THE Pirates’ nine-game unbeaten run came to an end at the Memorial Stadium on Saturday at the hands of local rivals Forest Green Rovers.

We started sluggishly and our opponents looked far more threatening and lively than us from the outset.

They were quicker to the ball, more tigerish in the tackle and overall looked like they had more hunger about them to secure the three points.

Forest Green looked dangerous from set pieces and made their superiority count in the 15th minute when former Rovers defender Danny Coles headed in to score the decisive goal. In contrast our set pieces were woeful, particularly from corners where the majority of deliveries seem to be flighted aimlessly beyond the penalty box.

It was a relief when we got to half-time only 1-0 down and Rovers did improve after the break. However it was not enough and after the sending off of Leadbitter it was clear we had a mountain to climb.

They were more aggressive and had more know-how about them to see the game out.

Our talisman Sinclair was badly missed in midfield but we should not be relying on one player to make us tick.

Although our display was poor we squandered a host of gilt-edged chances that would have allowed us to salvage at least a point. Taylor blazed over when one-on-one with the goalkeeper and Trotman had a free header that he put over the bar.

The recent unbeaten run may have pushed us up the table but it only papered over the cracks in the side as we are lacking quality in a couple of key positions. It is abundantly clear that a goalscorer is needed, but more creativity and experience in midfield would also enhance our prospects.

The defeat saw us fall outside the play-off places to sixth but we are still only two points off second and a couple of reinforcements could see us go on another unbeaten run.

We now take a break from the league as we aim to avert a potential banana skin at Dorchester on Saturday in the FA Cup fourth qualifying round.