Forest Green youngsters should learn from Exeter City setback, says Cooper

Forest Green Rovers manager Mark Cooper has urged his players to begin to “deal with what’s thrown at them early in games” after they suffered a narrow 1-0 defeat away to Exeter on Saturday.

The hosts took advantage of Rovers’ sloppy start, scoring the game’s only goal as Ryan Bowman struck in the 11th minute to send the Grecians back to the top of League Two.

Cooper’s side had overtaken Exeter after their victory over Crawley Town last weekend, but the boss was disappointed with his team’s performance and believes they missed a chance to extend that lead at St. James’ Park.

“We just didn’t start properly,” he said.

“When you come away from home you’re not gonna get it all your own way.

“You have to compete, you have to fight for second balls, you’ve got to win headers. You’ve got to do all the horrible work to get results.

“You can’t start like that and expect to win a game of football and with what’s at stake we should come out of the box flying.

“It’s important they learn in that scenario and deal with what’s thrown at them early in games.”

Cooper insists Forest Green deserved more from the game, however.

He said: “There wasn’t a lot in the game.

“In the second half we didn’t have many clear cut chances. We had one brilliant chance and have probably got to go home with a point.”

Now sitting fourth in the League Two table, Forest Green will next face midtable Mansfield Town at the New Lawn on Saturday.

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