Cheltenham Town have returned to winning ways after beating Forest Green 2-1 at the Jonny-Rocks Stadium.
Goals from Will Boyle and Andy Williams handed hosts Cheltenham the Gloucestershire bragging rights as Michael Duff’s side have climbed into the top three of the League Two table.
In a frenetic start to the first half, both sides were keen to mark their territory with an early goal. Despite the protestations of goalkeeper Lee McGee, it was Cheltenham centre-back Boyle who opened the scoring in the 20th minute.
Ben Tozer’s customary long throw caused problems for McGee who was caught under the flight of the ball, before Boyle nodded into an empty net at the far post.
Cheltenham were reluctant to offer their Gloucestershire counterparts an incentive to chalk off their early lead as Charlie Raglan led the hosts through to half time with some full-blooded tackles.
While Cheltenham controlled the lion's share of possession, there was little respite for an injury stricken Forest Green defence who were lucky not to be two down before the half-hour mark. Goalkeeper McGee limited the hosts to a slender advantage before the break as he thwarted Andy Williams’ header from point-blank range.
Rovers' boss Mark Cooper was forced into a unforeseen change before kick-off as Jordan Moore-Taylor replaced the injured Nicky Cadden, who was named in the original line-up for the in-form travellers.
Forest Green had only lost one in their last six in all competitions before this one, and even managed to stave off a competitive loss to Cheltenham for over 22 years, having last lost to their Gloucestershire neighbours in 1998.
Duff’s side were in the mood to rest on their laurels and instead go for the jugular as the second half got underway.
Starting at the base of a threatening attacking trio, May was the architect of Cheltenham’s second goal, after the interval. Threading a pass through the Forest Green backline, Williams was afforded room to run in on goal and calmly convert past the helpless McGee to double the hosts advantage before the 60th minute.
After taking control of proceedings soon after, the visiting Rovers were handed a lifeline when Chris Clements bundled Scott Wagstaff over inside the box. Substitute Aaron Collins converted from the penalty spot to halve the deficit with 20 minutes left to play.
Ells Chapman made his league debut when he replaced May as Duff reverted to a more familiar shape. Cheltenham's boss had started former Forest Green forward Reuben Reid up front with Williams for the first time to cause problems for Forest Green in the first half.
Cheltenham will travel to Boundary Park on Tuesday evening (kick-off 18:00) to contest another three points against Oldham Athletic.
CHELTENHAM TOWN (3-4-3): J Griffiths (Gk) C Raglan, B Tozer, W Boyle, C Thomas, L Sercombe, C Clements, C Hussey, A Williams, A May (E Champman ’73), R Reid (A Addai ’60). Subs not used: M Harris (Gk), M Blair, L Freestone, G Horton, T Sang,
FOREST GREEN ROVERS (3-4-1-2): L McGee (Gk), L Kitching, C Stokes, U Godwin-Malife, S Wagstaff, C Winchester, D Sweeney (A Collins ’55), N Cadden, E Adams, J Young, J Matt. Subs not used: L Thomas (Gk), E Whitehouse, K Wilson, M Stevens, J Moore-Taylor, O Bailey.
REFEREE: Graham Salisbury. ASSISTANTS: Darren Wilding, Andrew Aylott. Fourth Official: Ravel Cheosiaua