The battle to reach the Football League climaxed yesterday with Forest Green trying to get into league football for the very first time. Whilst Tranmere were trying to get back to where they still believe they belong after two years now in the Vanarama National League.
There was certainly plenty at stake before kick off, with the new money and ambitious boys of Forest Green in one corner. The team from Nailsworth in Gloucestershire have lost around five million pounds in recent years chasing the promotion dream of league football and having lost the final last year to Grimsby were desperate for that not to happen again this year.
As for the Tranmere themselves, they have all their history and of course traditions of an old-fashioned club of 133 years. Where back in the day but many years ago had three attempts and appearances in the play-offs to get into the Premier League. It wasn’t to be though and now they’re were they are after relegation after relegation over the years. This was also their first Wembley visit for 17 years after losing 2-1 to Leicester City in the League Cup Final.
This season Tranmere and Forest Green respectively finished easily second and third behind the best team in the league in Lincoln, so going into this they both had the belief they could win this massive game! Managers Mark Cooper and Nicky Mellon had done their bit too and now it was down to the players to perform and handle the pressure on the pitch at Wembley Stadium.
Forest were at full strength at kick off whereas Tranmere had about seven or eight injuries so the despite finishing nine ahead of them, the Green Army knew they had a chance and it didn’t take them too long to score. In the eleventh minute after slow build up play, a long-range effort from Kaiyne Woolery took Tranmere keeper Davies by surprise to give them the lead.
Connor Jennings wasn’t messing round though as he got Tranmere level just ten minutes later with a brilliant strike in front of his own fans to bring the game level. It was probably undeserved at the point as they had been poor but the goal got their confidence up and soon chances were coming for both teams. None more so than on 36 minutes when Marsh-Brown brought the ball down superbly and chipped Davies from a tight ankle but the keeper moved his feet back quickly to claw it off the line.
Davies though, couldn’t do anything about Doidge’s strike five minutes later as he smashed in a great shot which was very similar to Jennings’ earlier. The goals didn’t stop there because just when you thought it was going to be 2-1 at half-time to Forest Green, they made it 3-1 after an awful defensive error. Ridehalgh miss controlled a bouncing ball and Wollery was in again and he took his time as he slotted the ball passed Davies once again for his second of the day.
That is how finished in the end too. Tranmere tried to get back into it in the second half but they never really put Forest Green under too much pressure. And with a two goal lead, Mark Cooper’s team saw out the game after getting the job pretty much done in the those few late minutes in the first half. Which means they can taste league football for the first time ever very soon. They will be relishing the day when their new fixtures for next season come out. Very well done.