds later, David Okagbue was sent off after picking up a second yellow card.

It was game over for the Saddlers when Craig McAllister kept his composure to lash in a penalty with nine minutes ago.

An ecstatic Cotterill said: “This is a big, big win for us. They’re a good team.

“It was a tough game and we knew it would be. They were on the crest of a wave and have had some good results.

“We started a bit scratchy, but it’s been difficult for them (the players). Mentally – and with the injuries we’ve had – it’s been really difficult for them, so we need the supporters’ backing.

Steve Cotterill gives his post-match synopsis to BBC Radio Gloucestershire’s Billy Hunt

“There are going to be bumps in the road, but it is about us staying focused, being determined and being honest.

“It’s about staying in the game when things are tough for you. When things are tough you have to dig in harder and we’ve done well.”

Cotterill heaped praise on keeper Vicente Reyes, who denied Hutchinson from the spot: “Vini (Vicente Reyes) has been fantastic ever since has been here. He is a great lad and he will get some plaudits today – and rightfully so as well by the way. 

“But it is always a team effort and there will be some other chances that Walsall have had where we have got some fantastic blocks in today as well.”

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