Veteran Lee Hughes strikes to get Forest Green off to a winning start at Southport

WINNER: Lee Hughes

WINNER: Lee Hughes

First published in Gloucestershire Sport Gazette Series: Photograph of the Author by , Sports editor

Vanarama Conference Premier

Southport 0 Forest Green 1

FOREST Green opened the Vanarama Conference Premier season in winning fashion at Southport.

Veteran striker Lee Hughes pounced to score the only goal of the game on 47 minute when he stooped to nod in at the far post from a pin-point cross from new captain David Pipe .

Earlier, boss Ady Pennock dished out seven debuts in his starting line-up, but was missing left-back James Jennings (knee).

James Norwood and Marcus Kelly were afforded places on the bench but Al Bangura, Dale Bennett and Danny Wright failed to make the 16-man squad.

In a game of few opportunities, sub Luke Rodgers almost made it 2-0 in the dying embers of the match with an audacious chip from a Norwood assist.

Deep into five minutes of injury time Rodgers went close again following an energetic run from Norwood.

The Sandgrounders almost snatched it in the final 30 seconds of the match when Collins fired into Russell as Rovers were caught flat-footed.

Forest Green: Russell, Pipe (c), Stokes ,Oliver, Coles , Sinclair, Frear (Kelly 79) , Wedgbury, Kamdjo, Parkin (Rodgers 75) , Hughes (Norwood 83).

Subs not used: Guthrie, Oshodi.

Att: 1,023.

Pictures and reaction to follow.

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