FOREST GREEN negated a resolute Shortwood United on an ultimately comfortable evening for Mark Cooper’s side.

Earlier, Rovers’ starting eleven saw Cooper name summer signings Scott Laird, Lee Collins, Reece Brown and Luke James. Meanwhile, former Fulham midfielder Josh Smile and West Brom teenager Jack Fitzwater were afforded another opportunity to catch the eye – both are set to feature against Brimscombe on Saturday.

Shortwood were an unrecognisable side from the one that faced their Nailsworth neighbours last season.

And the Football League Division Two outfit led by a thumping fifth-minute Christian Doidge header, Rovers’ top marksman rising above a statuesque Shortwood defence, planting a hammer-head finish beyond Wood keeper George Burton from a precise Laird corner.

Predictably, non-league Shortwood just couldn’t gain a first-half foothold. Rovers were at it from the off. New signing James was full of vigour - and the former Peterborough striker watched his early fizzer bring the best out of Burton.

Sam Russell was a spectator in goal for Rovers, who were playing keep ball as Wood wilted, but the avalanche of goals were in short supply until after the break.

In truth, Rovers should have built on Doidge’s opener. The leggy Manny Monthe stepped on the gas - and his drive forward forced Burton to parry, but Keanu Marsh-Brown flashed wide of the inviting net.

Despite missing midfield talisman Liam Noble and Drissa Traore – on compassionate leave following the death of his mother, Rovers’ midfield remains packed of craft from the aggressive Charlie Cooper to the maverick talent of newbie Reece Brown. And it was the former Birmingham City man, who skipped forward to see his quick feet ended by a languid Shortwood boot, but Marsh-Brown’s subsequent free-kick lacked precision.

Pre-season is all about finding cohesion ahead of the new season next month and Rovers’ machine was still in need of tune, with Marsh-Brown wide of the mark on the cusp of the break following incisive passing from Brown and Doidge.

Rovers cranked it up after the interval. A raft of changes saw three second-half goals fall to former Shortwood striker Olly Mehew, with a sumptuous, hit which took a deflection from an inviting Calum Evans assist.

Shortwood huffed and puffed and mustered their first shot in anger on 61 minutes – Sam Hunt firing over from a free-kick.

However, it was 3-0 just beyond the hour- Jordan Morris firing in from a Mehew prod.

Rovers exerted control from start to finish and even played the last 20 minutes with ten men.

It was a quiet night for Rovers, but Chelsea loanee keeper Brad Collins was quick off the mark to smother at the feet of Brandon Preece.

The goal of the night fell to academy starlet Jordan Stevens. The teenager danced forward to plant a 25-yard howitzer beyond the reach of Burton.

Forest Green first half: (4-2-3-1) Russell; Bennett, Collins, Monthe, Laird; Cooper, Smile; James, Brown, Marsh-Brown; Doidge.

Subs all used: Collins, Evans, Fitzwater, Wishart, Hallett, Bugiel, Mehew, Mullings, Morris, Stevens.

Shortwood: Burton, C Price, Thwaite, R Meredith, Prictor, Singh, A Price, Kibble, Hunt, Burns, Cox.

Subs all used: Hawes, H Price, Humphries, Freeman, Marks, Davies, Noakes, Preece.

Star Man: George Burton (Shortwood).

Referee: Graham Pugh.

Attendance: 368.