EMBATTLED Forest Green boss Mark Cooper urged his faltering side to “grow a pair” after Rovers fell to their third consecutive League Two defeat.

Richie Bennett’s 27th minute header earned Carlisle United the points as Rovers remained rooted to the bottom of the table.

"We were toothless and it was a poor performance,” admitted Cooper.

“There was no real character and desire today. It was basic stuff. We gave the lad a free header from eight yards out for the goal.”

Cooper accepted responsibility for the defeat, but is demanding more from his side ahead of the busy holiday schedule.

He added: "I'm the manager and I have to take responsibility, but too many players went into their shells and started to hide. When the pressure is on, players don't want the ball. We need character, we need desire and we need players to show for the ball. It's not about tactics or sexy football, it's about rolling your sleeves up and growing a pair.”

Cooper is now set to dip into the transfer market with owner Dale Vince ready to open the cheque book.

He added: "We're treading water until January - we need some recruits desperately. I told the players they are not making it hard for me to replace them in January.

"There were three players who were not properly fit and should not have been out there, but we cannot use that as an excuse for a poor performance."

Meanwhile, Carlisle boss Keith Curle felt his said should have added to Bennett’s solitary strike, he said: "It could have been five, but in the end we had to settle for 1-0 and that is good enough.

“The opposition are always in the game at 1-0 and we needed a second goal to make sure. But we were unable to make the most of our chances and had to defend properly. We didn't really look like conceding and I thought we were solid.

"Possession was probably shared, but we made better use of the ball we had and looked more dangerous going forward. Forest Green's style of play is bold and you have to stop them getting into their rhythm. We stopped them playing and made it difficult for them. We took good decisions at the back, made some good interventions at the right time and used our attacking options well. On another day, we could have been out of sight.

With one defeat in their last eight away games, Carlisle have enjoyed their lengthy road trips.

"We had a long journey, but the players took on board the information they were given and carried out the game plan really well. The players deserve a lot of credit."

Watch Mark Cooper's post-match video now.