Forest Green Rovers’ unbeaten run came to an end on Tuesday night as they were defeated 2-1 by Crawley Town.

Mark Cooper made just one change to the side that drew against Exeter on Boxing Day as Carl Winchester was given the nod to start.

Crawley were fastest out the blocks and dominated the opening proceedings. After just three minutes, the visitors had a great opportunity to take the lead but Tom Nichols fired his volley over from just outside the Rovers six-yard box.

On 16 minutes, Crawley made their dominance pay. A misplaced pass from Rovers’ captain Winchester was intercepted by Jake Hessenthaler who was able to feed the lively Nichols who remained composed and tucked his effort away from close range.

Rovers began to liven up midway through the first half. Winchester had an effort bravely blocked by Tom Dallison and Nicky Cadden’s resulting effort bounced out for Forest Green’s first corner of the match.

After Jayden Richardson was clipped on the edge of the Crawley box, Cadden’s set piece effort was fired straight down the middle of Glenn Morris’ goal and 37-year-old was able to make a comfortable save.

Richardson continued to look energetic and on 41 minutes, after twisting and turning, was able to find some space in a busy penalty area but his work came to no avail as he scuffed his effort at Morris.

Rovers began the second half positively. Jamille Matt had his first real effort of the contest after a fine Cadden cross was met by the towering forward but found the side netting.

On 51 minutes, Jake Young levelled the game in spectacular fashion. The second half substitute proved an inspired introduction as his 25-yard free-kick attempt swerved away from Morris and left him clutching at thin air.

A mistake from Udoka Godwin-Malife enabled Nichols to take aim at Rovers’ net from 18-yards but Luke McGee was alert and produced an excellent save.

Nichols added a second for Crawley and his sixth league goal of the season on 79 minutes. A well worked pass by Jack Powell was chested down by the number 16 before he fired into McGee’s bottom corner.

Rovers were unable to find a way past the dogged Crawley back line and fell to their first league defeat since November 14.

Rovers next host Oldham Athletic at the Innocent New Lawn on Saturday.