<
>
2016/17 National League, Final
  • Connor Jennings (22')
  • Kaiyne Woolery (12', 44')
  • Christian Doidge (41')

Forest Green beat Tranmere to claim place in Football League

Kaiyne Woolery fired a Wembley double as Forest Green secured a place in the English Football League for the first time in their history by beating Tranmere 3-1 in the National League playoff final.

Woolery's superb opener gave his side an early lead and although Connor Jennings equalised for Tranmere soon after, Forest Green struck twice in quick succession just before half-time.

Christian Doidge's stunning effort put them back in front and Woolery added his second three minutes later as the Gloucestershire side banished memories of their defeat to Grimsby in last season's play-off final.

Tranmere, who lost their Football League status in 2015, battled gamely in the second period but Forest Green ran out deserved winners and joined champions Lincoln in Sky Bet League Two.

Forest Green took the lead with their first effort on target in the 11th minute when Woolery, on loan from Wigan, was given far too much time to pick his spot from 25 yards with a low right-footed shot.

Tranmere responded well and levelled the match 10 minutes later. Jennings was teed up just outside the penalty area after some neat build-up and the former Wrexham striker slammed home his seventh goal in eight matches.

Forest Green goalkeeper Sam Russell brilliantly denied Tranmere forward James Norwood in a one-on-one in the 33rd minute as Tranmere looked odds-on to take the lead.

But it was Mark Cooper's side who seized the initiative with two goals in three minutes just before half-time.

Liam Noble picked out Doidge with an excellent cross-field pass and the latter cut inside to unleash a superb angled drive inside Tranmere goalkeeper Scott Davies' far post.

Forest Green doubled their advantage soon after as Woolery pinched the ball off Tranmere left-back Liam Ridehalgh and ran clear to slide the ball beneath Davies.

Russell pulled off another superb save early in the second period to keep out Cole Stockton's header from a corner and Liverpool loanee Jack Dunn went close for Tranmere with a stunning long-range effort.

Tranmere defender Stockton headed just wide on the hour-mark, but the Merseysiders gradually ran out of ideas.

Dunn sliced a half-chance way off target in the closing stages and Forest Green, based in Nailsworth which has a population of just 6,000, held on to the delight of their outnumbered fans in a crowd of 18,801.

Conference News