Forest Green Rovers 2 Barnet 2
Doidge (41,43) (Akpa-Akpo 58. Campbell-Ryce (63)
3,171 (Barnet 501)
With Hartlepool and Orient being relegated from League Two at the end of last season, my 92 became 90 by virtue of the fact that I had never been to a game at Forest Green or (strangely) Lincoln City in all my years of footy watching. Forest Green and Lincoln were promoted to League Two from the National League last season.
The, now sought after, programme for the game made much of the fact that FGR is a village team, the smallest team in the League, and having navigated the single track lanes leading up the hill to the ground I can vouch for the fact they are! They will need to acclimatise to the big time quickly though as they did show for this game they perhaps have underestimated demand for their games. A print run of just 900 left many without a programme while the queues out of the several little car - parks after the match were horrendous. There are plans for another new ground already on the drawing board apparently
The other claim to fame the New Lawn has is that it is said by FIFA to be greenest football ground in the world- and by that I don't think they mean the club colours. The club if completely Vegan - meaning that you won't get a pork or steak pie on in this arena! A bowl of houmous or a veggie burger are the best you'll achieve although the real ale in the Green man under the Main Stand was very acceptable! Apparently even the players have to agree to be fed a vegan diet - whether they like it or not!
The way they played the first half I was about to recommend it to Leeds United too as they went in at half time with a two goal lead having had the best of the half. Two opportunist goals from Christian Doidge put them in a great position in this, their first ever game in the Football League.
Sadly they showed their naivety at the start of the second half by allowing Barnet to dictate the game to them for long periods and eventually the pressure told and by the 63rd minute Barnet were level. That's how it ended and over the whole game it was probably a fair result.
The ground itself is neat and tidy with a main stand along one touchline and an undercover terraced section at both ends of the ground. The remaining west side of the ground is open to the elements and if the good contingent of Barnet fans along that side were in any doubt the home fans enjoyed singing "It's gonna rain in a minute" to them not long after the start! I also chuckled as they sang "For a village club not bad" as the half time whistle blew with them holding that 2 - 0 lead.
So, apart from the traffic chaos I enjoyed my first trip to Forest Green and I will remember if I go back there in 2040 that they do at least have charging points for a few cars at a time in their car park, just one more of their green attributes.