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🔎 The Opposition: Forest Green Rovers (A)

Jed Penberthy takes a look at Tuesday night's opponents

19 April 2021

Five games to go and a trip to Gloucestershire beckons in a “season-defining” week for the Grecians.

Ahead of Tuesday’s 7pm kick off, here’s an overview of our hosts from Forest Green Rovers.

  • Founded: 1889
  • Nicknames: The Green Devils, Rovers, The Little Club on the Hill
  • Honours: Southern League (1997/98), FA Vase (1981/82)
  • Home Kit: PLAYERLAYER Green and Black Zebra Print shirt, green shorts and socks
  • Away Kit: PLAYERLAYER Zebra Print shirt, white shorts and socks
  • Form: LLLLW (6th in League Two)

A football club was recorded in Forest Green at the end of the 19th Century established by the local Reverend Edward Peach and began their history at the Lawn Ground in Nailsworth, Gloucestershire.

Nailsworth is a small town in the Stroud Valleys about 25 miles north of Bristol most notable for its milling history.  Nailsworth parish included the sites of at least 14 mills, situated on the various brooks which join to form the Nailsworth stream.

The football club joined the Mid-Gloucestershire League for 1894/95 season but disappeared, before reforming as Forest Green Rovers in 1898. In 1968 Rovers became founders of the Gloucestershire County League and progressed to the Hellenic League in ’75.

Success of Rainworth Miners Welfare in the FA Vase final in 1982 was the start of the rise-up the football pyramid, firstly to the Southern League in 82/83, then to the Conference in 1998/99.

The Greens reached the play-offs in 2014/15 and 15/16, before finally being promoted to the football league after a 3-1 win over Tranmere at Wembley in the 2017 play-off final.  

Pioneering as the world’s ‘Greenest Football Club’, sustainability is central to everything Forest Green Rovers do, from solar panels and electric vehicle charging points at The New Lawn, to a wholly vegan matchday menu. FGR are the only football club awarded with the Vegan Society Trademark.

The Manager

Jimmy Ball

Ball has stepped up as interim boss between now and the end of the season following the departure of Mark Cooper.

Jimmy is the third generation of Ball to manage in the Football League after Alan’s snr and jnr. This makes the Ball family the first to reach the third generational milestone.

Dad, and World Cup winner Alan (Jr) managed the Grecians between 1991-94, being memorable for his brilliant use of his youth policy, with an early taste of what was to come for City.

Jimmy though has made a positive start to his time at the New Lawn, with a 3-2 win over Scunthorpe on Saturday.

The Stadium

  • Name: The innocent New Lawn
  • Capacity: 5,009
  • Year opened: 2006
  • Record Attendance: 4,836 vs Derby County (FA Cup 3rd Round, 2009)
  • Address: Another Way, Nailsworth, Gloucestershire, GL6 0FG

Perched on top of a hill in Nailsworth in the picturesque Cotswold countryside, The New Lawn is not your typical football stadium.

Opened in 2006 to replace the old Lawn Ground (1890) the ground boasts the world’s first ‘organic’ pitch, meanwhile solar panels account for 25% of the ground’s electricity.

The pitch itself recycles rainwater for stadium use and waste oil from kitchens is turned into biofuel. Plans are well in place to expand the New Lawn by building it almost entirely out of wood.

The Innocent smoothie company took over sponsorship rights early this season by inviting fans to rename the ground, though in their invitation they announced ‘Stadium McStadiumface’ would not be accepted.

One To Watch

Aaron Collins

It was A. Collins and A. Collins who both found themselves on the scoresheet when both sides met on Boxing Day, and the Forest Green version has kept adding strikes since. (Archie trumped him with that piledriver though).

Aaron Collins.jpg

Seven goals and six assists this season for the 23-year-old striker has chipped in nicely behind Jamille Matt. Matt hpwever is out for the season with a hand injury and the impetus lies on Aaron Collins’ shoulders to get Rovers over the line.

The Welshman began at Newport, prior to signing for Wolves and Morecambe, via a few loans. In 2019, Collins signed for The Green Devils and has been a mainstay in the side since. 

Other notable squad members in the FGR squad include three former City players: Kane Wilson; Jayden Richardson; and Jordan Moore-Taylor.

Head to Head

City have a great record against Forest Green but go into Tuesday’s six-pointer four points behind their opposition. The teams have met each other 22 times and Exeter are unbeaten in the last five.

  • Exeter wins: 11
  • Draws: 9
  • Forest Green wins: 2

Recent encounters

Exeter City 1-1 Forest Green Rovers | League Two | Boxing Day 2020

Fans in the ground were off their feet in festivities, when Archie Collins scored his goal of the season contender to cancel out his namesake’s opener.

Exeter City 3-2 Forest Green Rovers | EFL Trophy | St James Park | 08/09/20

Exeter picked up their first win of the 2020/21 season through goals from Nicky Ajose, Matt Jay and Josh Key.

Forest Green Rovers 0-1 Exeter City | League Two |The New Lawn | 01/01/20

Nigel Atangana scored and got sent off as City picked up a crucial three points to kick start the new year.

Exeter City 1-0 Forest Green Rovers | League Two | St James Park | 12/08/20

Ryan Bowman volleyed in his fifth of the season to score the only goal of the game at the Park.

And Finally

In 1978/79 Rovers recorded the record victory in the FA Vase beating Avon Bradford 12-1. Kenny Gill scored a double Hattrick for the Greens.

How to Watch

Whilst we would love you to be there, showing your passionate support for the Grecians, you can get the next best thing by purchasing a match pass at the cost of just £10 in the UK. The stream includes the live club commentary, score overlay and replays.

By purchasing a match pass on the City website, you'll be providing much welcome income whilst games are played behind closed doors with all the funds going to the Grecians after 500 passes are sold.

To purchase a match pass please click here.

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