It seems that City are now in the habit of winning at home and drawing away, as emphasised by a pair of draws on the road in the last week, and Matt Taylor will of course be hoping that the recent run of home wins is extended as City look to make it 12 unbeaten in all competitions against a side who themselves are proving very difficult to beat. Saturday marks an auspicious occasion as the Adam Stansfield Stand is in use for the first time, and City will no doubt wish to mark the occasion with a win. Illness has ravaged the squad in the past week with top scorer Jayden Stockley only fit enough for the bench at Crawley on Tuesday night, while Hiram Boateng withdrew minutes before kick off. Taylor will therefore be hoping that he has close to a full squad to choose from barring anyone else going down ill.
After a torrid first season in the Football League, big spending Forest Green are making a better fist of things this time around, although they have earned a reputation as draw specialists after nine of their first 15 finished level. Mark Cooper was busy in the summer with a number of players leaving (most notably Christian Doidge for Bolton) and a number of both permanent and loan signings made, including the purchase of City midfielder Lloyd James, who has according to local reports been one of their standout players this season. One player hoping to regain fitness in time for Saturday is Reuben Reid, who hasn’t featured since leaving the field during their only defeat so far at Northampton a couple of weeks back.
City and Forest Green were regular opponents last season, meeting four times thanks to an FA Cup replay, with City having the upper hand. The first meeting was at the New Lawn, with City racing to a 3-0 lead thanks to Sweeney and a double from Reid before Mullings netted a consolation. The FA Cup 2nd round tie, also at the New Lawn, was an epic battle which finished 3-3. Doidge had the hosts ahead at half time, but City went in front thanks to Moore-Taylor and Stockley. Laird equalised late on, and Forest Green thought they’d won it when Doidge netted again in injury time, only for Stockley to force a replay. The replay went to extra time – a Doidge penalty put the visitors ahead, but City equalised despite being down to 10 men after Tillson’s red card when Sweeney netted a penalty. In extra time Forest Green went down to 10 men themselves with a red card for Monthe before Stockley netted late on to clinch a tie with West Brom. The same combination, Stockley and a Sweeney penalty, sealed a 2-0 win in the home league match. City have the lead in league head to heads with six wins to Forest Green’s one, with five matches finishing level. Details of those encounters can be found at http://www.grecians.co.uk/wordpress/?p=9840
Referee: Dean Whitestone
Assistant Referees: Simon Shaw and Justin Amey
Fourth Official: Kevin Morris
Dean is a regular referee for Exeter games, having reffed 15 games going all the way back to November 2003. You can find out about those matches at http://www.grecians.co.uk/wordpress/?s=whitestone