Stockport County 2 Forest Green 1
STOCKPORT COUNTY 2 FOREST GREEN ROVERS 1
FOREST Green slipped to their first defeat of 2013 after failing to find top gear at Edgeley Park.
Goals either side of half-time from Sean Newton and Jon Nolan put managerless County in the driving seat, and substitute Reece Styche's thunderbolt could not spark enough of a momentum shift for Dave Hockaday's men.
Rovers looked the more accomplished side in possession, and they ought to have gone ahead on 35 minutes when Kieron Forbes' volley ricocheted for Taylor to bring a smart smothering save from Hatters goalkeeper Richard O'Donnell.
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Three minutes later an even better chance went begging, Chris Stokes running onto Forbes' pinpoint pass and crossing low for Yan Klukowski to inexplicably side-foot wide from eight yards.
How costly it proved, as five minutes before the break Newton lifted a craftsman's free-kick over the Rovers wall and beyond a motionless Russell to make it 1-0.
Stockport extended their lead four minutes into the second period, Nolan finishing off a flowing move with an emphatic rammed finish past a helpless Russell.
Hockaday quickly summoned Styche and fit-again Jamie Collins from the bench in an attempt to inject more muscle to the cause.
And it had the desired effect, as from a swift counter-attack Matty Taylor fed Styche for a blistering 25-yard drive that was past O'Donnell before he could react.
See Monday's Citizen for Peter Orchard's match overview, match reaction and pictures.
Forest Green: S. Russell; J. Hodgkiss, J. Turley, E. Oshodi, C. Stokes; K. Forbes (J. Collins 55), A. Bangura, Y. Klukowski; M. Vieira (R. Styche 53), M. Taylor, J. Norwood (Y. Odubade 76); Subs not used: E. Asafu-Adjaye, O. Koroma.