FOREST GREEN fell to their fourth consecutive league defeat after a defensive calamity handed Lincoln City the points on a mucky night.

The match looked to be heading for a spirited stalemate until Neal Eardley's torpedo kick saw Harry Anderson get in between Dale Bennett and keeper Brad Collins to prod the ball into the inviting net with 65 minutes on the clock.

Bad blood surfaced after the final whistle with a bout of pushing and shoving involving both sets of players and coaching teams.

Earlier, after leaking 18 goals in the opening six matches, boss Mark Cooper recalled Mark Roberts alongside Lee Collins.

Luke James came in for Toni Gomes and Shamir Mullings started following his goal off the bench on Saturday. Academy midfielder Jordan Stevens, who signed a two-year pro contract on Monday, was handed a place on the bench, but Manny Monthe and Dan Wishart failed to make the eighteen.

The former non-league adversaries locked horns for the first time in League Two and it was The Imps, who almost drew first blood inside sixty seconds. Rovers’ were indebted to Brad Collins, who did well to fist an Ollie Palmer stinger. Moments later play was halted for six minutes after Rovers’ striker Christian Doidge and Lincoln defender Sean Raggett needed medical attention following a clash of heads.

The tone had been set and it was full-blooded with no quarter given. On a night of driving rain, beautiful football went out the window as Rovers chose to whack it against the equally direct style of Lincoln.

Opportunities were few and far between, but Rovers were given a free-kick opportunity inside the box after keeper Paul Farnham was penalised for not releasing the ball quickly enough. Noble drove the subsequent opportunity into the wall.

Raggett remained in the wars and was forced off the pitch on four further first-half occasions as his head wound oozed continual claret through his bandages.

Chances were scant, but Brad Collins did well to fall on an Anderson fizzer as the game entered seven minutes of added time.

Raggett found himself in the book after the restart for holding back Luke James and Charlie Cooper was also carded as he stretched to tackle.

Lincoln broke the deadlock with 25 minutes to go. Anderson nipping in between Bennett and Brad Collins to pounce.

Rovers needed a reaction and introduced Omar Bugiel for James.

Farnham pulled off the save of the night - palming over a Doidge strike from a driving Noble run as Rovers huffed and puffed.

Liverpool loanee Toni Gomes entered the fray, and on the cusp of the full-time whistle, academy teenager Stevens was given his first taste of League Two action.

Forest Green Rovers: Collins; Bennett, Laird, Collins, Roberts; Noble, Cooper, Randall (Gomes 78), James (Bugiel 67); Mullings (Stevens 90), Doidge.

Subs not used: Pickering, Traore, Brown, Iacovitti.

Lincoln: Farman; Eardley, Dickie, Raggett, Habergham; Anderson, Woodyard, Bostwick, Arnold (Rhead 46); Knott (Whitehouse 87), Palmer (Ginnelly 63).

Subs not used: Vickers, Waterfall, Chapman, Maguire-Drew.

Goals: Anderson 65.

Attendance: 1,887 (321 visitors).

FGR star man: Dale Bennett.