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We have to beat Tranmere and Oldham, insists Ball as Rovers drop out of the play-offs

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Optimistic interim Forest Green head coach Jimmy Ball has urged his side to win the last two remaining games of the season as Rovers slid out of the play-offs.

Goals from Scott Quigley and Bobby Thomas wrapped up Barrow’s 2-0 victory that secured their League Two status. Grimsby Town’s defeat at Exeter City coupled with this win in the Cotswolds ensured the Bluebirds remained in the Football League for another season.

Rovers’ bad night was compounded as Salford City hit a late winner at Bradford City to knock Ball’s side out of the top seven.

Quigley’s opener came from the penalty spot on 18 minutes after Bobby Thomas had been fouled.

And it was Thomas who doubled Barrow’s advantage on 25 minutes when he rifled into the roof of the net after home keeper Luke McGee kept out a Calvin Andrew strike.

The Bluebirds could have added to their tally when a Neal Eardley free-kick hit the post while the home side’s best effort fell to Jake Young early in the second half, prompting a full-length save from Joel Dixon.

Forest Green’s interim head coach Ball lamented a poor start for his side, who failed to score for a third game.

He said: “We were a bit slow out of the blocks today – a bit short in first-half, but in the second-half we were fantastic and had a right go, and knocked on the door. 

“Over my four games in charge, we’ve had one poor half of football and we got punished tonight. Barrow deserved the victory on the night – happy they’ve stayed up and secured their league status, but disappointed for us.”

Despite dropping out of the play-offs, Ball is looking at the positives and with two games of the regular season to go Rovers are now eighth, a point behind Salford.

He added: “We’ve had something taken off us and we’re going to grab it back – we have to win our last two games – we have to beat Tranmere and Oldham.”

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