Forest Green suffered a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Newport County in the first leg of the League Two play-off semi-final on Tuesday evening.
Goals either side of half-time from Matty Dolan and Lewis Collins proved enough to claim a vital two goal lead heading into the second leg.
In front of a reduced capacity crowd at Rodney Parade, Jamille Matt, Dan Sweeney and Nicky Cadden all returned from injury in what will surely be a huge boost for Jimmy Ball.
Newport very nearly got off to the perfect start as Padraig Amond had a sight of goal inside the first minute. After the ball bounced around the Forest Green box, the striker rifled his shot just over Luke McGee’s crossbar.
On 31 minutes, Newport then took the lead in the tie through a piece of magic from Dolan. The 28-year-old had the ball played out to him from the left wing and, from range, arrowed his shot into the top-right corner.
Just minutes later, Forest Green nearly responded straight away. Birmingham loanee Odin Baily smacked the crossbar from the edge of the box following a nonchalant free kick.
Just like he did in the first half, Amond had a fine opportunity early on in the second period to extend Newport’s lead. A pin-point through ball allowed him to run in behind the Rovers defence but he rushed his shot and saw it sail way over the bar.
Newport then doubled their advantage on 51 minutes through Aaron Collins’s brother, Lewis. The younger Collins brother was played in well behind the Rovers backline and managed to scoop his shot over McGee, much to the delight of those inside Rodney Parade.
Newport will make the trip across the River Severn on Sunday night where the second leg will be contest at the innocent New Lawn (kick off 6:30pm).