CINDERFORD TOWN 1 PAULTON ROVERS 2
Rovers secure 7th place with their 7th away league victory.
Match report from Andy Harris.
Rovers ended their season with a 7th away victory in an entertaining, end of season match, at The Causeway.
The home side began well enough with the lively Kris Miller having a shot blocked in the 3rd minute and then sending a 20 yard effort well wide after good work from Danny Haines. It was 9 minutes before the visitors threatened as Adam Mahdi produced a fine run and cross, which was well cut out by a defender at the near post. Mahdi was in action again in the 16th minute when he took a free kick, which led to the opening goal.
Ben Lacey was brought down on the right hand corner of the Cinderford area and Mahdi’s left footed free kick was pushed out for a corner from the right by home keeper, Ben John. The resultant corner came in and skipper, Dan Cleverley, mishit an attempted volley but the ball was adjudged to have hit the hand of Haines who was prostrate on the floor at the time. Having not scored all season the penalty was entrusted to Stuart Tovey and he fired home, beating John low to his right.
Cinderford almost equalised immediately from the restart with an excellent passing move, which set up a shot for Andy Lewis on the edge of the area but Rovers’ keeper, Kyle Phillips, produced a fine save.
Rovers doubled their lead in the 23rd minute as Tovey’s free kick, from wide on the right, was headed on by Mahdi and defender, Marcus Mapstone, beyond the far post saw his shot beat the dive of John, to find the bottom corner of the net.
Rovers enjoyed a good spell of pressure and had appeals for a second penalty for hand ball turned down while Mahdi and James Billing both just failed to hit the target. John produced a good save to deny, what would have been an excellent goal from Billing in the 37th minute, as he won the ball with a header on the right touchline, before cutting inside two defenders and unleashing a shot which the Town keeper pushed aside.
Rovers were forced to make a change at the interval with Ryan Gay replacing the injured Lacey. Town spurned a chance 4 minutes after the resumption as Andy Lewis fired wide having pick up a headed clearance from Ben Osman and at the other end Mahdi shot just over after a good run from Jack Allward and Billing did well to set up Cleverley, but his shot went just wide. Rovers thought they had added a third in the 57th minute as Mapstone rose above everyone to head home Mahdi’s free kick from the left, but the assistant flagged for offside. Rovers then had a lucky escape as Phillips, having saved well from Andy Lewis from a narrow angle, could only watch as the same player thumped a volley from 15 yards against the top of the far post from the ensuing corner. Andy Lewis should have reduced the arrears on 77 minutes as substitute, Matt Smith, sent a ball into the area that dropped to him unmarked, but he volleyed weakly straight at Phillips.
However Town did grab a consolation goal 6 minutes from time as Haines, now pushed into midfield, took a corner from the right which drifted to the far post where defender, Greg Lewis, stabbed the ball home.
Town almost grabbed a point with the final action of the game as Matt Barnes picked out another substitute, Warren Archer at the far post but he headed straight at Phillips and Rovers were left with all three points that saw them secure 7th place in the league whatever happens in the remaining fixtures.
Rovers: Kyle Phillips, Stuart Tovey, Jack Allward, Ben Osman (Lee Bryant 60 mins), Marcus Mapstone, Scott Brice, Adam Mahdi (Charlie Giles 80 mins), Craig Loxton, James Billing, Dan Cleverley (C), Ben Lacey (Ryan Gay 45 mins).
Subs not used: Ben Bicknell, Jon Harvey.
Star Man: Marcus Mapstone (Rovers)
Referee: Kevin Morris
Assts: Alan Berrow / Rob Usher