COOPER: DOIDGE CAN TAKE US FAR

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO - By An­drew Stock­hausen

MARK Cooper is tip­ping Christian Doidge to score goals on a reg­u­lar ba­sis in League Two this sea­son.

A serv­ing po­lice­man un­til a cou­ple of years ago, the For­est Green Rovers striker made his­tory by reg­is­ter­ing the Glouces­ter­shire club’s first-ever goals in the Foot­ball League.

Last sea­son’s lead­ing scorer with 27 in the Na­tional League, Doidge opened his League Two ac­count with a well-taken dou­ble shortly be­fore half time.

Bar­net staged a su­perb sec­ond-half come­back, Jean Louis Akpa Akpro and Ja­mal Camp­bell-Ryce peg­ging back the League Two new­com­ers to earn the vis­i­tors a de­served point.

But Doidge pro­vided the main talk­ing point for Rovers fans af­ter the game, and man­ager Cooper was quite pre­pared to talk up his striker's prospects.

He said: “Christian has played at this level be­fore and has im­proved a lot since then. He scored a lot of goals for us last sea­son and I’m sure he will score goals in League Two as well.

“He signed a new contract in the week and is one of a num­ber of tal­ented young play­ers we have here.

“We must re­alise quickly that we have gone up a level and can­not af­ford to hand the ini­tia­tive to the op­po­si­tion.

“I thought we started re­ally well and played some good foot­ball in the first half. But we dropped deeper af­ter go­ing two-up and in­vited them on. We have some re­ally good young play­ers here, but they have to be brave and not let up when they are in front. They will learn from this.”

Af­ter an un­marked Akpo Akpro headed over from six yards in the 28th minute and Chelsea-loa­nee Brad Collins saved bril­liantly from Shaquile Coulthirst, the Foot­ball League’s new­est side took full ad­van­tage when Char­lie Clough left the field to re­ceive treat­ment for a head wound.

Doidge scored twice in as many min­utes, head­ing in Char­lie Cooper’s corner be­fore lob­bing a stranded Jamie Stephens af­ter col­lect­ing Lee Collins long ball.

But veteran cam­paigner Camp­bell-Ryce in­spired a spir­ited come­back from Bar­net in the sec­ond half, see­ing a shot saved by Collins, only for Akpo Akpro to head in the re­bound in the 58th minute.

And the Bees were level five min­utes later, Camp­bell-Ryce mak­ing the most of space on the edge of box to drill a low shot into the corner to earn the vis­i­tors a de­served point – with Bar­net’s Jack Tay­lor re­ceiv­ing his march­ing or­ders in the fi­nal minute for a sec­ond yel­low card.

Bees head coach Rossi Eames said: “It was al­ways go­ing to be a big day for For­est Green and I warned the play­ers not to get sucked into all of that.

“They played the oc­ca­sion in the first half and it took us a while to get the cob­webs off.

“But we changed things up in the sec­ond half and matched them, and I was re­ally pleased with the foot­ball we pro­duced. To come from two be­hind was ex­cel­lent, I have to be happy with that.”

PIC­TURES: PSI/Shane Healey

HIS­TORY MAN: For­est Green’s Christian Doidge scores their first ever League goal STAR MAN CAMPBELLRYCE Bar­net

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