Forest Green’s third straight victory was marred by a serious injury to key defender Udoka Godwin-Malife deep into a hard-fought 2-1 victory at plucky Rochdale.
There was a lengthy stoppage late on as the defender landed badly and was carried off on a stretcher, wearing an oxygen mask following an innocuous-looking collision near the halfway line. Godwin-Malife was taken to hospital with a suspected broken collarbone.
Earlier, Rob Edwards’ side took the lead against the run of play in the 34th minute when the electric Kane Wilson raced free down the right, nutmegged his marker and and fizzed a ball into Jamille Matt who finished with aplomb to touch beyond Jay Lynch for his third goal of the season.
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A high-octane start to the second half saw Matt Stevens’ header hit the bar before Robbie Stockdale’s side netted parity when the outstanding Alex Newby fizzed the ball into the roof of the net in the 48th minute.
But Dale’s lead lasted less than 60 seconds as the quick-thinking Stevens started and finished a sumptuous move that saw Nicky Cadded pick out Matt for Stevens to volley in his fourth goal in three league games.
The previously underemployed Luke McGee showed a strong glove to thwart Abraham Odoh. Josh Andrews missed a great chance as he planted a free header over the bar.
Godwin-Malife’s injury led to nine minutes of stoppage time but table-toppers Rovers held on to make it three wins from their opening three league games.