FOREST Green named an unchanged line-up for the fifth consecutive game for this eagerly anticipated West Country derby with Bristol Rovers, who were buoyed by their first Vanarama Conference victory over AFC Telford on Saturday.
The Gas started on the front-foot with Lee Mansell forcing Sam Russell to glove his free-kick away after Luke Oliver had fouled Adam Cunnington inside the first sixty seconds.
Forest Green responded. Sam Parkin released Lee Hughes down the right. The former Premiership star ghosted past Tom Parkes, but his ball into the danger zone failed to pick out a Forest Green man.
Chris Stokes found his way into the book for a lunge at Andy Monkhouse on 18 minutes as the game flickered into life.
Bristol Rovers were holding sway and the dangerous Mansell glanced a header just wide from a Lee Brown cross.
Darrell Clarke's side continued to boss the game, but in a rare Forest Green attack, Adam Lockyer was handed a yellow for an over-zealous challenge on Stokes.The card school continued with Oliver going into the book.
Bristol Rovers pressure was beginning to tell. A flowing move on 38 minutes saw former Forest Green striker Matty Taylor bundle in, but an offside flag curtailed his joy. Moments later Taylor slashed wide as the Gas finished the first half in the driving seat.
Bristol Rovers were almost caught cold on the cusp of the interval. Hughes' high cross picked out Rob Sinclair and his header almost dropped in at the back-post.