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Date: 28-12-15 gif Venue: The New Lawn gif att: 2110 gif away fans: 225
The fans are resigned. The players are resigned...

gif Report: Phil Lench
...How long until Hockaday resigns?


Today was the biggest pointer so far that this club under the tenure of Colin Gordon, Rob Brown and Dave Hockaday have resigned themselves to relegation from the top echelon of non league football and are now looking forward eagerly to life at a lower level than we have been in thirty three years.  We were warned by Forest Green fans that Hockaday was tactically inept and so it proved today.

Then again the referee was also inept!

I won't bother going into a blow by blow account because we didn't really have any blows to remember.  We began the game with a couple of changes from the Cheltenham game a few days ago with Elton N'Gwatala starting for the first time in place of Lathaniel Rowe-Turner and Jordan Jones coming in for Luke Maxwell.  Hockaday had obviously learnt from Saturday that we needed a creative player on the pitch with Dino Fazlić out suspended hence N'Gwatala coming in and we started off ok with two teams that looked equally matched in terms of ability.

That went to pot when the referee inexplicably awarded Forest Green a penalty after Matt Young was caught the wrong side of Elliot Frear in the penalty area.  Young barely touched Frear and the ex Salisbury winger didn't fall forwards in the slightest or fall/dive to the ground but he did attempt to handle the ball has it struck him on the chest.  The ref ignored that and pointed to the spot before booking Young for the offence.

Jon Parkin despatched the gift easily and put his side an un-deserved 1-0 up.  Minutes later Frear and Young tangled again out on the touch line with Frear going down a little too easily under the challenge and the ref couldn't wait to pull out a second yellow followed by the red.  Down to ten men we needed to re-group and Jones moved to the full back position.

Obviously we needed to get the goal back, even with ten men, and that was going to be hard but we continued to give FGR a game.  Chances were hard to come by for both sides and we had the first real chance when N'Gwatala fired just wide of the upright.  For FGR Brett Williams came the closest when he put one just past the post too.

So far we looked good enough to maybe get a goal back with ten men after Hockaday had spoken to the team at half time and tweaked a bit here and tweaked a bit there.
  HT: 1 - 0
He tweaked it alright.  He took our only striker off and put a defender on in his place.  Matt Barnes-Homer stayed in the dressing and Luke Maxwell came on.

Basically we were playing with five defenders and five midfielders and we had no outlet for any possible attacks.  Maxwell was trying to play as a forward but his poor control and poor passing ability was never going to work against strong defenders such as Forest Green possessed.

Ben Whitfield did try to have a go and to be honest there was only him and N'Gwatala that looked capable of creating anything but with no target man to aim for it all looked futile.  Whitfield had our only chance of the second period when he managed to set off on a run only for the home keeper, Steve Arnold, to grab hold of his shot easily.

That was it for the Harriers and we looked a spent force.  A section of the Harriers support began to vocally criticise Hockadays tactics by not playing a striker and that was hit home when Rovers scored a second goal.  Heads dropped further and the calls began to come from the fans for a striker to be bought onto the pitch but those calls were ignored as Hockaday sat on the bench passionless.

By now Forest Green were just toying with us as we looked all at sea and clueless.  Whitfield and N'Gwatala continued to try and get us moving but the rest of the team failed to respond until finally Hockaday made his move.  On came Gurjit Singh in place of Whitfield of all people and the on loan Bournemouth lad went off in disbelief as did the fans.  Later we were informed that he had a slight hamstring injury but it didn't look that way to us.

The introduction of Singh still failed to raise our game so N'Gwatala was then taken off leaving us without any creativity at all on the pitch.  On came James McQuilkin but the game was over as a contest as Rovers scored their third and final goal.

Substitute Kurtis Guthrie and Brett Williams combined with the latter firing wide from close range and then into injury time the third goal was added when Guthrie rose highest and unmarked to send the ball beyond the reach of Dean Snedker.

On the way home from this latest capitulation we heard Colin Gordon defending the set up of the team and the tactics used.  He seemed to be resigned to going down and by inference then so does the Head Coach.

We are too.
  FT: 3 - 0

 Goals for FGR: Parkin 16 (pen), Williams 58, Guthrie 90


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gif Elton N'Gwatala



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Latest table and stats here  

Forest Green Rovers  goals   subs   cards      Harriers  goals   subs   cards 
Arnold     Snedker  
Kelly     Young
Racine   Francis-Angol  
Clough     Hodgkiss  
Sinclair     Langmead  
Bennett gif     Howkins  
Williams gif     N'Gwatala gif
Wedgbury     Whitfield gif  
Parkin gif     Barnes-Homer gif  
Carter gif     Patrick  
Frear gif     Jones  
SUBS:         SUBS:      
Maxted     Brown  
Pipe gif - 74     Rowe-Turner  
O'Connor     Maxwell gif - 46  
Marsh-Brown gif - 66     Singh gif - 79  
Guthrie gif gif - 81     McQuilkin gif - 85  

REFEREE:
Mr C Hatzidakis
Kent




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