Machine gun Kelly shoots super Rovers to record win
FOREST Green cruised to their highest-ever Conference win in sensational style on the opening day of the Skrill Premier season.
Eight goals, including a hat-trick for debutant Marcus Kelly, delivered Hyde a hiding as Rovers more than lived up to the hype that has been attributed to them in the off-season.
Josh Brizell's first-half red card for the hosts heavily influenced the way the match swung in Rovers' favour in the opening 45 minutes after a bright start by Hyde.
But there was no looking back once Kelly powered home his first goal as rampant Rovers romped to victory.
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After just 15 seconds, though, it could have been a completely different story as Hyde surged forward from the kick-off and Sam Russell was forced to make an important block to deny Tom Collins from thumping the visitors in front.
Brizell's late challenge on Al Bangura swung the afternoon strongly in Rovers favour just before the midway point of the half as the former Rochdale defender was handed a red card by referee Adam Bromley.
Forest Green quickly put their foot on the gas and Kelly notched his first of the afternoon with a triumphant long-distance strike. Hyde keeper David Carnell denied James Norwood and Danny Wright, who went close, but he couldn't stop Kelly from driving home his second minutes later.
Wright then earned himself a debut goal with a calm and collected finish while Norwood completed the first-half rout when he headed in a fourth goal after Chris Stokes had helped the ball towards him from a corner.
Rovers emerged from the interval with the same vigour and intensity that had seen them skip to such an emphatic first-half lead and Yan Klukowski, fresh off the bench, almost helped himself to a goal in his first involvement.
His close-range effort was blocked but the ball fell to Matty Taylor and he made no mistake when it came to firing Rovers' first of the second half in to the back of the net.
Matthew Barnes-Homer became the latest debutant to mark his first appearance in a Rovers jersey with a goal as he smashed home a sixth, while Taylor bagged himself a brace and his team a seventh as he headed in a Jared Hodgkiss cross.
The crowning moment of an incredible afternoon of football belonged to the untouchable Kelly, though, as he finished off Barnes-Homer's handy work to collect his hat-trick and Forest Green's first three points of the season.
Forest Green Rovers: S Russell, J Hogkiss, C Stokes (E Asafu-Adjaye 74), D Bennett, G Pilkington, M Kelly, A Bangura, A Barry, J Norwood (Y Klukowski 59), D Wright (M Barnes-Homer 67), M Taylor. Subs not used: M Bulman, M Vieira.
Hyde: D Carnell, J Brizell, W Haining, L Ashworth, A Blakeman, L Tomsett, D Poole, A Brown (A Fitzgerald 42), T Collins, D Carlton (S Spencer 52), L Almond (T Moses 63). Subs not used: A Thurston, C Hughes.
Referee: Adam Bromley
Star Man: Marcus Kelly