Mark Cooper creates history with Forest Green’s promotion to the Football League with playoff victory against Tranmere

Forest Green Rovers………………………3

Woolery (11’, 43’)

Doidge (41’)

 

Tranmere Rovers……………………………1

Jennings, (22’)

 

 

Forest Green Rovers gain Football League status for the first time as a Kaiyne Woolery double gained them promotion after a 19-year stay in the National League.

 

Tranmere have now lost four play-off finals at Wembley and were denied this time after a four-goal haul in the first-half.

 

Under Mark Cooper, Forest Green have become well known for their passing game but have a habit of conceding while in possession at the back. A poor back-pass from Mark Ellis went out for a corner showed the tension early-on.

 

The deadlock was broken when Wigan loanee, Woolery, was given too much time to cut inside and with little back-lift fired into the bottom corner from 30 yards.  

 

Ten minutes later Tranmere equalised as Connor Jennings fired from 20-yards out to swing the game level. Just after the half-hour mark James Norwood was put through one-on-one but fired straight at Sam Russell.

 

A chip from Keanu Marsh-Brown was brilliantly clawed away by Scott Davies to avoid the on-coming Christian Doidge from putting Forest Green ahead.

 

Doidge was then given too much room to go one-on-one with 33-year-old Stephen McNulty and struck Forest Green into the lead.

 

Before Tranmere could find a way back into the game, a goal-kick was flicked on from Doidge which Liam Ridehalgh struggled to control and Woolery snatched the ball from the defender and calmly slotted the ball towards the near post.

 

Tranmere came out the stronger in the second-half as Russell was brought into action from a close-range header from Cole Stockton. The Liverpool loanee Jack Dunn came off the bench and brought a spark to Tranmere’s attack and supplied Stockton with a cross but Stockton’s header couldn’t find the target.

 

Forest Green continued to frustrate Tranmere as they slowed the clock down at every opportunity.

 

Cooper has surprised many by gaining promotion in his first season but the first step in Forest Green’s challenge to the Championship has been completed. Tranmere have become another top side under Micky Mellon and with more luck with injuries will be a certain for promotion next season.

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