FOREST Green remain rooted to the bottom of League Two after Carlisle United continued their impressive form on the road.

Richie Bennett’s 27th minute header earned Keith Curle’s side the points as Rovers fell to their third consecutive defeat.

Earlier, Rovers welcomed back Dale Bennett from suspension and the fit again Drissa Traore and Isaiah Osbourne. But manager Mark Cooper was still without the services of Manny Monthe, who sat out the second game of his two-match ban. Reece Brown missed out due to injury. Meanwhile, loan trio Toni Gomes, Alex Iacovitti and Will Randall saw their stints at Rovers come to an end.

With one defeat in their last seven away games, Carlisle have enjoyed their road trips and they hit the ground running as Rovers made a jittery start – Brad Collins spilling an early ball but gathering at the second attempt.

The crowd were growing restless as Rovers huffed and puffed. It needed someone to grab the game by the scruff of the neck and Osbourne tried his best with a neat Cryuff turn and spanking a shot that flashed wide after 20 minutes. Carlisle responded just two minutes later. Palpable defending allowed Hallam Hope an opportunity to give Keith Curle’s side the lead, but his shot from inside the box clipped the top of the bar.

Carlisle found their range and nosed ahead on 27 minutes. Danny Grainger’s deep free-kick picked out Richie Bennett, who planted a sumptuous header beyond Brad Collins.

Talking points were few and far between, club photographer Shane Healey taking a tumble when Dale Bennett collided with him.

Rovers had hit choppy waters. Hope, who had earlier hit the bar came close to make it two, but he faded his shot a smidge wide of the bottom corner.

Sloppy passing was Rovers’ first-half Achilles heel and when Scott Laird presented the ball to Reggie Lamb for Bennett to take aim but only a spectacular clearance off the line from West Brom loanee Jack Fitzwater denied Carlisle a 42nd minute second.

Cooper would have given his side the hairdryer treatment at the break. They resumed on the front foot. Traore arrowed over a cross, but the normally reliable Christian Doidge was woefully off target with his head.

Jordan Stevens and Omar Bugiel were brought on with 34 minutes left as Cooper looked to spice things up.

Dale Bennett hobbled off on 70 minutes after trying to play on following a meaty tackle with Tom Parkes.

Carlisle sub Shaun Miller saw his goal bound strike blocked by Mark Roberts as the game entered the final 15 minutes.

Subs Roberts and Stevens saw yellow late on as did Laird.

Rovers have won 10 points from losing positions this season in League Two; more than any other team, but they could find no festive cheer.

Forest Green: B Collins; L Collins, Fitzwater, Laird ; Wishart, Cooper, Osbourne; Marsh-Brown ( Bugiel, 56); Traore (Stevens, 56); Doidge

Subs not used: Pickering, James, Simpson.

Carlisle United: Bonham, Liddell, Parkes, Hill, Brown ( T Miller 83), Devitt, Jones, Lambe, Grainger, Bennett ( S Miller 66), Hope ( Etuhu 85)

Subs not used: Cosgrove, Ellis, O’Sullivan, Rigg

Attendance: 2,489

Away: 315

Ref: Kevin Johnson

Star Man: No takers

Next up: Rovers travel to Exeter City on Boxing Day, kick-off 3pm.