Forest Green Rovers 1 Scunthorpe United 0
Forest Green boss Rob Edwards heaped praise on his side as the champions-elect reached a club record 75 points haul after beating basement boys Scunthorpe United.
Dan Sweeney’s second-half header underpinned the league leaders’ promotion march at the top of the tree, keeping their lead at the top to four points and nine points clear of fourth-placed Northampton Town with eight games to go.
Edwards beamed: “We had some good chances to make it a little easier, but it doesn’t matter at this stage of the season, so I’m pleased to get over the line and get to a record points haul for the club.”
Edwards was pleased to see burly defender Sweeney grab the only goal of the game, his first for the club, with 15 minutes to go: “Not many would have money on big Sweens (Dan Sweeney) getting the winner and it was a really good header and I’m delighted for him – he gives us bags of personality.”
Rovers were dealt an early blow when top scorer Matty Stevens hobbled off, but Edwards lauded his replacement Josh March: “It’s too early to assess Matty Stevens, but I thought Josh March was outstanding when he came on and I had no hesitation in bringing him on.”
Scunthorpe are now 13 points adrift at the foot of the table, but boss Keith Hill gleaned the positives in defeat, he said: “I’m pleased with the players, the determination and grit and I thought they were magnificent against arguably the best team in the league, our back three nullified Jamille Matt really well and we stuck to our task, but I’m frustrated with the free-kick gift from the referee and you can’t give Nicky Cadden gifts like that for Sweeney to score from.”
Earlier, Scunthorpe belied their lowly position and mustered the first shot in anger – Hayden Hackney thumping Luke McGee’s post from the edge of the box.
Rovers dealt a blow in the 15th-minute – top scorer Stevens limping off.
Rovers gained a foothold but were denied by Iron keeper Rory Watson who clawed a Cadden free-kick over. However, he was beaten when substitute Josh March smacked the bar, but moments later Watson clawed an Ebou Adams strike and then a gloved response from the busy March and a flying save from Cadden’s free-kick.
After the break, a superb double save by McGee kept the game at deadlock, the former Portsmouth keeper thwarting the lively Tyrese Sinclair and veteran Liam Feeney.
At the other end, Watson remained on his mettle – blocking Sweeney’s close-range stab. It was Sweeney who found the net with 15 minutes to go – nodding in from Cadden’s free-kick.
Watson denied Jake Young with his feet as Rovers cantered home.