Forest Green suffered a disappointing 3-1 loss to league strugglers Southend United on Wednesday evening, writes Sam Wiles.

Shaun Hobson and Timothee Dieng put the Shrimpers two goals up after 55 minutes but their third of the night, scored by Nathan Ferguson on 70 minutes, was the most spectacular of them all as he let fly from just outside the centre circle.

Forest Green did manage to pull one consolation back after 86 minutes as second half substitute Jamille Matt tapped in from close range.

Manager Mark Cooper appeared defiant after the defeat, as he said: “It’s important that we don’t lose our heads over one game.

“We have to take our medicine tonight, it’s not very nice, we have to take it on the chin and go to work tonight and tomorrow and Friday and make sure that we try and get the right amount of energy and the right players on the pitch who can help us win the game on Saturday.”

Forest Green, like many clubs this season, have had a packed fixture schedule so far but Cooper isn’t looking to blame the congested calendar for setbacks in the season.

“For me, tiredness is a state of mind because you have to find a way and you have to get through it and get plenty of rest,” he added.

“We’re playing, we’re resting, recovering and playing so of course you’re going to feel tired but the opposition have done the same more or less, they’ve all played games.”

After starting the game against Newport on an appalling surface, Matt was rested for the first half of Wednesday’s game and Cooper admitted that he wanted to refrain from playing Rovers’ top scorer.

He said: “There’s no way we could have started Jamma (Matt) because over the last few weeks he’s not done a lot of training.

“He was sensational, he had cramp in both legs on Sunday so we didn’t want to put him on at all tonight, we wanted to save him for Saturday but we had to put him on.

“We had to get our top, top players on the pitch.”

As captain Chris Stokes was brought off at half time, Cooper was able to explain his decision on making the change and added there could be some defensive woes in the coming weeks.

“He’s (Stokes) sprained his thigh muscle somehow tonight so that’s why he came off at half time,” Cooper confirmed.

“We’ve lost Chris Stokes for a few weeks now and Dan Sweeney until the end of the season so we’re going to be a bit short in those defensive areas but we have to deal with that and give someone else a chance to come in and play.”

Forest Green next welcome 21st placed Colchester to the innocent New Lawn on Saturday evening (kick off 5.30pm).