Forest Green welcomed an Arsenal U-21 side that featured one or two first team players to the New Lawn on Tuesday night in the Checkatrade Trophy.

Around 1600 fans arrived knowing that any result other than a defeat would see Rovers qualify for the next round of the competition.

Mark Cooper made seven changes to the team that played against Lincoln at the weekend, with Isaac Pearce, Matt Worthington and Reuben Reid returning from his injury to start.

The first real Rovers attack saw Ben Morris, another player brought in by Cooper, take aim for the far corner from the edge of the box.

He had the Arsenal keeper, Deyan Iliev, sprawling but his effort whistled just wide of the far post.

Forest Green were trying to play their usual expansive style of football, however the conditions made that difficult as Gavin Gunning nearly got caught.

Dayle Grubb was the introduced in the 35th minute as Pearce sustained an injury.

The number 8 jumped straight in to the action and won his side a free-kick just before half time. He stepped up to take it himself and forced Deyan Iliev in to a really good save down low to his right.

Saka then was involved as from the resulting corner Arsenal broke. He got the ball on halfway before beating three men and drawing a foul from George Williams.

It looked soft but it gave the visitors Willock the chance to net the first of the game, which he did sending Montgomery the wrong way.

It was harsh on Rovers who had looked really good in possession of the ball, but had struggled to find a way through the youthful back line as they went in at 0-2.

Willock was then the main man for Arsenal again as he scored Arsenal’s second just before half-time.

Saka and Tyreece John-Jules attacked and the latter fed the ball to the Arsenal 59 on the left in the box, he made no mistake dispatching in to the bottom corner.

After the interval Forest Green Rovers looked rejuvenated, Paul Digby was found on the edge of the box but his first time shot went wide, but it was a positive restart for Cooper’s team.

Dayle Grubb had struggled to make much of an impact in the game, however in the 61st minute he repaid Cooper’s faith.

Intercepting the ball 30 yards from goal he drove at the Arsenal defence before calmly slotting past the keeper into the bottom corner after beating two men.

Montgomery then made a brilliant save to deny Coyle, a strong hand stopping a fierce half-volley from the wide man.

It looked as though Rovers were the side most likely to score, however they couldn’t make their good approach play count and John-Jules made them pay in the 84th minute tapping home at the far post to make it 1-3.

The result means that Forest Green need a Coventry win on penalties in their game against Cheltenham next week to go through to the next round.