Forest Green made it three wins from three with a 2-1 victory at Rochdale on Tuesday night, but the result was marred by a serious injury to Udoka Godwin-Malife.
There was a lengthy stoppage late on as the defender was carried off on a stretcher while wearing an oxygen mask following an innocuous-looking collision near the halfway line.
Rovers had taken the lead against the run of play in the 34th minute when Matt Done made a hash of an attempted interception, allowing Kane Wilson to race free down the right and square for Jamille Matt to send a composed finish wide of Jay Lynch.
A lively start to the second half saw Matty Stevens’ header hit the upright before the home side equalised when Alex Newby smashed the ball into the roof of the net in the 48th minute.
But Dale’s parity lasted less than 60 seconds as Stevens restored Rovers’ lead with a smart finish.
Abraham Odoh’s low drive was pushed around the post by goalkeeper Luke McGee while on-loan Birmingham striker Josh Andrews sent a free header off target as Dale pushed for an equaliser.
The Godwin-Malife injury led to nine minutes of stoppage time and Rovers held on to maintain their position at the top of League Two.
Forest Green boss Rob Edwards is hopeful the defender’s injury will not keep him sidelined too long.
He said: “Our thoughts are with Dokes, it’s his collarbone.
“He’s been fantastic for us so far this season. He’s a really important member of the group so we’ll support him and try to get him back quickly and in the best shape possible.
“I’m obviously very pleased with the three points and a second away win in the space of three days – that’s really difficult to do.
“It was a really hard-fought game. Rochdale are a really good team with some very good players and we had to weather the storm in the first half hour. But we showed moments of what we can do. The goal was one of those moments.
“We started the second half really well but then within a minute we’ve conceded. But the character the lads showed to then put the ball down and say ‘you know what, we’ll go again,’ and to score again within 30 seconds was really pleasing.
“I thought we had a lot of pressure and set-pieces and maybe an opportunity to stick the dagger in and get a third but we didn’t. That inevitably leads to them pressing towards the end and we tweaked the shape to block things up and we defended manfully.”