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Kick off 15:00 (UK)

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16 March 2024 Venue The Bolt New Lawn Attendance

Kick off 15:00 (UK)

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English Football League - League Two

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Match Previews

Forest Green v Sutton preview

15 March 2024

Sutton's bid to retain EFL status reaches a crucial point on Saturday with a visit to the team that has until recently been alongside U's in the relegation zone for much of the season. U's will be in white for the encounter at Forest Green Rovers.

The appointment of Steve Cotterill as Forest Green's third manager this season has sparked a recent improvement in form and three wins in their last five games, which was almost four as Wrexham needed a stoppage time penalty to come away from The New Lawn with a point last month, saw them climb out of the bottom two on Tuesday night at Colchester's expense, and put them six points clear of Sutton having played a game fewer.
 
Tuesday's win at Bradford City saw two goals from Christian Doidge, their record scorer who was a key member of the side during their rise to the Football League, scoring in their play-off final win against Tranmere in 2017, and who rejoined the club in January from Hibernian and whose return has offset the recent absence through injury of leading scorer Matt Stevens.
 
Forest Green have won four games at home this season, most recently against Walsall last Saturday, with Colchester, Crawley and Tranmere also beaten at The New Lawn.
 
Sutton lost at the New Lawn in U's first ever EFL game back in August 2021 and drew 1-1 on the only National League visit five years earlier, while Forest Green are looking to complete a double this season after winning 1-0 at the VBS in September.
 
Saturday's referee is Ben Toner, in his ninth EFL season. He last refereed a Sutton game at Rochdale at the end of last season, and was the referee for the EFL Trophy final at Wembley last season.
 
Tickets will be on sale at the ground on Saturday, Under 18s admitted free if accompanied by a full paying adult to a maximum of three per adult. Prices are: Adults £23 seated, £21 standing; Over 65  £18 seated, £7 standing; Age 18-21 £14 seated, £11 standing; Unaccompanied age 12-17 £8 seated, £7 standing. Much of the accommodation on sale on the day is likely to be for uncovered terracing.
 
For supporters not travelling to the game we wil have our usual audio commentary on our iFollow service, with a match pass priced £2.50 or a monthly pass available for £4.49. Overseas supporters can watch the game for £10. Click here to buy the relevant pass. There is an Academy game at the VBS on Saturday morning against Stevenage, kick off 11.00am, with Ambers' Bar open all afternoon and evening - see here for details.  
 
The Supporters' Coach leaves at 10.00am, fare £25 return and is now full.
 
Supporters travelling to the game by car should note the closure of the M25 between Wisley and Chertsey this weekend and leave plenty of time for the trip. The ground is in Nailsworth, on the A46 between Stroud and the M4, but has no public parking. There is a park and ride scheme operated from Renishaw, on the A46 just north of Nailsworth (postcode GL5 5EY), with parking costing £3 on a first come first served basis, contactless or card payment only, and open from 12.30pm. Either leave the M4 at junction 18 and take the A46 north, or leave at junction 17, take the A429 to Malmesbury and then the B4014 through Tetbury to Nailsworth, then turning right on to the A46 to get to the park and ride. To get to the ground turn left off the A46 in to Spring Hill just after the B4014 junction and follow this road to the top of the hill.
 
By rail: The closest station is Stroud, reached by a direct service from Paddington at 32 minutes past the hour taking about an hour and a half. From there take the 63 bus, which is hourly at 40 minutes past the hour, and takes twenty minutes to get to the ground. The return bus is at 17.16, and return trains at 17.34, 18.34 or 19.33, the 18.34 requiring a change at Swindon. 

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Match Reports

Match report for Forest Green Rovers 0 Sutton United 1

16 March 2024

Forest Green Rovers 0 Sutton United 1 (Coley 39)

Sutton kept alive hopes of escaping the Sky Bet League Two drop zone thanks to a Josh Coley goal six minutes before half time which saw U's move to within three points of their hosts and Colchester, who both have games in hand. It was a thoroughly deserved victory, and a first clean sheet under Steve Morison's management, and U's will now hope that the performance can be matched in the seven remaining games to have a chance of escaping a return to the National League.

After hitting the woodwork twice in the first ten minutes Sutton could have been forgiven for thinking that it was to be another of those days, but Coley's superbly taken goal after a fine crossfield move gave U's the lead at half time and, apart from a Ryan Inniss header and a late Kyle McAllister shot, Steve Arnold had a pleasingly quiet second half as U's defended the slender advantage.

Sam Hart, one of three players brought in to the starting line-up as U's continued to be affected by illness in the lead up to the game, set the tone early on with a crunching ball-winning tackle in the first two minutes, and it was Hart who set up U's first chance soon afterwards, moving down the left before finding Olly Sanderson, who took advantage of some hesitant defending to get his cross in from the left and Coley's header at the far post bounced over via the angle of post and bar. U's were even more unfortunate when Charlie Lakin seized on a headed clearance and struck a low left foot shot from 25 yards that hit the inside of the far post and ricocheted across goal and out for a goal kick.

Forest Green also struck wood in the first half hour, Tyrese Omotoye holding off Omar Sowunmi's challenge to stab a left foot shot past Arnold but against the foot of the post. Christian Doidge, fresh from his two goals against Bradford in midweek, showed his instincts as he stretched a foot around Sowunmi to lift a shot just wide, but Sutton regained control towards half time and after Harry Beautyman had volleyed wide from the edge of the penalty area when he might have done better, the decisive moment came as Sanderson beat a challenge to come in from the right, and via Beautyman and Lakin the ball reached Coley on the left edge of the penalty area, and he checked back inside and found the top far corner of the net with Vicnete Reyes helpless.

U's continued to impress in the second half without being able to add the second goal that would have made the closing stages less anxious for the nearly 300 supporters who had made the trip to Gloucestershire. Several crosses just evaded their target in the middle, Reyes getting to a Joe Kizzi cross just before Sowunmi, and Harry Smith just unable to reach a cross from the right, where Stephen Duke-McKenna and subsequently Omari Patrick were a constant threat and Jamie Robson picked up the afternoon's only booking for a foul on Duke-McKenna that halted one dangerous attack. U's best effort came from Lakin with another low effort from range that Reyes dealt with, albeit uncertainly.

At the other end Forest Green saw any promising moves of their own fall down on some dominant defending and misplaced passing, and when Inniss found space to meet a corner from the left unmarked, his downward header was straight at Arnold. Other than that the U's keeper was largely untroubled, but the fragility of a single goal lead was nearly demonstrated in what would have been devastating fashion for U's when, deep in stoppage time, McAllister almost produced a replica of Rob Apter's goal for Tranmere two weeks earlier, but after cutting in from the right of the penalty area his shot was too close to Arnold who clung on gratefully.

Sutton: S Arnold, R Jackson, S Hart, O Sowunmi, J Kizzi, C Lakin, J Coley(sub D Moore 70), O Sanderson, H Smith, H Beautyman(sub C N'Guessan 85), S Duke-McKenna(sub O Patrick 64). Subs n/u C Clay, J Taylor, J Williams, M Kersey.

FGR: V Reyes, J Moore-Taylor, J Robson (sub m Lavinier 71) H Bunker(sub C Jones 71), R Inniss, D Thompson, K McAllister, C McCann, T Omotoye(sub J Maddox 72), C Doidge, E Osadebe(sub R Keogh 89). Subs n/u J Searle, D Bernard, D Johnson. Booked: Robson

Referee: Ben Toner

Attendance: 2,664(278 away)

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