Forest Green Rovers: Lambs send them crashing again
Forest Green Rovers 1
FRAGILE Forest Green suffered a third straight Skrill Premier defeat to raise more serious questions about ‘project promotion’ at the New Lawn.
Richard Baker’s penalty gave Tamworth a shock first-half lead, cancelled out before the break by Matty Taylor to seemingly restore order.
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Instead Rovers lost their way again, Mark Wright’s strike delivering the mortal blow before James Norwood senselessly saw a late red card.
Norwood and Yan Klukowski had been recalled to a more balanced looking starting XI, although there was an understandable edginess about Forest Green’s play in the early stages after back-to-back defeats.
Tamworth’s ranks included ex-Plymouth Argyle left-back Tony Capaldi, possessor of a long throw that caused more than its fair share of consternation in front of Sam Russell’s goal.
The hosts’ approach was rather more subtle, and they came close to breaking the deadlock in the 13th minute when Danny Wright worked a clever one-two with Klukowski and saw a near-post drive blocked by Lambs keeper Cameron Belford.
Four minutes later Taylor latched on to a ball over the top and produced a cross-shot that was parried by Belford and squirmed agonisingly beyond the reach of the onrushing Wright.
On 26 minutes the night took a turn for the worse for home fans, referee Adam Hopkins spotting a shove by Eddie Oshodi on Wayne Thomas from a corner and Baker confidently dispatching the resulting spot-kick.
Dave Hockaday was then forced to reshuffle his backline, Jared Hodgkiss replacing a hobbling Dale Bennett at right-back to further disrupt the best laid plans.
Klukowski almost mustered a quick response with a snap-shot that was fumbled by Belford at his near post, while at the other end Russell did well to hold onto Jack Evans’ skidding effort through a crowd scene.
The leveller came in the 37th minute courtesy of a surging run from deep by Norwood, who fed Taylor for an emphatic finish to register his third goal of the season.
Norwood almost inadvertently turned provider again when his shot struck Klukowski, who showed excellent footwork to bring a low save from Belford.
Still not back up to full speed after a niggling knee injury, Taylor was withdrawn at the start of the second half to enable Matthew Barnes-Homer to enter the fray.
And the home side raced out of the traps, Wright forcing Belford to make a smothering save after a corner had not been properly cleared.
Back came the Lambs, Andy Todd’s shot cannoning off Oshodi’s outstretched leg and flying just wide with Russell beaten.
The resulting corner was taken by Todd and found an unmarked Capaldi, who should have done better than nod over the bar from eight yards.
It was not as if Rovers had not been warned, and they fell behind again in the 54th minute when Lloyd Kerry delivered to the back post and Wright slid the ball past a helpless Russell.
Norwood saw a shot from distance whistle wide before Chris Stokes soared to meet a Klukowski corner and planted a header goalwards, only for Tamworth substitute Connor Gudger to clear off the line.
Forest Green might have been awarded a penalty when Duane Courtney collided with Norwood, but by now the situation was getting desperate and Kieron Forbes was summoned from the bench for his first appearance of the season after ankle surgery.
Lateef Elford-Alliyu’s 20-yarder was helped around the post by Russell, but the misery was complete with five minutes left when Norwood collected a second yellow card for kicking the ball away at a Tamworth free-kick.
Forest Green: S Russell; D Bennett (J Hodgkiss 29), J Turley, E Oshodi, C Stokes; A Barry (K Forbes 65), A Bangura, Y Klukowski; M Taylor (M Barnes-Homer 46), D Wright, J Norwood. Subs not used: M Vieira, M Bulman.
Tamworth: C Belford; J Evans, D Courtney, W Thomas (C Gudger 40), T Capaldi; M Wright, L Kerry, R Baker, A Todd (R Lloyd 74); R Peniket, L Elford-Alliyu; Subs not used: K Woolery, D Byfield, J Wren.
Referee: A Hopkins (Devon)
Star man: Yan Klukowski
Red mist: James Norwood was sent off