Forest Green Rovers v Cobblers Match Preview – The Cobblers travel to Nailsworth for the second time in 12 days.
After the joys of watching England make easy work of two of their three World Cup qualifiers, it’s back to the joys of League Two – where the magic really happens.
It’s been a pretty positive week with regards to the on pitch side of things for us Cobblers fans. The win over Scunthorpe raised spirits last weekend and if you’re able to ignore the stuff that has been going on away from the football team, you’ll probably still be feeling pretty positive.
We’ve not long played FGR of course, running out penalty winners in the Pizza Cup less than two weeks back. On that night neither team played their strongest team but still put on a decent spectacle for those watching the game. Today’s league match is likely to be a completely different kettle of fish for both sides though.
Since their promotion from the National league in 2017, Forest Green have made steady improvements in their league position, finishing 21st, 5th, 10th and last year 6th in League Two.
This year they’ve been one of the teams to watch so far. They beat Crawley 6-3 a couple of weeks ago and have already scored 13 times in 6 games. Fortunately for the Cobblers, Rovers haven’t been quite as good in defence, shipping 8 goals so far this season. That being said, Rob Edwards’ men will be a stern test, possibly their biggest of the season so far, as they sit 2nd in the league.
Another positive for the Cobblers is that Edwards was awarded the League Two Manager of the Month award for August this week and we all know how that thing is cursed!
Last time out
A goalless draw away at Exeter wasn’t what FGR will have wanted, nor expected, in their last game. Since that 6-3 win over Crawley at the end of August, Edwards’ team are yet to win and have only scored twice. Once in the 3-1 League Cup 2nd round defeat to Premier League new boys, Brentford and the other in the Pizza Cup against us. And that went down as a Michael Harriman own goal!
One to watch
Jamille Matt will be no stranger to Cobblers fans. It was Aidy Boothroyd who tried to sign the then 21-year old from Kidderminster Harriers back in December 2011. Matt eventually left Kiddy in 2013, joining Fleetwood Town. Since then he has played for Blackpool, Grimsby (loan) and Newport before signing for Forest Green in July 2020. The 6ft 1 inch striker has scored 3 times in 6 games this season, a decent 1 in 2 strike rate and will be one for the Cobblers defence to keep an eye on if he plays.
Forest Green play with a 3-4-3 formation and will continue to be without Ebou Adams and Elliott Whitehouse but otherwise remain at full strength.
The Cobblers only confirmed out is Joseph Mills, although rumour has it that Sid Nelson may also be unavailable after it was posted on social media that the smooth styled defender was seen at the fracture clinic with a cast on his leg during midweek. Of course, it could all be a load of baloney and Danny Zucko could well be Greased up and ready to do the hand jive after all.
Forest Green 1-1 Cobblers (2-4p) (Aug 31 2021)
After Michael Harriman steered the ball pasted Little Jonny Maxted in the first half to give Forest Green a half time lead, Scott Pollock’s first goal back after a near 20 month injury earned the Cobblers a Pizza Cup penalty shootout that they went on to win.
Scott Oldham takes charge of the Cobblers for the first time since the 2-0 home defeat to Burton back in March. Oldham is in his fifth season as an EFL referee and has handed out 12 yellows and 1 red in his 6 games so far in 2021/22.
I’m feeling very optimistic today and going for a Cobblers win. I’m under no illusion that this will be a tough match but if we can get the best out of Kion Etete up front in his new partnership with Danny Rose, I think we’ll be a force that Forest Green can’t handle.
After Forest Green’s good start to the season, the goals have dried up somewhat and our defence is the second best in the league (Tranmere have conceded one goal less).