Forest Green head coach Mark Cooper insists his side can achieve something “really special” after they held Sky Bet League Two leaders Newport to a 1-1 draw.
Cooper lauded his promotion-chasing side after Jamille Matt scored against his former club in the second half of a pulsating clash, after Michael Flynn’s side had led at the break through a Tristan Abrahams penalty.
Cooper said: “if we play with that style and aggression, we can achieve something really special this season – and I truly believe they can.
“I thought we looked aggressive, powerful and some of our play was really good and we tried to dominate the ball.
“Newport were good and they’ve changed their style drastically but I thought we were really determined throughout the game.”
Cooper thought Luke McGee should have saved the penalty from Abrahams, with the ball squirming under his goalkeeper’s body.
Cooper continued: “We made a mistake for the goal but I expect my goalkeeper to save the penalty because he’s a really good goalie.”
He also believed referee Ben Toner disrupted the game, claiming: “One person tried to ruin the game.
“Twenty-seven of the fouls weren’t fouls. You could tell it was a good game between two teams who want to play football – but why keep stopping it for niggly contact?
County boss Flynn said: “Would we have taken a draw before kick-off? Probably – but now we’re disappointed.
“We’ve come here and worked extremely hard and got the point but we’re disappointed not to go home with all three.
“Having said that, they are a good team and they’ll give someone a real spanking. Then again, so will we.
“We had the better chances and should have done better with some of our headers in front of goal but it’s a good point.”
Newport opened with intent, Jamie Proctor failed to make the right connection with a fourth-minute header, glancing wide from a teasing Ryan Haynes’ cross.
Matt Dolan planted a header wide from a Josh Sheehan corner and Proctor’s overhead kick flashed over the bar as the visitors dominated.
Rovers responded and Nicky Townsend’s hurried clearance presented a chance for Aaron Collins, but the former County striker drilled wide from the edge of the box.
Townsend atoned for his earlier error with a strong glove to deny Collins from a Jayden Richardson cutback and then another sharp block from the lively Collins.
Cooper’s team were stung a minute before the interval when former Leeds defender Liam Kitching caught Josh Labadie in the box and Abrahams drilled the resulting spot-kick under McGee.
The hosts levelled in the 76th minute when Matt pounced inside the box for his sixth goal of the season, after good work from substitute Matty Stevens.
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