FGR Matches from seasons gone by! 2001 to 2003.

FGR from 2002 -03 season
BACK ROW; MATT COUPE, ALAN MCLOUGHLIN, CARL HEGGS, NEIL GRAYSON, KEVIN LANGAN, GARY OWERS, STEVE JENKINS,
MIDDLE ROW; STEVE LOCK, PAUL BIRCH, ALEX MEECHAN, LUKE JONES, LEE PRITCHARD, STEVE PERRIN, ELLIS GLASSUP, JAMIE IMPEY, SIMON FUTCHER , ROB COOK, DARREN PERRIN, DAVE TYRRELL
FRONT ROW; TREVOR TIERNEY, DANNY ALLEN, LEE RUSSELL, ADIE ADAMS, NIGEL SPINK, MARTIN FOSTER, ALEX SYKES, JOHN CANT, NATHAN LIGHTBODY

Some years ago the The Supporters Club rescued a number of match videos from going to the dump.  The quality of the video material doesn’t match current day levels that FGR operate at but they are historic records of seasons gone by. A selection of the match videos have been digitised by The Supporters Club and will now be released via this webpage and via the FGR website – our thanks to FGR for this.

The videos cover a chunk of FGR’s progress through the Conference from the 2001-02 season and we hope that you will enjoy watching the action over the forthcoming weeks.
The 2001-02 season featured our current manager Mark Cooper as top goalscorer and player of the season.  We can’t guarantee that you will enjoy watching the action, but then hey, whats new ?!!!

FGR’s 2001 – 02 Season – A certain Mark Cooper keeps Rovers on Track

Nigel Spink was Rovers manager at the start of the season. The new Barnfield Terrace (recycled at The New Lawn as The North Stand) was completed on the Nailsworth side of the ground in time for the new season.

Nigel Spink’s main aim was to get off to a good start in the League at the fourth time of asking and Forest Green were within 7 minutes of a dream start in their first game, holding on to a first half lead before Scarborough equalised at the end.  Farnborough were then seen off at the lawn with a 1-0 win, the goal being scored by teenager Danny Allen who had come in from the youth team.  The third game was lost to Boston which was followed by a win away at Dover Athletic.  Simon Travis had been away at the world student games, where Great Britain came 7th overall, and slotted into a team enjoying its best start ever to a Conference season.  Alex Sykes had returned to Nuneaton and played in their 2-1 defeat of Rovers in mid-September, before Rovers bounced back with a 2-1 win over Woking and a further win at home to Southport 2-1.

After 12 games, Forest Green had 19 points in the bag and a mid table position, before old habits returned, losing to the League’s bottom side Stalybridge Celtic at home 2-0; this was followed by a 5-1 defeat at Doncaster, the heaviest of the season but again Rovers bounced back with a 2-1 win away at Leigh RMI to move up to ninth place with 22 points after 15 games.

Kayodi Odejayi made his debut for the club against Telford United on October 20. He was on loan from Bristol City and he nearly scored. Rovers 10-match unbeaten run ended with a 3-0 defeat at Farnborough which was Kayodi’s last game on loan for the time being having been edged out of the team by Carl Heggs.

Their form in the league had been dropping off and this was mirrored by their position at the beginning of March beating Woking 4-3 away in a match that was billed as a potential relegation six pointer.  Mark Cooper had won the match again, this time with two inch-perfect free kicks before Forest Green beat Hayes 2-1 with a Carl Heggs double to move Forest Green nine points clear of the relegation zone and into 14th place.  

Results towards the end of the season tailed off quite dramatically and Rovers plummeted to within two points of the drop zone before they beat Barnet away 1-0 with a penalty from Mark Cooper with two games left in the season.  Mark Cooper then assured Forest Green’s conference survival scoring two to beat Northwich Victoria in the penultimate game.  The season ended on a low note with a 5-1 loss to Southport.

Forest Green finished 18th, seven points above the relegation zone.  Boston United were promoted to the Football League, narrowly beating Dagenham and Redbridge.

The Club with Trevor Horsley at the helm, had been hoping to secure some land from Highwood school to extend The Lawn, but hopes of securing the land were dashed that season.  Thoughts turned to the possibility of siting a new stadium on the surplus playing fields up behind the school.   A report was published on behalf of The Town Council confirming that it was definitely feasible to relocate the Football Club up the road beyond the school.  And so the move to The New Lawn started to be planned in earnest.

FGR v Dover 20.02.02 – Won  2 – 1,  Scorers:  Mark Cooper & Own Goal – Att:  509

FGR are in Black and White with red socks

Forest Green Rovers take on Scarborough at The Lawn in October 2002 (attendance 751)


To help keep the FGR v Scarborough match in context, here is a potted history of the 2002-03 season (courtesy  of Tim Barnard) which started under Nigel Spink and ended on the up with Colin Addison in charge. 

Nigel Spink was manager at the start of the 2002-03 season but had overseen a poor run in to the end of the previous campaign, finishing just 7 points above the relegation zone.  If it hadn’t been for Mark Cooper’s free kicks the situation could have been far worse.       For Nigel Spink’s FGR, without Mark Cooper and others, the first five games were lost. John Richardson and Neil Grayson joined the Club along with Kayode Odejayi in time to face Chester City. Experienced midfielder Gary Owers had also joined at the beginning of the season.

Nigel was shown the door after the defeat at home to Chester, his form at the beginning of this season, and the end of last had resulted in only 2 wins in 15 games including 11 defeats, not good enough to keep Rovers in an increasingly professional league.

Colin Addison, who not so long before had been manager of Atletico Madrid was installed to guide Forest Green to safety. Rovers were still bottom after 10 games with only six points and then travelled away to Farnborough. Forest Green’s new strike partnership of Neil Grayson and Kayode Odejayi, the old and the young, both netted goals in a 3-0 victory complemented by a spectacular effort from Alex Sykes. A 4-4 draw at against Barnet saw Rovers move out of the relegation zone with Alex Meechan scoring two goals to peg Barnet back towards the end of the game.

KAYODI ODEJAYE IN ACTION AGAINST GRAVESEND IN SEPTEMBER SOON AFTER JOINING THE CLUB

Forest Green’s form picked up as the season wore on. In the FA Cup Rovers played Ford United in the 4th qualifying round, winning 2-1. Their reward was a home tie against Exeter City which was destined to become the first live TV game beamed from The Lawn into everybody’s homes for Sunday lunchtime viewing. Unfortunately, the game itself was not a great spectacle and ended 0-0 with a replay to follow at St James Park.

COLIN ADDISON CONGRATULATES ROB COOK AFTER THE GRAVESEND GAME

The following Saturday, Forest Green travelled to Barnet and gave what must have been one of their most inept performances so far in The Conference. Kayode Odejayi managed to give the ball away when not even under pressure leading to the first early goal for Barnet and the whole of the rest of the team seemed to be under a spell which said ‘Thou shalt not play football’. The game was lost 2-0, but had it been lost 7-0, Forest Green couldn’t have complained.

Three days later down in Exeter, for the FA Cup replay, the story could not have been more different. Forest Green came out from the kick-off and took the game to Exeter and played one of their most memorable matches in front of a large contingent of Rovers fans. For most of the match, it looked as though Rovers were the better team and then right at the death, Steve Flack popped up at the back post to score a winner for Exeter, breaking the hearts of the Rovers travelling support.

NEIL GRAYSON CHALLENGES FOR THE BALL AGAINST HEREFORD UNITED AUGUST 2002

A Boxing Day win over Yeovil 2-1 with the winner from Kayode, and a draw away at Hereford set Rovers up for the New Year. The match at Hereford saw Rovers play in red having had to borrow the home side’s kit after the referee insisted on a change because of a colour clash.

In the FA Trophy, Forest Green beat Barnet 4-2 at the beginning of January in the third round followed by Gainsborough Trinity and Dover athletic before facing Havant and Waterlooville at home in the quarter-final in March. Rovers lost the game 2-1 having appeared to become overconfident.   The dream of a semi-final meeting against Gloucester City remained just that as City also bowed out against Aylesbury in the quarter-final.

Rovers fans were not too disappointed because in the League it appeared that Forest Green stood a real chance of finishing in the top half for the first time in The Conference especially after a fine 6-1 victory over Nuneaton with eight games to go. And this is exactly what they did, ending in 9th  position.

Forest Green Rovers take on Scarborough at The Lawn in October 2002 (attendance 751)