FOREST GREEN ROVERS 3
(Woolery 11, 44, Doidge 41)
TRANMERE ROVERS 1
FOREST GREEN ROVERS have won promotion to the Football League for the first time in the club’s history after beating Tranmere Rovers at Wembley.
A Kaiyne Woolery double and a strike from top scorer Christian Doidge, all scored in a pulsating first half, were enough to see the Nailsworth outfit seal their place in League Two for next season.
Despite a large majority of the 18,801 crowd cheering on their opponents Tranmere, Forest Green, well backed financially by green energy tycoon Dale Vince, have realised their dream.
Both teams were shooting towards their own goals in the first half and after a couple of half openings, Forest Green took the lead 11 minutes in.
The rapid Woolery was given way too much room by the Tranmere defence, he took advantage, marched forward and fired in a left-footed shot from 20 yards out into the bottom left-hand corner.
The goal shocked Tranmere but they regrouped and were back on level terms in the 22nd minute.
Connor Jennings picked up a loose ball, took a touch and unleashed an unstoppable effort from 25-yards that fizzed past Sam Russell and into the top corner.
The goal galvanised Tranmere and Micky Mellon’s side should have taken the lead just after the half hour.
James Norwood raced on to the ball after Charlie Cooper had accidentally flicked a header towards his own goal but the forward fired his effort from the edge of the penalty area straight at Russell, who did well to stand firm.
Tranmere had keeper Davies to thank for a fantastic save to claw away Keanu Marsh-Brown’s lobbed effort from off the line.
Then Mellon’s side went up the other end and Andy Mangan was inches away from making connection with Jennings’ low ball across goal.
A breathless first half still had more to give, however. Forest Green top scorer Doidge was found in acres of space on the left-wing, he ran at Steve McNulty, shifted the ball onto his right foot and arrowed an effort into the far corner from the edge of the area with four minutes of the first period remaining.
And despite looking on top five minutes previously, the game drifted further away from Tranmere in the 44th minute.
Liam Ridehalgh couldn’t control a bouncing ball, Woolery stole in, raced clear and calmly slotted past Davies to give his side a two-goal advantage at the break.
The second half picked up where the first ended, Cole Stockton forcing a superb reaction save from keeper Russell after getting his head to an early Jeff Hughes corner.
Russell was then busy again after bringing trouble on himself. He tried to dribble the ball out of his penalty area rather than clearing, was caught out by Stockton but despite having an open goal, the striker curled his effort over the bar as he was off balance.
Mellon introduced Liverpool loanee Jack Dunn and top scorer Andy Cook hoping they could spark a fightback.
But credit must go to Mark Cooper’s side, who on the whole defended stoutly and restricted Tranmere to long shots and deep crosses.
Forest Green managed to see out the game, much to the delight of their travelling support, meaning Tranmere must prepare for a third season in the National League.
Forest Green / Tranmere
Shots on: 4 / 3
Shots off: 3 / 6
Corners: 0 / 4
Offsides: 0 / 0
Fouls: 5 / 11
Yellows: 3 / 1
Reds: 0 / 0
FOREST GREEN (4-2-3-1): Russell; Monthe, Ellis, Bennett, Pinnock; Cooper, Traore (Wedgbury 81); Woolery, Noble, Marsh-Brown (Wishart 62); Doidge (Mullings 76). Subs not used: Tilt, Bugiel
TRANMERE (4-3-3): Davies; Buxton, McNulty, Ihiekwe, Ridehalgh; Hughes, Maynard, Jennings (Cook 61); Mangan (Dunn 53), Stockton, Norwood. Subs not used: Turner, Gumbs, Collins
Star Man: Kaiyne Woolery (Forest Green)
Match Rating: 4/5
Ref: Anthony Backhouse