Be interesting to hear views of their free kick second goal. Heard it was a Rice error and went through his hands on Radio Devon. Then at the final whistle it was described as a brilliant free kick. Sounded like bags of excitement, but that we ought to have won. Briscoe and Ajala were singled out for praise throughout.
I was at the wrong end Rob, not quite sure why it was given in the first place. The kick slightly deflected off a defender and was bouncing slightly erratically. Nevertheless, Rice had a chance as may have got a hand to it but would have gone down as a very good save. Can't moan too much as our opener was deflected with the bounce falling kindly for Bowman to guide in.
Pity, as would have won if their second had kept out. Both sides had chances to win in a very frenetic last 10 minutes with Berry making a last ditch tackle that saved us.
Thought we edged it today but draw probably a fair result.
The first to present his case seems right, till another comes forward and questions him.
For those unable to attend a brief report on a fantastically entertaining game of football. We started the match more or less as we finished on Tuesday - on the offensive and opened the scoring from a Bowman back header after the ball had looped in the air. I immediately thought it would be disallowed for off side but was relieved when I saw no flag from the linesman o the far side. FG had plenty of possession but we always looked the more dangerous threatening and fluent in the last third and there were plenty of individual battles being fought all over the pitch with total commitment from both sides. Every player on the pitch were on their game and it added up to an immensely enjoyable first 45 with our second goal from Toby Ajala epitomising the do or die attitude of the whole team. His enterprise and reading of a pass to a defender and robbing him and homing in on goal to score into the corner was typical of our commitment. 2-0 and cruising - well we would have been if FG had decided to throw in the towel and ten minutes before the break they got back into the match with a decent headed goal. Half time came and went and there was no way we were going to sit back and try and consolidate / frustrate and we just went at them again producing chances and half chances eventually restoring our two goal advantage from a corner firstly headed from Downes only scrambled to Ajala who fired in from close range for 3-1. To their credit FG refused to lie down and we continued in very much the same vein of getting forward at every opportunity aznd simply trying to entertain - which they did at times with aplomb. Fg were still carving through our midfield and they had a classy player who ran the whole show in Sinclair ( what the f* is he doing at this level!). Hughes was his usual obnoxious self trying his best to wind up the crowd with every shouted insult he received from the Plainmoor faithful but he still has a very good footballing brain and knows every trick in the book. At 70 minutes we wer eprety comfortable and still threatening to get the fourth when they broke out and in possession on the edge of the area Pearce dived in for what I thought was a clean tackle taking the ball and their player rolling around in feigned agony I suppose the ref had to give whilst he gave very little to us all afternoon. The free kick was hit well and deflected off the wall - in my opinion Rice had litle chance though I heard it went through his hands afterwords I hadn't realised at the time it was hit so hard. 3-2 and FG sensed they had a chance as our heads dropped a little. In these situations we as a team have no idea of how to frustrate the opostion and close out a game. Draw a few fouls to slow the pace we just kept trying to push for another goal and that, ultimately is our only failing, if we can put that right then we have a real chance if not we will continue to get results just like today. Their third was well worked- they simply smelled blood and opened us up down the right whipped in a cross that was well finished from a very tight angle . Rice didn't sniff it. 3-3 and we had chances to make it 4-3 one Young effort superbly tipped over the bar and numerous other threatening moves that may have produced the winner but it was not to be. Fantastic entertainment and I cannot fault one single player today they all put it in and wanted it badly. If we had had Sinclair inn this current team we would have walked this match and would probably walk the division , he was that good. Not disappointed because at the end of the day its all about getting your moneys worth and being entertained and lets face it we were due a draw and for sure and FGR will be there or there about come the end they have some very good players which were made to look ordinary by our talented crop for long periods. If we can learn to close out matches we have a chance but Im not sure Hargreaves wants to play that way and its costing us - but hey the entertainment is wonderful!
So frustrating we did not win that one after an outstanding team performance for much of the game. It was pleasing to see so many of our players on top of their game again after our recent barren run. Downes and Pearce were a tower of strength at the centre of defence and Berry was very impressive at right back. Going forward Ajala and Briscoe were excellent with their running and shooting, Cameron looked dangerous again on the wing and Bowman held the ball up very well and turned and beat his defenders more than once but sadly later went off injured. Crowd 2,117, 168 from Forest Green, sponsors MOTM Downes, Twitter MOTM Ajala.
My first impression today was to notice our new yellow and blue goal nets and how the pitch still looked in good nick considering all the recent rain. It cut up a bit during the game but nothing drastic. Torquay made a great start and Forest Greeen could not handle us. There was plenty of movement and invention from Torquay and after a Cameron shot got blocked, Bowman headed over their keeper into the net. Things got even better on 19 minutes as Ajala pounced and robbed the ball off their defender and raced clear to slipped the ball past their keeper into the net. 2-0 and Torquay were well in control. The game was played at a frantic pace and both teams went for it in an attacking sense. One minute we looked dangerous using our skill and pace, then before you knew it Forest Green were running at us and we were having to defend from a lively looking forest Green. Forest Green got 1 back following a free-kick on our right. The ball came into the box, 2 Forest Green attackers were unmarked and the ball was headed in with Rice rooted on his line. Torquay created some fantastic moves using some great passing and movement but sadly our players did not made the best of their chances opting to pass rather than shooting when clear on goal. Torquay went in at half-time deservedly 2-1 up.
Torquay had a good spell of pressure with their keeper making a great tip over save from a Young "special" that was just dipping in under the crossbar. Ajala got his second on 63 minutes following a Young corner the ball fell loose and Ajala slotted the ball home. At this stage there seemed little threat of a comeback but the match turned on a free-kick decision about 25 yards out central to goal. Pearce appeared to win his tackle but the referee gave a free-kick to Forest Green. The ball went through our wall and even more alarmingly through Rice into the goal. Torquay were struggling to clear their lines and Forest Green Green took the initiative. 4 minutes later it was 3-3 with a well worked move down our left.
With Bowman off injured. O'Archie struggled to hold the ball up and it was left to Ajala and Briscoe to be our main threat up front. Briscoe showed many aspects to his game, he was unlucky when a goal bound shot was just blocked by a defender and later showed great vision and laid a beautiful low cross for a waiting O'Archie but a defender just managed to get a toe on the ball to prevent a goal. In injury time Young burst through and unleashed a powerful shot that brought another great diving save from their keeper.
So 3-3 at full-time, there was great entertainment, some lovely skill and flair on show, some great team moves, a great team spirit but alas no 3 points. A friend of mine after the match suggested that if we had swapped keepers today, Torquay would have won comfortably. It's such a shame that so much of our good work has not been properly rewarded. Berry at right back is a big improvement for that problematic area but there are still 1 or 2 weak areas that need to be addressed. Our excellent performers today deserved better and there was good appreciation for the team as they left the field.
As others have said, wonderful entertainment. Thought we deserved the win but switched off fo their first, and undone by some neat play for their equalizer. The second was not a free kick in my eyes, a perfectly decent tackle from the impressive Pearce. At times today we were excellent but we need to learn to see games out from winning positions, something CH alluded to in his post match interview. Overall very impressed by our last two games. Very interesting point made by swanny's friend regarding today's two keepers, he was probably right.
Frustrating in the end but to be fair, Torquay played well against a decent team at this level. In the natural order of life, we would expect to beat FGR but this is the new unpleasant world, in which we now exist and with the resources they have their disposal, the quality of coaches, players and the whole set-up at the New Lawn, well, we are probably underdogs in comparison but we should have won today. Easily, as well.
Yet, when we were 2-0 up and trying to play like the Brazil our adjusted kit (presumably to avoid a luminous clash with FGR) was attempting to copy, I did think it was all going a little too well and it was the sort of game, with plenty of time to go, that teams throw away. With that, the heavens opened and so did any semblance of rhythm from Torquay's play and it was no surprise that FGR pulled a goal back. I was only half watching, at the time, and heard some behind me blame Rice but I am not sure if that was the case.
Torquay picked up again before the break and continued where they left off in the second half when Ajala made it 3-1. Bowman's withdrawal did upset the team though - the football that they played, for patches during the game, was really good to watch and there were many good chances. Briscoe plays that 'hole' role very well, whilst Ajala roams well and, although he attempts too many tricks at times, today was one of his good days and most things came off. Cameron was a little quiet on the opposite wing and it was no surprise when he was subbed.
The swap for Bowman with O'Achie couldn't be helped but the addition of Thompson and Yeoman, sadly, only served to weaken the team (not sure I even saw Yeoman touch the ball) as neither possess the ability or the nous to add something to the team.
The 2nd FGR was a stunning free-kick, wrong awarded for a foul when Pearce won the ball fairly. To blame Rice would be harsh. The kick went straight through the wall, it was hit with such menace, and there was little Rice could do to halt it's fierce trajectory into the new yellow and blue striped net. It was harsh on Pearce who was playing at something more like his best and there was a moment of defensive magic from him in the first half, when he was stricken on the ground as Hughes approached with the ball and yet, somehow, he launched a perfect tackle from his position on the ground, to win the ball firmly and fairly. Superb defending.
I was still busy texting someone about the free-kick when they equalised and I didn't even see their 3rd goal but at that point, only one team looked likely to win it and they were playing some good football before the game swung back towards us at the end with a few chances going begging and their keeper pulling off some decent saves.
A thrilling match, I should think, for any neutral. 6 goals, two teams playing some nice football. A good advert for football at this level but just so frustrating because I thought 3-1 was enough and that, at that point, we may have gone on to get 4 or 5 but in the end I was happy to take the point.