Forest Green Rovers 1-3 Grimsby Town

Omar Bogle

Omar Bogle (left) scored 13 league goals in the regular season

Grimsby Town returned to the Football League after a six-year absence with victory over Forest Green Rovers in the National League promotion final.

Two quickfire Omar Bogle goals just before half-time gave Grimsby control.

Forest Green fought back after the break and Keanu Marsh-Brown’s superb goal reduced their deficit after Jon Parkin had missed from six yards.

But Grimsby – playing in the play-offs for a fourth consecutive year – struck a late third through Nathan Arnold.

Paul Hurst’s side, who lost to Bristol Rovers on penalties in last year’s final, had seen Arnold’s long-range strike tipped onto the post shortly before taking the lead at Wembley.

Bogle then glanced in Jon Nolan’s free-kick via Rovers’ Darren Carter’s back to open the scoring, before volleying in from six yards on the rebound to double Grimsby’s lead just one minute later.

Forest Green introduced substitute Parkin at half-time and the 34-year-old former Preston striker’s presence changed the game.

Parkin could only hit the side netting from Forest Green’s best chance, inside the six-yard box, before Marsh-Brown’s sweet, dipping strike gave them hope.

But Forest Green, who had finished nine points above Grimsby in the league table, could not find an equaliser despite a spirited fightback.

Rovers, who sacked manager Ady Pennock one week before the start of their semi-final against Dover to “boost their chances in the play-offs”, had set a fifth-tier record of nine consecutive wins to start the season, before being beaten to the league title by Cheltenham Town.

Having finished in their highest-ever league position in second, they were led at Wembley by caretaker boss Scott Bartlett, while next season’s manager, Mark Cooper, offered guidance from the dugout.

But the Nailsworth club – who had hoped to make their home town the smallest settlement to ever host a Football League club – saw their promotion hopes dashed in the play-offs for the second year running.

Arnold, who had a low shot saved with 15 minutes to play, completed the win in stoppage time, tucking in on the rebound to end Forest Green’s hopes of a late twist.

The promoted Mariners return to Wembley on 22 May for the FA Trophy final against FC Halifax.

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