Honest Forest Green head coach Rob Edwards was unable to hide his disappointment as National League South minnows St Albans toppled the League Two leaders in the FA Cup first-round shock of the weekend.
“We really wanted to progress in this competition and I want to credit St Albans first and foremost, that’s the right thing to do,” Edwards told BBC Radio Gloucestershire.
“They deserved it, it’s their night tonight, the magic of the FA Cup and they’ve got what they deserved.
“We conceded some sloppy goals and we didn’t put it in the back of the net at the other end when we had chances and that’s the basic crux of it.
“But we are bitterly disappointed.”
Rovers were without top scorer Jamille Matt and huffed and puffed for 90 minutes – losing only their third game of the season.
Two leagues and 48 places separated the teams and it was Rovers who got into their stride when Matty Stevens stabbed in his 10th goal of the season on 19 minutes thanks to a Nicky Cadden assist. However, Ian Allison’s side turned the tie with two goals in four minutes to raise the roof at a packed Clarence Park.
Pictures: Shane Healey
Mitchell Weiss glanced a 25th minutes header in from John Goddard’s cross before Zane Banton finished beyond Luke McGee just for minutes later to put the part-timers in control.
Predictably, Forest Green bossed possession and fit again Jordan Moore-Taylor hit the crossbar with a 34th-minute header from a corner and then fizzed wide at the far post.
Rovers netted parity when Jack Aitchison fizzed in after a defense-splitting pass from Ebou Adams.
Rovers were lacklustre after the break and Shaun Jeffers got a deserved winner with 13 minutes to go. Rovers upped the ante in the dying embers – Johnson saved well from Aitchison before a superb sliding block denied Aitchison and Johnson foiled Josh March with the follow-up