Forest Green Rovers: Double delight for Norwood in Forest Green super show
EASIER said than done, but consistent repeats of Forest Green's sumptuous first-half showing against Alfreton will surely land them the Skrill Premier title.
For 45 minutes they were close to unplayable, James Norwood's double and a Danny Wright strike barely doing justice to their domination of the part-timers from Derbyshire.
Daniel Bradley's late reply was a reminder of how easily the swagger can be lost, but Rovers have closed to within three points of the league summit after back-to-back wins.
Alfreton keeper Ross Atkins was working inside two minutes, palming away Wright's header from a Norwood cross before Eddie Oshodi saw his follow-up shot blocked.
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The opening goal was beautifully worked and taken by the home side, Anthony Barry's teasing cross to the far post headed home by the overlapping Norwood in the seventh minute.
Rovers were all over their opponents like a rash, and Wright ought to have done better than fire over from the edge of the area after embarking on a buccaneering run.
The visitors threatened for the first time in the 11th minute, Dan Meadows soaring to meet Connor Franklin's deep delivery and seeing his meaty header palmed away by Sam Russell.
But more sublime football led to a second Forest Green goal on 23 minutes, Al Bangura feeding Wright for a reverse pass that Norwood controlled expertly before ramming the ball past Atkins into the top corner of the net.
Giant striker John Akinde was proving a handful for the home defence, and he bustled his way past Oshodi before firing narrowly over.
Likewise Norwood at the other end, and moments later his strike under pressure had to be tipped around the near post by Atkins.
Chris Stokes missed a glaring opportunity from the resulting corner, but the left-back made amends within seconds when he served up a low cross that was smashed home by Wright for 3-0.
It could have been four before the break, Wright coming within millimetres of connecting with Norwood's low cross-shot in stoppage time.
The second period saw a significant sag in excitement levels, typified by wayward efforts by Yan Klukowski and Bradley Wood at either end.
Klukowski came closer with a near-post effort with 15 minutes remaining, but it was Alfreton who found the net when John McGrath worked a free-kick to the left and Bradley's 20-yard deflected shot crept past an unsighted Russell.
Rovers substitute Matty Taylor fired wide late on – a sign of rustiness after two weeks on the treatment table – but his side had done more than enough.
Forest Green: S. Russell; J. Hodgkiss, D. Bennett, E. Oshodi, C. Stokes; A. Barry (M. Vieira 89), A. Bangura, M. Kelly; Y. Klukowski, D. Wright (M. Taylor 80), J. Norwood (M. Barnes-Homer 68); Subs not used: E. Asafu-Adjaye, M. Bulman.
Alfreton Town: R. Atkins; B. Wood, C. Westwood (M. Wylde 15), N. Fenton, C. Franklin; J. Law, D. Meadows (A. Taylor 56), D. Bradley, J. McGrath; J. Akinde, D. Wishart (P. Clayton 57); Subs not used: T. Shaw, K. Ramsey-Dickson.
Referee: D. Cook (Hampshire)
Star man: James Norwood – Took both goals superbly and his movement was too cute for Alfreton.