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Wednesday, 28 June, 2000, 13:43 GMT
Forest Green pull off great escape
Marc McGregor
Marc McGregor scored vital goals for Forest Green
Forest Green Rovers only retained their place in the Nationwide Conference in the final six minutes of their very last match of a difficult season.

Rovers secured a 2-0 win at home to Kettering to escape relegation on goal difference, sending Welling out of the "fifth" division by the narrowest of margins.

Fans' favourite Paul Hunt netted in the 84th minute, then two minutes later Marc McGregor slotted home from an acute angle to seal Rovers' great escape.

In an equally dramatic match at champions Kidderminster a few days earlier, Rovers fought back from 3-0 down to earn an a point. How crucial that proved in the end.

Survival in the Conference was a major achievement for the tiny Gloucestershire club, who are the minnows of an increasingly competitive league.

Rovers' attendance average increased to 963 for the 1999/2000 season. This gave a rise of 12.7% on the previous season's figure of 854 - and the club are looking to top the 1,000 mark in 2000/2001.

Rovers captain Chris Burns won the supporters' player-of-the-year award.

It was by a very close margin, in fact there was only one vote between him and runner-up Wayne Hatswell with Billy Clark in third.

Manager Frank Gregan and his players performed miracles to avoid the drop and will hope 2000/2001 does not bring such another close call.

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