Forest Green boss praises Bristol Rovers as he picks out ‘fantastic’ player

Ian Burchnall was happy to praise Bristol Rovers where he thought best to do so. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)Ian Burchnall was happy to praise Bristol Rovers where he thought best to do so. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
Ian Burchnall was happy to praise Bristol Rovers where he thought best to do so. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images) | Getty Images
The Forest Green Rovers boss picked out one player that impressed him in his side’s 2-1 win over Bristol Rovers

Forest Green Rovers boss Ian Burchnall has reserved praise for Bristol Rovers after beating them on the opening day.

Burchnall began his reign as FGR boss with a win as his side won 2-1 at the Memorial Stadium in what was their League One debut.

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Regan Hendry’s goal a minute from time was the difference between the two sides after Aaron Collins had cancelled out Jordan Moore-Taylor’s second-half opener.

“We knew it would be a tough game and it was. Credit to Bristol Rovers, we knew it would be like that first 20 minutes here, the atmosphere was bouncing. The opening game of the season and we are newly promoted.

“We knew we had to take on that first 20 to 25 minutes and just be really resilient. They gained a lot of territory and had the upper hand.

“We stood our ground, we didn’t concede too many big chances. We bedded ourselves into the game and once we got our foot in, we played some great stuff.”

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One player from the opposition that was given praise was goalkeeper James Belshaw, who delivered another solid performance, despite being on the losing side.

Belshaw had to contend with an attack that was prolific last season, boasting the likes of Jammille Matt, who scored 19 goals last season in their League Two triumph.

He made a string of good saves in Forest Green’s spell of dominance and was undone by a moment of quality.

There was also a praise from Burchnall about how his side responded to Collins’ equaliser, having continued to stay strong to their beliefs of getting maximum points.

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Burchnall added: “I thought Belshaw for them was fantastic, he pulled some great saves off. That was credit to the chances we created.

“Luke (McGee) had one good save in the first-half but not too many big chances we conceded. We were very good without the football and with it we created some good stuff.

“They get the goal and you heard the crowd, it’s very easy at that point to give up the momentum at that moment of the game, sit back and hold on and get the draw. We didn’t do that, we were still creating chances, we were positive and it was quite an open game.

People who were watching it was saying it was a good game and I’m just pleased we got that second goal.”

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FGR’s match-winning goal came from Scotsman Hendry who silenced the home crowd with an effort of real quality.

At first glance it could be seen as a cross-hit shot but through a second look through replays, the 24-year-old’s strike looped over Belshaw in a moment of quality.

His boss revealed that the instruction has been to shoot on sight more and that may have played a part in the goal that clinched the game.

He said: “I don’t know if he’s told you but I told him to shoot more, he’s got to shoot more. The way that he finishes in training is outstanding, it is good that he is listening.

“It was a moment of magic, I wouldn’t have seen him finishing from there but it was a great finish.”

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