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Match Report


Posted Sat 23 Apr 16 at 16:45 PM

Forest Green Rovers: Report

The Shaymen came out of the blocks fighting today to claim all three points in a thrilling 1-0 victory. Shaquille McDonald took Halifax into the lead with a superb finish in the second half to give Town a glimmer of hope in their relegation battle. Despite a disallowed goal in the first half, 2nd place Forest Green were unable to find their target for the remainder of the game.

Harvey made one change to the squad who started against Eastleigh in mid-week, as Hamza Bencherif returned back to the starting eleven after an injury he picked up against Cheltenham while Shaquille McDonald dropped to the bench.

It was a first half that saw both teams loose key men, as Sam Wedgbury and Richard Peniket both had to be stretchered off, with Hamza Bencherif leaving the field after struggling with his injury.

As expected, it was a challenging match for the West Yorkshire outfit as they made the journey south to the New Lawn stadium.

Kingsley James and Jake Hibbs linked well from a throw in early on, before James fired a powerful shot into the box, but it couldn’t find its target going wide of the post for Town’s first real effort.

The Rovers had the first corner of the game, as Sam Johnson came out of his goals but did not clear the ball, leaving it up to Jordan Burrow to keep it out of danger.

Richard Peniket manoeuvred himself into prime position shortly after, taking his chance from close range to send Arnold diving to his right.

Halifax began to settle into the game with James finding space on the right wing, laying off to Burrow in the centre who chose to play it out wide to teammate Peniket but his shot was blocked by the Rovers defence.  

Anthony Jeffrey used his pace to over-take Peniket out wide, sliding the ball into the box nicely, but Johnson was ready and waiting to claim the ball once again to prevent an early goal.

Town found themselves with a great chance, as Scott McManus floated the ball in from a corner as four Halifax players took shots towards the Rovers net but not one Shaymen player could find the target.

Forest Green hit back immediately as Brett Williams brought the ball down superbly on the wing to shake off his man and find space in the box to fire a shot that went just inches wide of the post.

As Town broke free down the centre, Sam Wedgbury appeared to go over on his ankle following a tackle and had to be stretchered off the field with less than 40 minutes played as the home fans gave him a standing ovation and applause.

As the game descended in injury time, Town saw one of their own players stretchered off the field as Peniket went in for the tackle by the corner flag and landed badly on his neck. It quickly became apparent that the striker was in a lot of pain and required medical attention and had to leave the field to require further assistance.

Skipper, Nicky Wroe found himself unmarked just outside the box and sent his shot curling towards the goal but it hit the top net, sending the travelling fans into a frenzy as Town came close to taking the lead for the first time.

Going into the second half, the home side upped the pressure to cause Town problems but just when the Rovers thought they’d taken the lead, the referee disallowed the goal for offside to rescue the Shaymen.

Josh MacDonald made a brilliant cross into the box just a few minutes later to find the feet of James Bolton but his effort was blocked by the Rovers defence. Burrow then took his chance on the rebound but his shot couldn’t find the mark either.

Substitute, Shaquille McDonald then took Town into the lead in the 69th minute as he turned and fired his shot straight into the back of the net as Arnold could do nothing but watch, a great finish by the striker.

Despite pressure from the home side, the Shaymen were able to hold onto their lead, dealing with every threat the Rovers threw at them.

With both sides having further chances to change to score line, it was the Yorkshire outfit who ran out the victors of the day to take them out of the drop zone and into 20th place.

The Shaymen will now face Macclesfield at home for the final league game of the 2015/16 campaign next Saturday as they strive to stay in the National League. 

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