Our opponents: Forest Green Rovers
Where is it? The New Lawn Stadium, Nailsworth
When is it? Saturday, August 21, 3pm kick-off.
What is it? Sky Bet League Two Match Three
ONES TO WATCH
Jamille Matt recently signed a new contract with Rovers that will keep him at the club until 2023, after the forward netted 17 times in 38 league appearances last season, after joining from Newport County.
The Jamaican was a real talisman for FGR last time out, as his goals proved pivotal in their play-off push, where they were knocked out by Newport County over two legs, losing out 5-4. Jamille is a tall presence up top, and a real aerial threat at over six feet tall. So far this season he has found a new strike partner in Matty Stevens, and the pair have found the back of the net on seven occasions between them within four games so far.
Matt scored in a 1-3 away win at Walsall, a 1-2 away win at Rochdale as well as Rovers’ cup victory over Bristol City, meaning he has three in four so far this term. The striker failed to score against the Reds last season, playing 90 minutes in our impressive 1-2 win in Nailsworth.
Ebou Adams is often regarded as Forest Green’s powerhouse in the middle of the park, known for his strength, vision and miles covered from midfield. This strength and determination can be his downfall on the odd occasion, as he picked up three red cards last season as well as eleven bookings. Ebou has already collected a booking this term but has played 90 minutes in all four competitive fixtures so far, proving his importance to the side.
Another athletic and dominating figure, Adams also has an eye for a pass and will be looking for the runs of both Jamille Matt and Matty Stevens on Saturday.
The Rovers’ forward has had a fantastic start to this campaign, after not finding prolific goal scoring form for the last few seasons. Stevens only scored once in 18 league games for Stevenage last year, and only managed six in 39 from the previous two seasons with his parent club in Forest Green.
Matty currently sits at the top of the League Two top scorers charts after three games, despite not completing a full 90 minutes of play. The striker netted in 2-1 wins over Sutton and Rochdale as well as scoring a brace away at Walsall.
The forward is quick and nimble and has also been given penalty duties for the season, netting from the spot at Walsall. Manager Rob Edwards has crafted a handy pairing between Stevens and Matt, and this shows through the seven FGR goals scored from only three league games.
HEAD TO HEAD
Since Forest Green’s promotion to the football league in 2017, Crawley have faced them on eight occasions, only claiming victory once which came last season in the away fixture as Tom Nichols stole the show with an electric brace as the game finished 1-2.
Before this victory the Reds had lost in all three previous away meetings with the side from Nailsworth, and have also recorded three home draws from four home meetings since 2017.
VISITOR FORM GUIDE
Again this time around the Reds will face league leaders early on in the season. Rovers top League Two after achieving three wins from three without earning a single clean sheet, but scoring seven times, the most within the league so far.
Rob Edwards’ side began their league campaign by welcoming newly-promoted Sutton United to The New Lawn, who now have ex-Red Enzio Boldewijn within their ranks. The Yellows worked FGR hard and were level in terms of stats, but Ebou Adams fired in a 91st minute winner as the scoreline ended 2-1.
The Gloucestershire side then went on to knock championship team Bristol City out of the Carabao Cup, winning via penalties after an initial 2-2 draw in normal time. Next it was a trip to the midlands to face Walsall, who made it far too easy for Saturday’s opponents from the whistle, as Rovers romped the first-half which ended 0-3. Walsall got a consolation goal in the 92nd minute through Brendan Kiernan to see the game finish 1-3.
Finally on Tuesday Edwards’ men travelled up to Rochdale, who levelled the scoring much like Sutton did, but unlike that game Forest Green picked up their winning goal much earlier in the 49th minute, less than a minute after Rochdale had clawed their way back into the game. Dynamic Duo Jamille Matt and Matty Stevens the scorers.
Tickets can be bought from The People’s Pension Stadium Ticket Office until 4:30pm Friday but can also be purchased on the day from The New Lawn.
PRICES - COVERED STANDING
Adult - £20
Over 65 - £16
Under 21 - £10
Under 16 - £7
Under 11 - Free with Adult
Adult - £23
Over 65 - £18
Under 21 - £14
Under 16 - £8
Under 11 - Free with Adult