FOREST GREEN lost for only the second time this season in a breathless clash at top of the table Lincoln City.

Earlier, Lincoln striker Jon Akinde open the scoring on eight minutes. Reece Brown levelled things up just four minutes later.  Imps sub Kellan Gordon won it for the Lincolnshire outfit – scoring with his first touch on 72 minutes to end their three-game winless streak.

All the pre-match conjecture revolved around the expected non-handshake between managerial foes Mark Cooper and Danny Cowley, but this was quelled as Cowley jogged across the pitch to offer his hand to Cooper and assistant Scott Lindsey.

It was high-octane from the get-go. Lincoln, backed by a vociferous home crowd roared for an early penalty – Harry Anderson taking a tumble as Nathan McGinley stuck out a leg.

Lincoln’s ferocious start delivered a goal on eight minutes – Reece Brown had his pocket-picked for Anderson’s tossed delivery to fluster the retreating Gavin Gunning and Robert Sanchez- to allow Akinde to nip in and lob the ball into the gaping net.

Lincoln’s lead lasted barely four minutes. Rovers delivered the perfect riposte. McGinley fed the rampaging Joseph Mills, who saw his cross parried out to Brown and the in-form midfielder netted his third goal in as many games. Mills’ attacking intent was reminiscent of former England and Leeds United legend Terry Cooper, who was watching his son Mark, direct Rovers’ operations from the technical area.

Rovers were finding a first-half foothold – Brown fizzing over and Dayle Grubb arrowing a free-kick inches wide of Josh Vickers’ bottom corner.

The Imps responded – Bruno Andrade’s corner came off Lee Frecklington, but Paul Digby hooked the ball of the line.

Rovers love the technical side of the game, and a training ground corner routine almost delivered the perfect goal – a LIoyd James corner saw Tahvon Campbell and Grubb let the ball run under their boots for Brown to spank over.

Grabbing possession, Rovers were a whisker from taking the lead at Sincil Bank – Theo Archibald spanking a left-footed rocket over from 30 yards.

On the cusp of the interval a Brown's howitzer saw the bar rattled -  Rovers finishing the half in the driving seat.

Confident in possession, Rovers remained a threat in the second-half. Winchester fired over and James drilled a shot into Vickers and the eye-catching Archibald went close.

Lincoln stung Rovers on 72 minutes  - subs Shay McCartan wriggled away from Gunning to find Kellan Gordon who scored within a minute of coming on.

Cooper turned to a fit again Reuben Reid as Rovers looked for a way back into the game, and Reid was almost on hand when Vickers spilled a Grubb free-kick.

Six added minutes prevailed, but Rovers failed to find a way through a dogged Lincoln defence who posted their fifth consecutive win against Cooper's side.

Lincoln City: Vickers, O’Connor, Shackell, Pett, Frecklington (McCartan 58 ), Andrade, Tofolo, Wilson, Bostwick, Anderson (Gordon 70), Akinde (Green 81)

Forest Green (4-2-3-1) Sanchez; Winchester, Gunning, McGinley, Mills; Digby, James; Grubb (Pearce 87), Archibald (Williams 85), Brown; Campbell (Reid 74)

Subs not used: Montgomery, Morris, Rawson

Star Man: Theo Archibald - full of attacking intent.

Attendance: 8,542

FGR fans: 119

Ref: Anthony Backhouse