ONE swallow certainly doesn't make a summer, but a debut goal from boy wonder Scott Rendell insured Forest Green Rovers opened their Conference campaign in winning style.

Rendell, 18, who only arrived at the club on work experience from Coca-Cola Championship side Reading last week, powered home Matt Gadsby's cross on 49 minutes to give Rovers their first ever opening day Conference victory.

Rendell certainly blossomed after his goal and could have made it two. The raw teenager smartly robbed Darren Behcet, but dragged his shot wide from an acute angle. Behcet was booked for his protests.

"Scott has only been with us for two days and I thought he did really well today," said Forest Green boss Gary Owers.

However, Owers will be annoyed at Abdou Sall's 63rd minute red card. Sall had turned in a solid display, but was accused of stamping during a melee and was subsequently sent to the dressing room.

"I honestly didn't see the sending off," said Owers.

"Abdou didn't let anyone down today with his performance, he is an honest lad-but if he did do it we will take action to make sure it doesn't happen again."

On a wet afternoon, Rovers' new-look side began brightly against a Cambridge side smarting from relegation.

Damon Searle's surge saw Rendell's charged down shot fall to Sekani Simpson for the former Bristol City defender to fizz over.

Ryan Clarke certainly vindicated Owers' faith with such impeccable handling throughout the match.

However, it was Cambridge who should have nosed ahead. Stephen Smith arrowed a superb ball down the right channel to Folawiyo Onibune, but with only Clarke to beat the burly striker dragged his shot wide.

Former Cambridge midfielder Paul Wanless was enjoying a good afternoon at the heart of Forest Green's midfield.

However, he would have been frustrated to see his free-header go wide from Searle's raking set-play.

Rovers had been the better side, but Portuguese striker Bruno Teixeira was far from his fluid self and was sacrificed after the break following Sall's dismissal.

Wanless could have made it two, but for the second time he nodded wide. Near the end Clarke showed great agility to tip over Onibune's 82nd minute header.

At the death Lewis Haldane should have wrapped things up, but shot over with the excellent Alex Meechan in support.