National League - 1st Leg
Dover0Forest Green1

National League play-off semi-final: Dover Athletic 0-1 Forest Green Rovers

Brett Williams
Brett Williams signed for Forest Green in January after his contract at Stevenage was terminated

Forest Green Rovers have the advantage in their National League play-off semi-final after a narrow, hard-fought victory in the first leg at Dover.

Brett Williams, who scored the only goal in Forest Green's win at Dover in their final match of the regular season on Saturday, curled the visitors ahead.

The hosts almost levelled late on when Stefan Payne struck narrowly wide.

Dover must now win Saturday's second leg at the New Lawn to reach 15 May's final at Wembley.

Grimsby host third-placed Braintree Town in the first leg of their semi-final on Thursday.

Forest Green, who sacked manager Ady Pennock just one week before their first leg to give the side the "best possible chance in the play-offs", according to chairman Dale Vince, are looking to reach the Football League for the first time in their history.

Caretaker boss Scott Bartlett has now led the Gloucestershire club to two victories in his two games in charge - both away to Dover - ending a seven-match winless run.

Rovers, who lost to Bristol Rovers in last season's semi-finals, had suffered an early blow when an injury to Marcus Kelly saw him replaced by Williams on 12 minutes.

But after the hosts twice failed to clear a right-wing cross into the box, substitute Williams had time to curl an exquisite effort into the top corner from the edge of the area.

Dover's best chances came just before half-time but Forest Green defenders Charlie Clough and Dale Bennett did well to block Ricky Miller and Payne efforts respectively.

The scoreline could have been better for the visitors - who completed an entire league season without failing to score away from home - but Elliot Frear volleyed over.

Forest Green Rovers caretaker boss Scott Bartlett told BBC Radio Gloucestershire: "There are no wild celebrations because we all know there are twists and turns in play-offs.

"I wanted to come here and win. We're in a great position. We need to prepare properly now for Saturday.

"I'm confident we'll actually get promoted. I've got to be, because it rubs off on the players. But they're confident as well."

Line-ups

Dover

  • 1Walker
  • 2Magri
  • 28Essam
  • 18Parkinson
  • 6Orlu
  • 21ThomasSubstituted forSterlingat 84'minutes
  • 7Modeste
  • 4Kinnear
  • 17Deverdics
  • 9Miller
  • 23Payne

Substitutes

  • 8Bellamy
  • 15Grimes
  • 16Sterling
  • 26Marsh
  • 30Rafferty

Forest Green

  • 1Arnold
  • 6Bennett
  • 16Racine
  • 19SinclairSubstituted forParkinat 90+1'minutes
  • 3JenningsSubstituted forPipeat 68'minutesBooked at 90mins
  • 4Clough
  • 24Carter
  • 10KellySubstituted forWilliamsat 13'minutes
  • 9Marsh-BrownBooked at 34mins
  • 17Guthrie
  • 11Frear

Substitutes

  • 2Pipe
  • 14Moore
  • 20Parkin
  • 26Williams
  • 40Pidgeley
Referee:
Adrian Holmes
Attendance:
2,071

Match Stats

Home TeamDoverAway TeamForest Green
Possession
Home61%
Away39%
Shots
Home9
Away12
Shots on Target
Home1
Away4
Corners
Home5
Away10
Fouls
Home11
Away12

Live Text

Match ends, Dover Athletic 0, Forest Green Rovers 1.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Dover Athletic 0, Forest Green Rovers 1.

Offside, Forest Green Rovers. Brett Williams tries a through ball, but Brett Williams is caught offside.

Foul by Elliott Frear (Forest Green Rovers).

Nicky Deverdics (Dover Athletic) wins a free kick.

Attempt blocked. Stefan Payne (Dover Athletic) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Substitution

Substitution, Forest Green Rovers. Jon Parkin replaces Rob Sinclair.

Booking

David Pipe (Forest Green Rovers) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by David Pipe (Forest Green Rovers).

Chris Kinnear (Dover Athletic) wins a free kick.

Foul by Darren Carter (Forest Green Rovers).

Chris Kinnear (Dover Athletic) wins a free kick.

Attempt missed. Stefan Payne (Dover Athletic) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the right.

Substitution

Substitution, Dover Athletic. Tyrone Sterling replaces Aswad Thomas.

Foul by Stefan Payne (Dover Athletic).

Rob Sinclair (Forest Green Rovers) wins a free kick.

Corner, Forest Green Rovers.

Foul by Aswad Thomas (Dover Athletic).

Keanu Marsh-Brown (Forest Green Rovers) wins a free kick.

Foul by Aswad Thomas (Dover Athletic).

Elliott Frear (Forest Green Rovers) wins a free kick.

Offside, Dover Athletic. Ricky Miller tries a through ball, but Ricky Miller is caught offside.

Offside, Forest Green Rovers. Brett Williams tries a through ball, but Brett Williams is caught offside.

Foul by Aarran Racine (Forest Green Rovers).

Ricky Miller (Dover Athletic) wins a free kick.

Offside, Forest Green Rovers. Charlie Clough tries a through ball, but Charlie Clough is caught offside.

Foul by Sam Magri (Dover Athletic).

Elliott Frear (Forest Green Rovers) wins a free kick.

Attempt missed. Aarran Racine (Forest Green Rovers) right footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the right.

Corner, Forest Green Rovers.

Attempt saved. Aarran Racine (Forest Green Rovers) header from the centre of the box is saved. Assisted by Keanu Marsh-Brown.

Corner, Forest Green Rovers.

Attempt blocked. Elliott Frear (Forest Green Rovers) left footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked.

Substitution

Substitution, Forest Green Rovers. David Pipe replaces James Jennings.

Offside, Forest Green Rovers. Keanu Marsh-Brown tries a through ball, but Keanu Marsh-Brown is caught offside.

Attempt missed. Ricky Miller (Dover Athletic) left footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the left.

Foul by Richard Orlu (Dover Athletic).

Kurtis Guthrie (Forest Green Rovers) wins a free kick.

Offside, Forest Green Rovers. Keanu Marsh-Brown tries a through ball, but Keanu Marsh-Brown is caught offside.

Foul by Stefan Payne (Dover Athletic).

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Cheltenham4630115873057101
2Forest Green462611969422789
3Braintree4623121156381881
4Grimsby4622141082453780
5Dover4623111275532280
6Tranmere4622121261441778
7Eastleigh4621121364531175
8Wrexham462091771561569
9Gateshead461910175970-1167
10Macclesfield461991860481266
11Barrow461714156471-765
12Woking461710197168361
13Lincoln City461613176968161
14Bromley46179206772-560
15Aldershot46168225472-1856
16Southport461413195265-1355
17Chester461412206771-454
18Torquay461312215476-2251
19Boreham Wood461214204449-550
20Guiseley461116194770-2349
21Halifax461212225582-2748
22Altrincham461014224873-2544
23Kidderminster46913244971-2240
24Welling46811273573-3835
View full National League table

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