COOPER: DOIDGE CAN TAKE US FAR
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.”
HISTORY MAN: Forest Green’s Christian Doidge scores their first ever League goal STAR MAN CAMPBELLRYCE Barnet