Forest Green 2 Colchester 0
Ecstatic Forest Green boss Rob Edwards admitted he got lost in the moment when celebrating with the fans after his table-toppers opened up a nine-point lead at the top.
Edwards celebrated in a manner reminiscent of Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp after goals in each half from Jamille Matt and Josh March made it 51 points from 23 games for the runaway leaders.
“They (fans) egged me on and I got carried away and lost in the moment, but it was good to soak it up and enjoy it with them at the end,” said Edwards.
The Rovers’ boss felt his side hit their straps from the get-go: “ I thought we controlled long spells of the game. Regan Hendry gave us control in midfield and it was great to see the outside centre back (Udoka Godwin-Malife) play his part in the goal and it was a neat finish from Jammer (Jamille Matt).”
Edwards lauded the impact of keeper Luke McGee who made a vital block in the dying embers of the game: “ Luke McGee is really important and doing his job really well and played his part with a decent save at 0-0 and a block at the end of the game.”
Rovers made it 12 League Two games unbeaten as the runaway leaders opened up a nine-point gap at the top with a 2-0 win over Colchester.
Matt’s 16th goal of the season and a stoppage-time strike from substitute March proved the difference between the two sides against a Colchester side struggling at the wrong end of the table.
Rovers were indebted to Luke McGee’s strong glove to deny Alan Judge early on.
But Edwards’ side hit their straps when Regan Hendry’s slide-rule pass released the over-lapping Udoka Godwin-Malife to fizz a ball into Matt who finished with an audacious flick beyond Jake Turner to nose the home side ahead after 15 minutes.
Colchester offered little but veteran Cole Skuse should have done better when shooting wide from the edge of the box.
McGee spared Rovers’ blushes with two smart blocks after the restart and a gloved response from Skuse.
Matt had a goal ruled out for offside and Matty Stevens could not get enough purchase on his header.
Jordan Moore-Taylor’s 90th-minute clearance off the line from Luke Hannant proved pivotal.
March made it game over in added time when he shot home after Tommy Smith squandered possession.
Colchester boss Hayden Mullins was happy with his team despite the defeat and said: “For large periods, to come here to the team at the top of the league and force them back at times, was pleasing.
“We created chances and good ones.
“To concede that early on and play the way we did was definitely encouraging.
“It was a moment of sloppiness from us to concede that goal. We switched off in the wide area and they got in behind us.
“The second goal was an unfortunate slip.”
Forest Green Rovers: McGee, Wilson, Bernard, Hendry (sub Sweeney, 79), Godwin-Malife, Moore-Taylor, Stevenson, Cadden, Stevens (sub March, 87), Aitchison (sub Young, 79), Matt.
Subs (not used): Thomas, Cargill, Edwards, Diallo.
Colchester United: Turner, Chambers, Eastman, Smith, Tchamadeu (sub Daniels, 69), Skuse, Wiredu, Coxe, Chilvers (sub Hannant, 69), Judge (sub Tovide, 79), Andrews.
Subs (not used): Dallison, Kennedy, Cooper, Gerken.
Referee: Ben Speedie.
Bookings: Colchester: Wiredu (foul, 32). Forest Green: Stevenson (44).
Goals: Forest Green: Matt (15), March (90).
Star Man: Regan Hendry. Back in the team and made Rovers tick.
Attendance: 1,829 (86 U’s fans).
Next up: Rovers travel to Northampton Town on Saturday.