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We’ve got to stay focused – Steve Cotterill on fight to avoid relegation


Forest Green Rovers 0

MK Dons 2

Forest Green boss Steve Cotterill is urging his side to fight to the death as the season reaches a nail biting conclusion.

Rovers’ hopes of staying in League Two were impeded against promotion-chasing  MK Dons’ after goals in each half from Max Dean and Alex Gilbey, left Rovers rooted to the foot of the table – three points adrift of safety with four games to play. 

However, ebullient Cotterill felt his side were right in the mix throughout the game, he said: “I thought in the first half, up until the goal, we might have had the better chances.

“They’re a good team and are up there for a reason and it could have been so different.

“I’m disappointed with the result and the manner of the goals, but. I’m not disappointed with their performance.

“I thought today was a decent performance from  us. I thought we did lots of things right today, but we didn’t  have that bit of luck and we make a mistake and it ended up in the back of our net. You know, they made a couple of mistakes and we haven’t managed to. capitalise on them but. Originally coming into this, it was going to be a tough week ahead for us, but we’ve got to stay focused. We’ve got another game on Tuesday night to prepare for and another tough game next week.”

Earlier, despite Dons’ vice-like control of the ball it took 12 minutes to register their first shot in anger – Dean fizzing over from Leeds loanee Lewis Bate’s scampering run into the box and delicate cut-back. 

Rovers responded. Christian Doidge’s overhead kick released lively strike partner Jordon Garrick, who was a whisker from putting his side ahead as goalkeeper Michael Kelly dashed from his line. 

Rovers pressed the self-destruct button five minutes before the break. Dom Thompson inexplicably surrendered the ball to Dean, who finished with aplomb beyond Vicente Reyes.

A scuffle ensued as both teams entered the tunnel at the break, but it was the promotion-chasing Dons who came out punching a minute after the restart – Norwich City loanee Reyes’ gloving a Gilbey strike from the edge of the box. 

And it was Gilbey who grabbed a second for the Dons as  Bate cut Rovers open on 50 minutes for Kyran Lofthouse to pick out Gilbey who made no mistake.

Dons’ win at Rovers sees Williamson’s side leapfrog up to third in the table with three games to go. The Dons’ boss heaped praise on his side against a Forest Green side fighting for their League Two future: “The lads deserve a lot of credit because it was a real hard battle for 95 minutes and we had to show all sides of our character.

“We were huffing and puffing and I thought as though our frustration was starting to seep a little bit, but we need to just keep a lid on that and just purely focus on what we were trying to achieve. And because it’s a tight pitch and they were very organised and disciplined, it was going to be fine margins. We’re going to enjoy ourselves, that’s the only way to go about things. When I came in we could see what the remaining games were and the state of play, and so I would have snapped your hands off to be where we are now.”

Gilbey and Dean have been key to the Dons’ promotion ambitions but Williamson felt it was a collective effort: “They’re huge characters, big personalities, and a lot of quality for us on the pitch. But for me, the emphasis is on growth, and I feel like it’s a real collective effort.”. 


Forest Green: Reyes; Inniss, Keogh, Moore-Taylor; Thompson (Dabo 78), McCann (Maddox 78), Osadebe (Bunker 89), Robson, McAllister (Jones 78) ; Garrick, Doidge (Omotoye 89)

Subs not used: Searle, Bernard

MK Dons: Kelly; Lewington, Tucker, O’Hora, Gilbey (Kemp 89), Payne (Robson 74), Dean ( Harrison 69), Harvie (Norman 69), Wearne ( Tezgel 74) , Lofthouse, Bate

Subs not used: Marschall, Norman, Williams

Referee: Mr Andy Davies

Attendance: 2,507

Away fans: 571

FGR star man: Jordan Moore-Taylor

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