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Forest Green Rovers 1 v 2 Ipswich Town
SkyBet League One
Saturday, 6th August 2022 Kick-off 15:00
Forest Green Rovers 1-2 Ipswich Town - Match Report
Saturday, 6th Aug 2022 17:08

First-half goals from Marcus Harness and Sam Morsy saw Town to a 2-1 victory over Forest Green Rovers at the Bolt New Lawn, Josh March having pulled one back for the home side in the second. Harness netted his first Town goal in the 37th minute, then Morsy curled a stunning strike into the top corner in first-half injury time before March made it a nervy second period for Town with his 64th-minute goal.

The Blues were forced into one change from last week’s 1-1 draw at home to Bolton with Luke Woolfenden absent due to illness and Cameron Burgess replacing him in the backline.

Otherwise, the Blues named the same team which started against the Trotters with Christian Walton in goal and Janoi Donacien and George Edmundson, who moved into the middle of the back three, the other centre-halves.

Wes Burns and Leif Davis were the wing-backs with skipper Sam Morsy and Lee Evans in the midfield.

Conor Chaplin and Marcus Harness were behind lone out-and-out striker Freddie Ladapo.

Midfielder Rekeem Harper was also ill and was replaced on the bench by Kane Vincent-Young.

Forest Green, hosting their first League One match and facing Town for the first time, named the same team which won 2-1 away at Bristol Rovers last week with former Blues striker Connor Wickham, who joined them on Wednesday, not included in the 18.

The home side were first to threaten, Burgess slipping and allowing Forest Green skipper Jamille Matt the ball and some space just outside the area, however, Davis got across to dispossess him.

The ball subsequently ran wide to Corey O’Keeffe on the right of the box but the wing-back took a theatrical tumble as he took it past Burgess and out of play with referee Craig Hicks waving away his protests.

Town immediately threatened with Davis winning a corner on the left from which Morsy was found in space at the back of the box. The skipper took a touch before hitting a shot which was going wide before Edmundson nodded over.

The Blues briefly began to take charge but became sloppy against a determined Forest Green side not allowing them any time on the ball and with their fans getting behind them.

On nine, after Town had lost the ball on halfway, Regan Hendry shot well over from distance, then three minutes later Harness hit a low effort from the edge of the box from a Donacien ball in from the right, which home keeper Luke McGee claimed with little fanfare.

The Blues did gain control as the game moved towards the 20-minute mark and in the 21st minute went close to going in front.

Burns stood up a cross from the right and Morsy headed goalwards from the centre of the area but McGee saved, although with the Town players claiming the ball struck a Forest Green hand on its way through to him.

Two minutes later, Harness played the ball into Ladapo’s feet on the edge of the area and the striker hit a shot on the turn which McGee palmed away for a corner.

The flag-kick came to nothing and in the aftermath, with Evans clearly having been fouled, Forest Green broke but Udoka Godwin-Malife’s cross from the right was hooked behind by Burgess. Godwin-Malife suffered an injury as he made his cross and was replaced by Dom Bernard.

Town continued to dominate and as the game reached the half-hour mark Chaplin struck a low shot on the turn from the edge of the area on the right which McGee claimed at his post.

Despite the Blues having been well on top, Forest Green went very close to going in front in the 36th minute. O'Keeffe played a great low ball into the area for Matt from the right but Walton superbly came off his line to block from the home skipper, the ball ricocheting back off the former Newport man and out for a goal-kick.

Immediately, Town went up the other end and went in front via Harness’s first goal for the club.

Morsy sent Davis away on the left and the former Leeds man crossed low into the box. Baily Cargill cut it out at a stretch and Ladapo hit a shot which was blocked but the loose ball fell to Harness around 12 yards out from where the ex-Portsmouth man slammed into the top corner of the net to the keeper’s right.

On 43, Harness hit a low effort which McGee saved down to his right, then in the final scheduled minute of the half Davis was just thwarted at the far post by Bernard as a cross came over from the right.

And in injury time, the Blues doubled their lead and what a goal it was. Burns twisted and turned around 15 yards out before laying the ball to Morsy, who brilliantly curled into the top corner of McGee’s net. It was a superb strike and will have more than made up for last week’s late miss against Bolton.

The whistle ended the half soon afterwards with the Blues good for their lead over the balance of the half.

However, the might well have found themselves behind had Walton not read and reacted to Matt’s chance for Forest Green moments before Harness’s goal, the former Pompey man taking his opportunity clinically.

But the forward’s goal was eclipsed by Morsy’s strike just before the break which has given the Blues a lead at the break which ought to be unassailable.

Forest Green swapped former Wolves and Birmingham midfielder David Davis for Josh March at the break and on 51 Ben Stevenson was shown the game’s first yellow card for a trip on Morsy on halfway.

Two minutes later, the Blues were allowed to take a quick free-kick not far outside the area, Ladapo receiving the ball inside the box on the right from Chaplin, turning his man then curling a shot well wide.

In the 59th minute, Forest Green were repeatedly unable to fully clear following a Town corner on the left and eventually Evans curled a shot over and off the advertising hoarding at the top of the stand.

The home side made two changes in the 62nd minute with Stevenson, who had suffered a knock, and Kyle McAllister making way for debutant Sean Robertson and Armani Little.

Two minutes later, they pulled a goal back with sub Little at the heart of it. The former Torquay man worked himself space on the right of the area and hit a shot which Walton blocked, but the loose ball fell to March, who smashed into the roof of the net.

Town, suddenly under some pressure, swapped Davis, who had had a more effective afternoon at left wing-back than last week, for Greg Leigh.

Forest Green thought they’d levelled on 68 when March again found the net but having strayed offside.

A minute later, with the home fans now making more noise than at any time during the afternoon, Walton made a brilliant double save, first blocking from March, then stopping Robertson’s follow-up with his legs.

Town, who were somewhat under the cosh, made another two changes, Chaplin and Harness making way for Sone Aluko and Tyreece John-Jules.

The Blues began to show more composure and on 75 Aluko scraped a low shot wide after a neat interchange of passes on the right. Three minutes later, Reece Brown was booked for a foul on Morsy on halfway.

In the 81st minute, Burns crossed from the right, Ladapo took the ball down and then hit a shot on the turn which deflected over.

Town, who had restored control of the game, switched Ladapo and Burns for Kayden Jackson and Vincent-Young in the 84th minute.

A minute later, Morsy cut out a cross from the left, then fed Jackson on the right. The former Accrington man, playing on the right, swept a pass into the path of John-Jules which was cut out by a defender.

Town had a spell camped around the Forest Green area without being able to carve out a chance, then moments before the fourth official indicated nine additional minutes there was a big scare for the Blues.

Burgess and March tangled with the Forest Green man otherwise through on goal. The home crowd and players called for a red card while the Blues were adamant that the former Australian U23 international had been fouled first. Referee Craig Hicks showed a yellow card to Burgess and the free-kick was hit straight at the Town wall.

Aluko looped a shot into McGee’s arms from just outside the box to the right but the Blues were far from having it their own way in injury time.

But eventually referee Hicks blew his whistle to confirm a Town victory in their first ever match against Forest Green and their first three points of the season.

Having looked all but home and hosed at half-time Town made rather heavy weather of it in the second half and the Gloucestershire side put in a spirited fightback to pull a goal back and then during the period afterwards in which the Blues looked distinctly shaky.

Overall though, Town had been the better side and had created enough chances to claim the three points.

The Blues are next in action against Colchester United at Portman Road in the Carabao Cup on Tuesday with the MK Dons visiting in League One next Saturday.

Forest Green: McGee, O'Keeffe, Cargill, Stevenson (Little 62), Hendry, Matt (c), Moore-Taylor (Casey 87), McAllister (Robertson 62), Godwin-Malife (Bernard 27), Davis (March 46), Brown. Unused: Thomas, Bunker.

Town: Walton, Donacien, Edmundson, Burgess, Burns (Vincent-Young 84), Evans, Morsy (c), Davis, Chaplin (Aluko 70), Harness (John-Jules 70), Ladapo (Jackson 84). Unused: Hladky, Edwards. Referee: Craig Hicks (Surrey). Att: 4,015.

Photo: Pagepix

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CustardCream added 17:11 - Aug 6
Well that was a lot harder than it needed to be. But a win is a win.

Never really subscribed to the idea we were gonna win 3 or 4 nil.

I feel a lot safer defensively when Leigh is on the pitch rather than Leif. Wes burns still not quite as his best. We still need that striker. Ladapo doesn’t quite look at his best yet.

TimmyH added 17:12 - Aug 6
Happy with the 3 points and for periods of the game we were too good for them (thought it might have been tougher) - Morsy again MoM for me, everywhere on the pitch. Shame we just can't be more clinical as we had 10 shots on target but that in itself is a good thing to be creating this needs to continue.

Well done boys banana skin averted which hasn't as we know always been the case!

pg888 added 17:12 - Aug 6
A win is a win but again should have scored more goals. Morsy was brilliant as was Walton, Ladapo should have come off the pitch with at least a goal we need a prolific striker desperately had we been playing a better team and not had the help of the linesman was nearly the same old story.

martin587 added 17:15 - Aug 6
Fair result but full credit to FGR.We should have won by more and it shows how we badly need a striker.ok we score goals from other positions but you cannot count on this every game.Hopefully Two easy games to come.Well done lads.Nice little ground and FGR should be proud of what they have achieved so far.

Saxonblue74 added 17:17 - Aug 6
Bad time to play a newly promoted team who are punching above their weight. Good result.

BromleyBloo added 17:19 - Aug 6
Settled in to the game after the first quarter and largely dominated. Deservedly got the first goal and, unlike last season, stayed focused and scored the second just before half-time.

Disappointing to concede and again invite pressure on ourselves for the latter stages, but defence generally sound and, again unlike last season, we stood strong and saw it out.

9 mins of injury time?!?

Morsy a giant and sounded like a great goal - him or Walton MOTM. McK seems very settled with his squad depth and clear on his system/subs/rotation.

So deserved winners, albeit against a spirited FG side, and we could’ve got a third to put the icing on the cake, but we are up and running and I think will only get better and better from here, so league 1 watch out and COYBs!!!

barrystedmunds added 17:21 - Aug 6
It’s worrying that our old frailties from last season appear to be evident into this one. BUT this is only game two so very early days.

hyperbrit added 17:23 - Aug 6
I have been reluctant to join the striker debate until now but based on this performance it's now a "no brainer"in order to avoid mid-table mediocrity yet again.

Dab added 17:25 - Aug 6
After 2 games the 3 promoted teams have all won a match, and the other two scored 4 goals today.
Teams promoted have early season confidence and are hard to beat.
Job done, no more, but an improvement on last season!

Chrisd added 17:27 - Aug 6
Last season we’d have drawn that game, pleased we showed enough about us to get the job done and pick up 3pts away from home. FGR had only lost 3 of their last 23 home games, so a decent result with some good play from us at times and two well taken goals. I do feel we are going to be a different proposition this season.

Suffolkboy added 17:29 - Aug 6
BSE - lots to agree with in your comments ; but it’s early in the season and KM is a man of exceptional clarity in word , thought and deed and he’ll be so aware of the shortcomings ,and will certainly have well thought out ideas on both solutions and improvement .
Promising start , now let’s capitalise .

ringwoodblue added 17:29 - Aug 6
It’s a good job we are scoring from midfield as we don’t have a potent strike force yet.

Good result that shows some improvement from last season in our record against the promoted sides.

Let’s score a hatful against Colchester and get our confidence up. Might be a good time to play MKD and Burton after that.

atty added 17:30 - Aug 6
Three points✔️ I very much hope that last seasons biggest frailty, the drop in in game performance levels, was not what occurred today. Early days, good squad strength, but l think we still need that
goal scorer.

Gforce added 17:30 - Aug 6
The Town won and the budgies didn't, that's a good day 😀
Enjoy your evening guys !

johnwarksshorts added 17:40 - Aug 6
Good 3 points. Hard fought win, probably harder than it should have been, need another striker.

Rimsy added 17:41 - Aug 6
After last seasons points haul from the promoted clubs, 3 points is more than welcome. Should have been much easier though. The thing to take from the game is we desperately need a goal scorer. Ladapo was isolated and ineffectual and when Jackson took his place it looked like we were playing without a striker at all.

Bazza8564 added 17:43 - Aug 6
A game that reminded me of early away games at Burton and Cheltenham last season, both ended in defeats.
FGR are no mugs and the win was professional. You can’t win anything in August and you take any win to get yourself in position and take the pressure off
On that basis, job done

SickParrot added 17:46 - Aug 6
Four points from our first two games is decent but having had 17 and 19 attempts at goal we should have won both games comfortably. This inability to kill teams off when we're playing well must be corrected if we're to achieve the promotion that we all crave. Signing a clinical finisher should help but perhaps the squad would benefit from some psychological help?

jas0999 added 17:50 - Aug 6
Great win, this wasn’t going to be easy, but after last weeks home draw, a win was a must if we want to be contenders. And win we did, so full credit to the team. Morsy is some player! What a goal.

No doubt in my mind, we still need a striker if we’re going to be automatic promotion candidates this season.

algarvefan added 17:54 - Aug 6
It's never easy being a Town fan is it?

Pleased we got over the hurdle with this one, always going to be a tricky game, they looked like the Jolly Green Giants today, a big team full of belief. We still have a way to go as a team, but progress is in the right direction. I trust our management team, maybe we will see another striker come in before the window closes, we need one!!

BangaloreBlues added 17:58 - Aug 6
We're not in 9th place!

SpiritOfJohn added 18:06 - Aug 6
10 shots on target away from home, 2 goals and 3 points against a newly-promoted team who won their first match last week. Big improvement on last season's start so far IMO. Crucial we got the second goal when we were on top today, something we often failed to do in the last campaign.

IpswichT62OldBoy added 18:10 - Aug 6
That is what we lacked last season, we would have lost or drawn then. The next step is to control two halves of football but we can get a long way by at least not dropping points when we are ahead.

Bert added 18:22 - Aug 6
From all accounts FG are a decent footballing side and hungry for more success. This is a good 3 points and even better that Harness started his account.

Nobbysnuts added 18:22 - Aug 6
Well that was hard work and it shouldn't of been. A decent striker is an absolute must or we will still be in this sh#t league come the end of the season. Surely km can see this....can't he????? Much to ponder....but one thing is certain..that sort of performance isn't going to get promotion.

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