By Paddysboyz
Monday 20 Mar 2017 18:20:00
Browse all MATCH REPORTS articles

PB & PBJ joined the ever amiable regulars aboard the legendary Moose Tours bus driven by the peerless Ian to Nailsworth; home of moneybags Forest Green Rovers. Nailsworth is a small town with a population of less than 6,000 and lying four miles south of Stroud. It was previously known as Negelsleag and had several historical medieval buildings nearby including Beverston Castle and Owlpen Manor. The River Frome runs through it, and it is noted for its attraction to ramblers and its farmers market, and has a music festival as well.

The town has thrived in recent years as has its football club Forest Green Rovers which in previous reincarnations has also been known as Stroud FC. Dale Vince, the green energy industrialist; former New Age traveller and founder of the company Ecotricity with its green energy roots that harnesses the use of wind power is now a prominent benefactor of Forest Green Rovers which he has substantially bankrolled in recent years. After a most pleasant stop in Cirencester, the Silkmen faithful on Moose Tours arrived at the New Lawn and mingled with the home faithful and chatted happily with other of the Silkmen followers (who had found their way to Nailsworth via other means) in the supporters bar adjacent to the ground.

Now PB will honestly say that he has never particularly warmed to this team. It is not particularly that they have been significantly bankrolled into the position they are in, or the fact that they lack any particular warmth and friendliness to visiting teams and supporters. What really gets on PB's proverbial t*ts is that they appear to ram their vegan only philosophy down the throats of everyone who visits that ground. Fair enough, offer such an option but also offer alternatives to those who do not share such beliefs. To PB that is a democratic approach but enough of the politics!

Onto the game and 95 Silkmen supporters started the game in good voice in support of their blue and white heroes; heartily rebuking the more vocal elements of the Rovers faithful who had scorned our following by noisily reminding them of the 53 of them who had entered the Moss Rose not too long ago in their 1-0 defeat in the FA Trophy. Another old favourite that PB secretly enjoys joining in on is ‘you're just a pub team with money' but sadly for the Silkmen, the rest of the game showed that Rovers were anything but a pub team!

Rovers started off brightly with the interestingly named Kayne Woolery going close only 4 minutes into the game and then young Silkmen skipper Andy ‘Hallsy' Halls did well to deal with a decent looking cross. Then from a corner Christian Doidge put the Rovers a goal to the good with a relatively weak header that was not at all dealt well with by Silkmen stopper Scott Flinders and to a lesser extent Danny Whitaker; the ball somehow trickling into the net to give the Rovers a deserved lead on 13 minutes. The dangerous Woolery then caused consternation in the Silkmen defence at the half way point of the first half but fortunately for the Silkmen he once again didn't have his shooting boots on and his effort went wide. Further relief was seen in the 35th minute when Rovers had a goal disallowed and the Silkmen went into the half-time break very lucky to be only a goal behind.

As we sipped our half-time brews, many of us contemplated the lack of natural width which appeared at this time to be playing into the hands of the Rovers but ‘in Sir John we trust' and we sincerely hoped that the single goal deficit could be overturned in the second period. Our hopes were proven to be short lived though when a mistake by the usually flawless ‘Pilks' allowed the Rovers to break quickly with Woolery chipping the ball to Liam Noble who gleefully converted from close range to put the Rovers two goals to the good on 52 minutes.

Mitch Hancox brought a half decent save out of the seriously underused Rovers stopper Sam Russell and ‘Sir' John reacted positively by replacing Danny Whitaker with Rhys Browne; Mitch Hancox with James Thorne and Connor Jennings (his last game on loan with the Silkmen) with Andy Haworth. Despite an excellent save by Scott Flinders to deny the hugely impressive Woolery with his leg from a 1:1 situation, Rovers extended their lead almost immediately on 71 minutes with Mark Ellis able to head home after finding himself completely unmarked in the box and the game was then effectively over as a contest.

What was most disappointing / worrying was that as PBJ & I discussed the game on the way home, we felt that the player who had made the most contribution in a Silkmen shirt was Rhys Browne who only came onto the pitch on 55 minutes! The FA Trophy replay against Dulwich Hamlet was our next game and all those who travelled today knew that a vastly improved performance was required to see us progress into the semi-finals of a competition that holds such high esteem in the hearts and minds of many Silkmen faithful including yours truly. Anyway to the scores on the doors as PB saw them.

Scott Flinders 5.5: Most definitely at fault for the crucial first goal, but to be fair did produce a decent save in the second half albeit when the game was practically out of reach.

Andy Halls 6.0: The likeable young Silkmen skipper was one of the few to have a decent game.

David Fitzpatrick 6.5: ‘Fitz' had another solid game and is a contender for PB's player of the season.

Neill Byrne 5.5: Did OK but not his best game in a Silkmen shirt.

George Pilkington 5.0: This was one of ‘Pilks' worst performances in a Silkmen shirt. He was at fault for the second goal and appeared to lack his usual composure. Oh well; even the best have off days.

Mitch Hancox 5.5: Mitch had one of the few half decent attempts for the Silkmen but not at his best today.

Kingsley James 6.0: Worked his socks off as usual.

Luke Summerfield 5.5: Possibly one of his least impressive performances in a Silkmen shirt so far!

Danny Whitaker: 5.5: Not a great day for the Silkmen legend but doesn't seem to fit in with this current formation.

Chris Holroyd 5.5: Just didn't seem to make any inroads although worked hard as usual.

Connor Jennings 5.5: His last game on loan for the Silkmen will not go down as a memorable one for the likeable Mr J.


Rhys Browne 7.0: An energetic and committed performance from the young loanee who did more in 35 minutes or so than many did in their 90+ minutes on the pitch. Young Rhys is PB's Man of the Match.

James Thorne 6.0: James looks a big and strong centre forward who put himself about but will understandably need game time if he is to make a real impression.

Andy Haworth 6.0: Andy has an excellent pedigree and looks a very decent player. Will understandably need more game time to show what he can do.

Hope you enjoy the read!


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