Styche pounces late to keep Rovers on track in FA Trophy
REECE Styche struck a stoppage-time winner as Forest Green squeezed past AFC Totton to book a place in the second round of the FA Trophy.
The relief around The New Lawn was clear as the lively striker's late winner saved Rovers from what would have been a difficult Tuesday night trip to Hampshire.
After Stephen Brogan's corner had somehow found its way in to the back of the net, it looked as though the home side would push on to a comfortable win.
But Aarran Racine's own goal and a spirited showing from the Southern Premier Division outfit gave Rovers food for thought before Styche's late winner provided a welcoming ending.
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On a slick playing surface, Rovers dominated the early exchanges with a Matty Taylor header and stinging drive from Al Bangura giving the part time visitors a difficult start.
But some excellent combination work saw Totton hit the woodwork just before the half-hour mark as Dave Allen and Jonathan Davies combined with the latter producing a chipped effort that left Matt Bulman, earning a rare start in the Rovers goal, sprawling.
Despite a rare foray on goal, Rovers continued to boss an entertaining first half and after Omar Koroma and Chris Stokes had both tested Totton goalkeeper Gareth Barfoot with a string of efforts, it was the turn of the home side to hit the woodwork.
Magno Vieira's stylish ball in to the path of Koroma saw the Gambia international's thump at goal smash against the post.
Forest Green would finally find the back of the net just minutes after the interval.
Brogan's dangerous corner from the right somehow drifted past a packed penalty area and in to the goal to set Rovers on their way to what looked like would be a convincing win.
That would prove to not be the case however when Bulman was called upon to make a smart stop to deny James Coutts from firing in after Michael Gosney had fed in a cross.
Totton substitute Chris Mason then rolled a snap shot just wide as the visitors pushed for an equaliser.
And it came just minutes later when Davies' dangerous cross across the face of goal was unfortunately pushed in to his own net by Racine to give the visitors a sniff of a giant killing.
Rovers boss David Hockaday was able to turn to his bench to draft on fresh legs and they proved to be the difference as the home side pressed for a winner.
And it was the bright-eyed Styche who would find it when his low finish a couple of minutes in to stoppage time booked Forest Green a place in today's second round draw.
Forest Green: M Bulman, J Hodgkiss, C Stokes, A Racine, C Todd, A Bangura, Y Klukowski, S Brogan (J Rowe 86), O Koroma, M Taylor (R Styche 78), M Vieira (J Norwood 66). Subs not used: S Russell, P Green.
AFC Totton: G Barfoot, R Hill, L Whitley ( CMason 66), B Cargill,J Whisken, D Allen, C Pettefer, j Davies, j Coutts, R Gillespie, M Gosney. Subs not used: S Hollick, J Rudd, C Ferrett, L Roberts.
Referee: A Bromley (Devon)
star man: Steve Brogan