A MONUMENTAL second-half Macclesfield riposte saw Forest Green’s promotion push hit the buffers.

Rovers looked in cruise control at the break after Carl Winchester’s first-half opener. Crucially, Josh March spurned a penalty chance for Rovers just three minutes into the second-half and the Silkmen showed their mettle to level things up through Joe Ironside on 74 minutes. Corey O’Keefe’s professional foul on Aaron Collins reduced Macclesfield to 10 with nine minutes to go before a fizzing volley from Arthur Gnahoua on 83 minutes won it for the Silkmen.

Looking to get their promotion push back on track, Forest Green head coach Mark Cooper ushered in his three loan signings. In came goalkeeper Conrad Logan from Mansfield Town, Odin Bailey and Rob Hall brought in from Birmingham City and Oxford United respectively. Captain Joseph Mills (knee) declared himself unfit at the hotel this morning, Nathan McGinley taking his place.

From the get-go, Rovers started brightly - Josh March, Liam Kitching and Ebou Adams testing Jonathan Mitchell.

Rovers were knocking on the Macclesfield door – Jevani Brown pulling the trigger from the edge of the box to induce a gloved response from Mitchell.

Rovers unlocked Town in the 18th minute – Winchester arrowing in from 25 yards to plant a sumptuous strike into the bottom corner of Mitchell’s exposed net. Brown really should have made it 2-0 on 25 minutes, the Colchester United loanee dragging his shot wide with just Mitchell to beat after Winchester turned provider. Moments after his aberration, Brown pulled up clutching his right hamstring, the midfielder being replaced by Junior Mondal.

Macclesfield offered little attacking intent with only former Forest Green loan man Theo Archibald offering a cutting edge.

Rovers penchant for missed penalties surfaced for the fourth time this season when regular taker Joseph Mills isn’t on the pitch with March the culprit this time, spurning his chance to convert after Corey O’Keefe was adjudged to have bundled him over just three minutes into the second period.

Macclesfield had their tails up after Mitchell saved the spot-kick – forcing Logan to fist clear a ball into the box.

It was end-to-end. O’Keefe did well to hack a Farrend Rawson header off the line as Rovers looked to atone their penalty miss.

However, the Silkmen netted parity on 74 minutes – Ironside picking his spot into the bottom corner from a neat Ben Stephens assist.

The Silkmen were reduced to 10 with nine minutes to go when O’Keefe cleared the rampaging Aaron Collins out from behind with just Mitchell to beat.

Seven minutes later and Macclesfield nosed ahead – Gnahoua catching the ball on the volley to dip in from 25 yards over the flying Logan to send Rovers tumbling to back-to-back defeats.

FOREST GREEN: Logan, Bernard, McGinley, Kitching, Rawson, Winchester, Adams, Brown (Mondal 28), Hall (Collins 65), March (Stevens 88), Bailey

Subs not used: Smith, Dawson, M Mills, Aitchison

MACCLESFIELD TOWN: Mitchell, Kelleher, Gnahoua, Harris (Osadebe 60), Ironside (Blyth 84), Archibald, Kirby (Stephens71 ), Horsfall, O’Keeffe, Whitehead, Fitzpatrick

Bookings: Horsfall 68

Red card: O’Keeffe


Away fans: 158

Referee: M Coy

Star Man: Carl Winchester

Next up: Forest Green welcome Carlisle on Tuesday, 7.45pm.