EFL League Two

Forest Green 1

Exeter City 3

BOSS Mark Cooper insists Forest Green need more guts after crashing to a third straight defeat.

Now sitting second from bottom, Cooper's side need to bounce back quickly with the visit of fellow League Two newcomers Lincoln City on Tuesday and a trip to bottom of the table Port Vale on Saturday. 

Reuben Reid’s double on Saturday helped early season pacesetters Exeter City maintain their blistering start to the season, with an emphatic 3-1 win over Rovers.

“You can’t concede early goals like that, there’s not a lot between the two teams when you take the goals out,” bemoaned Cooper.

Rovers’ boss made five changes from the team beaten at Wycombe, including loanee duo Will Randall and Toni Gomes, but his work in the week went out the window.

He added: “We worked all week defending and then concede three goals like that is criminal. We will have to work to eradicate that, it was a difficult afternoon. Exeter to be fair to them, did the basics really well, and were on hand to take the chances we gave up. We have been almost out of every game from 20 minutes this season.”

Cooper was defiant in defeat and is confident he can turn things around.

He added: “When you’re in charge of a winning team, you take the plaudits and when you lose, you get the stick - and that’s not a problem - I understand that. You have to have guts, determination and courage to be able to turn it around.”

Paul Tisdale’s League Two table-toppers stung Cooper’s side early on when Christian Doidge’s attempted air kick gift-wrapped an opportunity for Exeter’s Pierce Sweeney to thump home on four minutes.

Doidge looked to atone his early error as he bolted onto a Liam Noble ball, but Grecians keeper Christy Pym blocked bravely at his near post.

Rovers found themselves 2-0 down on 18 minutes. City’s Lee Holmes waltzed through to watch his shot cleared off the line by Liverpool loanee Toni Gomes, but the ball dropped to Reid, who rolled the ball in from just inside the box.

The goal tide continued after the break - Reid arrowing in a 53rd minute third after keeper Brad Collins could only parry Jake Taylor’s stinger.

Rovers, who have now leaked 18 goals in six games, rallied somewhat with Doidge striking the post.

Cooper’s side were handed late hope when substitutes Omar Bugiel and Shamir Mullings combined for the latter to finish inside the box with 15 minutes to go.

Forest Green: Collins, Bennett, Laird, Traore, Collins, Monthe, Noble, Doidge (Mullings 70), Cooper (Bugiel, 65), Randall, Gomes (Wilshart, 58) Subs not used: Pickering, Brown, Roberts, James

Exeter City: Pym, Sweeney, Woodman, James, Tillson, Holmes, Moore-Taylor, McAlinden (Stockley, 72), Taylor, Reid (Boateng, 79), Brown

Subs not used: Hamon, Archibald-Henville, Jay, Moxey, Edwards, Boateng

Attendance: 2909 (817 travelling fans)

Star Man: Will Randall