Forest Green Rovers completed a 2-1 victory over Swindon Supermarine in their second pre-season game of the summer.
Fresh from his goal against Cardiff City, Shawn McCoulsky opened the scoring before Taylor Allen doubled the advantage in the first half, with a triallist for Supermarine halving the deficit in the second half.
In the first to be played in front of an awaiting crowd, there was a good showing at the Webbswood Stadium on a hot afternoon in Swindon.
Manager Mark Cooper opted to play two different sides in each half, both lining up in a 3-4-2-1 formation.
It was a bright start from the visitors, who looked to dominate the ball early on, and within minutes Allen was bearing down on goal, his shot only being parried to McCoulsky in the six-yard-box, whose shot on the turn, from a tight angle, was well saved.
The hosts got their first chance of the afternoon in the 16th minute when former FGR forward Stuart Fleetwood got in behind down the right and after riding the challenge of Matt Mills in the box, forced a fine save from Adam Smith.
The chance was a mere lapse for Cooper’s side, who continued to control the ball for large parts and Allen, playing in one of the two number 10 roles behind McCoulsky, was looking in the mood.
In the 19th minute he forced a good fingertip save from Marine stopper Martin Horsell, before then clearing the bar three minutes later from the edge of the box.
The breakthrough came in the 24th minute when McCoulsky showed his strength to brush aside Dave Bampton, leaving him one-on-one as he made a beeline for the box.
From a tight angle, he had the option to square the ball but showed his confidence as he slotted under Horsell to net his second in as many games.
FGR’s second of the game came in the 38th minute as they showed what they can do with the ball as they passed it from one side to the other before Ebou Adams spotted the gap in the defence to slide in Allen.
The teenage forward, who joined at the tail-end of last season, made no mistake as he found the far corner with aplomb.
Rovers saw out the remainder of the half with relative ease before seeing the entire XI changed for the second period.
Within three minutes, Liam Shephard, fresh from knee surgery in the summer, was marauding down the right wing, playing a low cross to find one of two triallists who featured.
The ball was squared back to Junior Mondal, who set the ball for Dayle Grubb, who saw his effort go agonisingly wide of the target.
Chances continued to fall Forest Green’s way and in the 63rd minute a driving run from Mondal saw him play a cute one-two with George Williams on the edge of the box before pulling his shot just wide.
It was the post to next deny FGR in the 71st minute as Shephard again got in behind, cutting back fro Grubb, his low shot striking the foot of the far upright.
Forest Green continued to push for the elusive third and could have had it in the 77th minute when Williams skipped effortlessly across the box before playing in the left wing-back but his cross was just behind Mondal charging into the six-yard-box.
Rovers were made to pay for their lack of a clinical edge almost immediately as Supermarine broke down the other end and Fleetwood played in a nice ball through and despite James Montgomery getting a hand to the shot, he was unable to prevent it creeping into the net from the foot of Marine’s triallist.
The hosts had the chance to level late on when they got to the byline in the 90th minute but Harry Williams, running onto the cutback, couldn’t get over the ball and saw his shot fly over the bar to the relief of the FGR backline.
First-half XI: Adam Smith, Isaiah Jones, Matt Mills, Liam Kitching, Triallist, Ebou Adams, Kevin Dawson, Joseph Mills (c), Aaron Collins, Taylor Allen, Shawn McCoulsky
Second-half XI: James Montgomery, Farrend Rawson, Udoka Godwin-Malife, Nathan McGinley, Liam Shephard, James Morton, Carl Winchester (c), Triallist, George Williams, Dayle Grubb, Junior Mondal