Swindon gained the derby day bragging rights after they beat Forest Green 2-0 thanks to second-half goals from Harry McKirdy and Tyreece Simpson.

Swindon, who were missing five players on international duty, started brightly and thought they had nosed ahead on 15 minutes when Luke McGee spilled McKirdy’s strike and Simpson put the loose ball into the net – but the goal was disallowed for a foul.

Jack Aitchison should have put Forest Green in front on 53 minutes but he shot wide with just Lewis Ward to beat.

Two minutes later McKirdy volleyed in from a Ben Gladwin cross – the first goal Rovers had conceded in more than nine hours.

McKirdy should have made it 2-0 but he headed wide from Jack Payne’s cross.

Ward saved a Matt Stevens strike as Rovers looked for an equaliser, he did even better to keep out a deflected shot from Jake Young and the keeper then denied Josh March from point-blank range.

Swindon made it 2-0 with nine minutes to go when a through ball from McKirdy was converted by Simpson, who is on loan from Ipswich.

In the fourth minute of stoppage time, Ward fouled March to concede a penalty, but Ward saved March’s spot kick.

Forest Green boss Rob Edwards took the defeat, only Rovers second in the league this season, on the chin.

He said: “I can’t complain, we will learn from it and move on. I’ve challenged the players to go on another unbeaten run and give me a reaction like they did when we lost our only other game 2-0 at home to Port Vale.

“Both teams had similar threats and it was two good teams. We had five clean sheets in a row before today and we were going to concede at some point.”

Swindon boss Ben Garner admitted he nearly substituted Harry McKirdy before the maverick forward set up the goal that secured his side’s 2-0 win.

Garner said: “We were talking about taking him (McKirdy) off and then he popped up with a bit of magic

“Harry McKirdy is an outstanding talent – he just needs to be loved and he is loved here.

“He is a character and we embrace that, we want people to be comfortable with who they are.

“He’s an extrovert who puts a smile on people’s faces He’s always cracking jokes and telling stories.

“You dress how you want to dress. He’s got some great hoodies and a bucket hat that I am told is very trendy. We are not going to try and change anyone.

“And I am delighted for Tyreece to get that goal because he had a perfectly good one disallowed in the first half.

“It was disappointing because we had good momentum. I’ve seen it back, it’s not a foul.”

Garner added: “The work on the training ground this week laid the foundations for that win. The attitude of the players, their work rate and their application was outstanding all week.

“That gives you confidence all week as a head coach going into the game – you’ve seen how hard they’ve worked and the preparation they’ve done.

“I sensed in the dressing room they were in a good place before the game – to a man, they were outstanding.”

Forest Green's lead at the top was cut to one point after Harrogate thrashed bottom club Scunthorpe 6-1. Swindon now occupy the final automatic promotion place.