New boy Wes Burns earns overdue win for Forest Green
SOUTHPORT 1 FOREST GREEN ROVERS 2
NEW loan signing Wes Burns made a stunning instant impact for Forest Green on Merseyside, swooping in stoppage time to earn a first win in six Blue Square Bet Premier matches.
Shaun Whalley's penalty after half an hour's play gave the part-time Sandgrounders an interval lead that they thoroughly deserved.
But the visitors shook off their listlessness in the second period, Yemi Odubade pouncing to level in the 86th minute before teenager Burns stole the headlines.
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There were two changes to Rovers' starting XI, comprising recalls for Ed Asafu-Adjaye and Paul Green, and a place among the substitutes for Burns a matter of hours after his recruitment.
Eddie Oshodi donned the captain's armband with Jared Hodgkiss benched, and he was quickly barking orders to his fellow defenders as Karl Ledsham was afforded too much space for a fourth minute volley that dipped over.
Rovers did not get going at all as an attacking force until the 25th minute mark, Matty Taylor working the ball left for James Norwood to shoot tamely at home keeper Tony McMillan.
Four minutes later Southport were gifted the chance to get their noses in front, Kieron Forbes penalised for a clumsy barge on Chris Almond a yard inside the penalty area.
Whalley opted to blast rather than place the resulting spot-kick in front of a handful of away fans, and it gave Sam Russell absolutely no chance.
Forbes attempted to make amends with a swerving effort from 20 yards which had to carefully watched and gathered at the second attempt by McMillan.
Bristol City starlet Burns replaced Taylor at the start of the second half as Dave Hockaday desperately sought a momentum swing.
And a decent opportunity came Norwood's way thanks to a glorious raking pass by Paul Green, but Rovers' top scorer could only fire straight at McMillan at the near post.
Yan Klukowski's free-kick then caused consternation in the Port defence, and Andy Parry had to be alert to clear Norwood's angled effort off the line and away from a packed six-yard box.
It proved to be Klukowski's last contribution to the evening, Hockaday opting to introduce another loan signing in Odubade with only 54 minutes on the clock.
Seconds later it looked like Burns would level the scores, but the 18-year-old contrived to blast into the side-netting after racing clear and nicking the ball past the advancing McMillan.
A driven Norwood free-kick nicked off Oshodi's head and dropped just over as Forest Green continued to press, but eventually Southport managed to regain a foothold.
There was no further threat to McMillan's goal until, with four minutes left, he horribly fumbled Norwood's free-kick and presented Odubade with the chance to ram home the equaliser.
Suddenly Rovers could smell blood, and in the 92nd minute Odubade worked his way into space on the left and pulled the ball back for Burns to send a scorching shot into the roof of the net.
Southport: T. McMillan; A. Chalmers (C. Lever 77), A. Parry, S. Grand, J. Smith; S. Whalley, R. Benjamin, S. Kay, S. Clancy; K. Ledsham, C. Almond (L. Willis 87); Subs not used: A. Moogan, S. Tames, Z. Hibbert.
Forest Green: S. Russell; E. Asafu-Adjaye, A. Racine, E. Oshodi, C. Stokes; P. Green, A. Bangura, K. Forbes; Y. Klukowski (Y. Odubade 55), M. Taylor (W. Burns 46), J. Norwood; Subs not used: J. Hodgkiss, L. Fowler, M. Bulman.
Referee: A. Backhouse (Cumbria)
Star man: Paul Green