Forest Green boss David Horseman praised his side’s ‘intense and ruthless’ performance after a 5-0 demolition of 10-man Colchester.

Rovers moved off the bottom of the League Two table with goals from Callum Morton, Kyle McAllister, Matty Taylor and Matty Stevens (2).

Jay Mingi’s red card for a second bookable offence two minutes after the break left the visitors with it all to do but Rovers pounced with four second-half goals.

Horseman said: “We knew it was a massive game, if it wouldn’t have gone the way it did I’m sure people would’ve been calling for my head.

“We understand where we’re at. It’s a massive thank you to the fans because it hasn’t been easy. The last time we scored five goals was back in 2018.

“The system requires athleticism and I don’t want to morph into any coach who is scared of losing and changing who you are as a coach just to win.

“Once these players come back, we’ll be even more of an exciting team.”

A neat one-two on the edge of the box between Jacob Maddox and McAllister opened up an opportunity for the former but his effort blazed over the crossbar.

Dom Bernard was then adjudged to have back-passed to Rovers shot-stopper James Belshaw but Cameron McGeehan’s drive was blocked on the goal line.

But Tyrese Omotoye’s curling effort was parried by Smith into the path of the oncoming Morton, who hammered home from six yards just before half-time.

Morton almost doubled his tally when he was played through by Omotoye but Smith made amends for his earlier error.

U’s midfielder Mingi was sent off for a second bookable offence just two minutes after the break.

Forest Green doubled their lead after 65 minutes when McAllister received a pass from Omotoye and smashed a left-footed effort into the far corner of Smith’s goal.

A third arrived 12 minutes later as substitute Taylor drilled past Smith despite his best efforts to save.

Stevens made it four by slotting home Sean Robertson’s low cross and also added a fifth in stoppage time when he controlled and finished Harvey Bunker’s lofted pass to complete the rout.

On the back pass, Horseman added: “It would’ve changed the game with the way our form and confidence is at the moment. That was a big turning point – people put their bodies on the line.”