Manager Steve Cotterill admits his side 'need support' during what is a 'very difficult' time after Forest Green moved closer to League Two relegation following Good Friday's 3-0 home defeat to leaders Stockport.

Stockport dominated throughout and opened the scoring after 19 minutes when Callum Camps let fly with a 25-yard and it was 2-0 before the half-hour mark when Ibby Touray broke down the left and crossed for Rico Richards to fire home.

Forest Green keeper Vicente Reyes pulled off good saves to deny Paddy Madden and Kyle Wootton before the break but was beaten again after 51 minutes when frontman Wootton got the better of his marker and squared to Connor Lemonheigh-Evans, whose shot deflected in off defender Jamie Robson and flew into the net.

"That was the toughest one to take for me since I’ve been here because whatever we could have done today, they were just better than us and they would have picked holes in it," said Cotterill at full-time.

"The players kept going and that takes a lot of courage but with a few of them, I have seen that there’s a confidence issue. It then looks like they are not trying or not getting involved in the game and that’s very difficult.

"When you look at the 90 minutes, it would be easy to go in and shout at them but that’s not what they need from me at the moment, they need support through this. It is very difficult for them, they are young men."

As for Stockport, they returned to the top of the table with the three points and boss Dave Challinor was keen to point out defender Ibby Touray for particular praise after he silenced his critics with a dazzling display. 

The former Salford stalwart had faced the wrath of Hatters fans but was outstanding against the league’s basement boys, setting up one goal and tying opposite number Fankaty Dabo in knots.

Boss Challinor said: "If you asked any manager in League Two who was one of the best full-backs last season it would have been Ibby Touray and he’s not reproduced that form this year. I’ll take the blame for that in terms of the position we have asked him to play.

"His performances haven’t been consistent enough because he is a very good player. I get that this is a different animal to what he has been used to – a new environment and a new changing room – but there was some really good stuff today and let’s hope he gets a boost from that.

"It was probably as complete a [team] performance as we’ve had. To create the chances we have and the fact that they have not had a shot on goal is pleasing. We started in a manner that played the will and the fight out of them. We had control in good areas."