Rovers run the show but with no reward
SEAMUS Conneely sealed the three points for Accrington on a day when basement side Forest Green Rovers gave the promotion hopefuls a run for their money.
Having been second best for an hour, the visitors came off the ropes to land a classic sucker punch, Conneely beating Rovers keeper Sam Russell with a fierce drive that went in off the inside of the post.
In sharp contrast, Drissa Traore’s longrange drive came back off the crossbar as Forest Green staged a spirited late rally in a bid to salvage the point their performance warranted.
“That’s how it goes when you’re down at the wrong end of the table,” said Rovers boss Mark Cooper.
Accrington manager John Coleman was in no mood to disagree.
He conceded: “For an hour, Forest Green ran rings around us. You would have thought they were the team at the top of the table and we were the one at the bottom.
“I have to take my hat off to them for the way they set up and played. If they carry on playing like that, they’ll rocket up the table for sure.
“They dominated the game and forced us to change our system.But once we brought on Scotty Brown, I thought we improved and got a foothold in the game.”
Brown’s introduction in the 54th minute proved a turning point.
Target man Jonny Edwards went off, Accrington adopted a fluent pass and move approach, and Conneely fired them in front within minutes.
As well as they played, Forest Green were left to rue a series of missed chances. Hesitant in the final third, they lacked a killer touch in front of goal; Omar Bugiel, Dan Wishart and Christian Doidge all sending efforts off-target when they ought to have done better. Influential midfielder Traore almost rescued a point five minutes from time, beating Accrington keeper Aaron Chapman with a dipping drive that thudded against the cross bar and went behind.
Although bitterly disappointed with a third consecutive defeat that leaves his side at the foot of the table, Rovers manager Cooper sought solace in an improved performance.
He said: “I thought that was our best performance of the season. We controlled the game, but when you’re struggling, these things happen.
“They had a half chance and scored, and we couldn’t quite finish off the possession we had. We had 60 per cent of the ball in the first half, but we need to make more of possession and the forwards have to gamble more.”