Doyle at the double but late Mills equaliser secures draw for Forest Green


Forest Green left it late to rescue a last-gasp point at The New Lawn against table-toppers Swindon.

Festive cheer echoed around The New Lawn as the two sides, gunning for promotion, warmed up pre-match. Wizzard, Band Aid, Mariah Carey. What could be better?

The first chance fell when veteran Paul Caddis won a free-kick minutes in. Michael Doughty whipped the dead ball in only for Shrewsbury loanee Anthony Grant to fire over.

The home side’s first sight of Swindon’s penalty area came ten minutes in, with Liam Shepherd’s cross calmly dealt with by former Leyton Orient man Mathieu Baudry.

The Frenchman then saw yellow after hacking down a charging Elliott Frear down the Rovers left.

Mark Cooper’s men were enjoying larger spells of possession, but were lacklustre in use of it and the Robins looked ominous on the counter-attack – the Eoin Doyle/Jerry Yates partnership yet to prove fruitful.

The passing was crisper from the side in Red, and with consummate precision, the ‘Ginger Pele’ scored his 20th of the season. The Irishman has now scored in ten consecutive matches.

Minutes later Kaiyne Woolery got the better of several Rovers defenders only to fire aimlessly wide.

The Doyle strike certainly damaged the morale of Forest Green. Cooper’s side were failing to string two passes together, with Grant in particular controlling the midfield.

A short corner for Swindon prevailed to nothing and another blazed effort over, but the dominance ensued as the difference between first and fifth was there to see in concrete proof.

Shortly after confusion between Forest Green ‘keeper and his backline saw him pedal back to his goal. Doyle smashed home once again, and the former Chesterfield and Cardiff man doubled his tally for the afternoon.

Shephard once again appeared dangerous down the Rovers right, drilling a low cross which Zeki Fryers bravely blocked. Yates then ran up the other end to have his effort denied by Smith.

Changes had to occur for the hosts to change for Forest Green at half time, with lone striker Matty Stevens replaced by James Morton.

Immediately Doyle was hat-trick hunting. A mazy run from Woolery resulted in a clinical cut back from the former FGR speedster. Doyle’s shot was blocked contentiously by Liam Kitching, but Forest Green would clear.

Dishevelled and unfortunate in some ways, FGR’s best chances would come at the opening of the second period, with Jack Aitchison forcing a strong save from Liverpool target Steven Benda.

The match was certainly balancing on an even keel as Mark Cooper’s men grew more into the game. Joseph Mills arrived late at the back post to fire in, and give the hosts and the Green army a needed incentivised boost.

Swindon rocked, crowd on-side, Doyle marked out of the game. This was better from Forest Green Rovers.
They did pick up a free-kick in a favourable position after 61 minutes. Won and taken by Keshi Anderson, the former Crystal Palace man forced a reactionary save from Smith for a Swindon corner.

Grant was really impressive in this match. As a Liverpool man, he reminds me a lot of Fabinho. Long and rangy strides with the ability to pass and occasionally shoot – too good for the fourth tier.

And it was he who began the next attack. After threading through to Anderson. Doyle had his first chance of the half only be denied on the line by Kitching.

Seconds later from the breakup of the resulting corner, a lofted cross fell to the head of Baudry, who forced another stunning save from Smith – keeping the hosts in it despite their recent dominance.

Referee Robert Lewis was forced into booking James Winchester for Forest Green – after which Doyle missed another chance for his third, taking a complete airshot after pinball in the Forest Green box.

With two minutes to go the hosts skipper’ and goalscorer Mills once again tested Swindon’s stopper to good effect, but Benda clawed it from his spillage unto it.

Joseph Mills from full-back had been his side’s greatest attacking threat throughout the 90. And it was past that when from an unnecessary corner on Swindon’s terms, he looped in on the half volley to rescue the hosts a draw.

The home crowd erupted, and remain in the playoffs after Mills’ heroics.

Swindon stay top by three points and Eoin Doyle takes his tally to 21 for the season.

Forest Green: Smith; Godwin-Malife, M Mills, Kitching (McGinley 76), J Mills; Shephard, Winchester, Adams, Frear (Collins 65); Aitchison; Stevens (Morton 45)

Unused Substitutes: Bernard, Wollacott, Dawson, Mondal

Swindon: Benda; Caddis, Baudry, Fryers, Hunt; Grant, Doughty (Rose 76) , Anderson (Jaiyesimi 90), Woolery (Iandolo 90); Yates, Doyle

Unused Substitutes: McCormick, Isgrove, Curran, Zakuani


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Sports Journalism student, streamer at LFC Transfer Room, Anfield Agenda. Liverpool fan with a particular interest in Welsh, Youth, and African football.

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