Forest Green head coach Rob Edwards insisted his side have rediscovered their mojo ahead of this weekend’s League Two trip to Exeter City.
Forest Green showed plenty of gusto in their opening Papa John’s Trophy group game, picking up a point in a 1-1 draw against Northampton who gained a bonus point via a 4-2 penalty shootout, with former Forest Green keeper Jonny Maxted taken the plaudits when saving penalties from Jack Evans and Jamille Matt.
Earlier, Rovers nosed ahead when Josh March’s strike deflected off Michael Harriman after Evans’ ball dropped to the lively Rovers’ striker.
Northampton netted parity when Scott Pollock planted a sumptuous header beyond the reach of Lewis Thomas on 51 minutes before the Cobblers picked up an extra point during the shootout.
Following their first league defeat of the season in an inept showing against Port Vale on Saturday, Edwards took plenty of positives during his post-match synopsis against Northampton, saying: “I was really pleased with the first-half performance. They probably had a 15-minute spell when they were on top and that’s when they scored.
“But I thought we finished the game really strongly and we looked the more threatening team and we could have been a bit more ruthless.
“We scored a fantastic goal but I wanted us to take advantage of that pressure and momentum because we had a lot of good moments.
“But they grew into the game in the second-half and we couldn’t deal with the cross in the box which they scored from.”
Despite the injection of Matty Stevens, Jack Aitchison and Jamille Matt in the second-half, Rovers failed to show the same first-half intent.
Edwards added: “We didn’t have as much control in the second-half and it was a bit scrappy, but we battled really hard and looked threatening in the last 10 minutes.
“There were a few scrambles and we couldn’t quite force it over the line. We lost on penalties but the key tonight was to have that intensity in our play and I thought we did.”
Rovers will be without the suspended Ebou Adams for the trip to Exeter City, but hope Nicky Cadden will be fit to return along with Opi Edwards.
Forest Green: Tomas, Bernard (c), Sweeney, Stevenson (Aitchinson 67), Adams, Allen, Moore-Taylor, Evans, Young (Matt 76), Diallo, March (Stevens 78)
Subs not used: McGee, Cargill, Hendry, Carter
Cobblers: Maxted, Harriman, Nelson (c), Hoskins (Horsfall 68), Flores (Koiki 63), Sowerby (Rose 68), McWilliams, Connolly, Pollock, Ashley-Seal, Kabamba
Subs not used: Woods, Tomlinson, Ngwa, Abimbola
Referee: Chris Pollard
Star Man: Jack Evans – put his marker down with an energetic display.
Next up: Rovers return to league action with a trip to Exeter City, Saturday, September 4, 3 pm.