New boy Brogan's late strike nets Rovers deserved victory
Macclesfield Town 1
Forest Green Rovers 2
LATE as the decisive blow was delivered, victory over ten-man Macclesfield justifiably rewarded a showcase of Forest Green's finest qualities.
Substitute Steve Brogan's debut strike in the 93rd-minute enraged some of the Cheshire natives, but such grievances were unfounded after the visitors dictated terms for vast spells of a classy contest at Moss Rose.
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Matty Taylor's fourth goal of the season had been cancelled out in the second half by Matthew Barnes-Homer, five minutes after John-Paul Kissock's red card had strangely knocked Rovers off their stride.
An ankle injury to Aarran Racine meant a first start of the season for Chris Stokes at left-back, with Ed Asafu-Adjaye shifting to right-back and Jamie Turley to the centre of defence.
Dave Hockaday could not have asked for a brighter start from his side, Stokes heading over from a Ben Wright cross before a superb move cut the home defence to ribbons.
Taylor and Magno Vieira were the architects, the latter's slide-rule pass finding Kieron Forbes for a low shot that cannoned off a post.
Seconds later, and with Macclesfield seemingly in disarray, Vieira wriggled free on the right and forced goalkeeper Lance Cronin into a smart parry.
Steve King's side are more impressive as an attacking force, and there was a stark warning for Rovers in the ninth minute when Barnes-Homer burst clear and drove wide of Sam Russell's far post.
Nine minutes later Barnes-Homer found space for a 16-yard shot that was beaten away by Russell, who was in action again to tip over Nathaniel Brown's header from a corner.
Back came Forest Green, and another good chance went begging when Forbes fed Vieira for a firm but wayward drive.
Somehow it was still scoreless, though Arnaud Mendy connected sweetly with a 25-yarder that swerved considerably and was well watched by a flying Russell.
The breakthrough finally came ten minutes before half-time and was as simple as they come, Taylor latching on to Russell's booming punt downfield and maintaining composure to roll the ball home.
Taylor threatened again before the break, dragging one across the face of goal after a clever turn, and early in the second period Forbes jinked his way into a shooting position but failed to keep it down.
Rovers continued to look the likelier scorers, and the frame of the goal came to Macclesfield's rescue again on 55 minutes when Wright bent a free-kick over the wall and saw it strike the angle of post and crossbar.
Four minutes later the hosts were left short-handed by the already cautioned Kissock, who was horribly late with a challenge on Stokes.
As so often happens, Rovers seemed to find life tougher with a numerical advantage, and it was 1-1 in the 64th minute when Asafu-Adjaye's weak clearance under pressure dropped for Barnes-Homer to ram home.
But Hockaday's men cleared their heads, and they struck aluminium for the third time in the match when Vieira fired against a post.
It looked like being a tale of frustration, but in the third minute of added time Asafu-Adjaye worked space for a right-wing cross and Brogan – captured five days earlier from Guiseley – provided the deftest of finishes from close range.
Macclesfield Town: L Cronin; R Jackson, N Brown, T Diagne, C Braham-Barrett; J-P Kissock (J Mackreth 65), A Mendy, K Murtagh, A McNamee; M Barnes-Homer, W Fairhurst (C Holroyd 70). Subs not used: P Mills, C Henry, A Morgan-Smith.
Forest Green: S Russell; E Asafu-Adjaye, J Turley, E Oshodi, C Stokes; K Forbes (R Styche 85), A Bangura, J Collins; M Vieira (S Brogan 80), M Taylor, B Wright (Y Klukowski 63). Subs not used: O Koroma, P Marsh.
Referee: K. Evans (Wigan)
Star man: Kieron Forbes was at the heart of some glorious moves, running the show in the first half.