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Forest Green boss Ian Burchnall hails ‘class act’ Regan Hendry after late winner

Ian Burchnall and Forest Green started life in League One with victory (Mike Egerton/PA)
Ian Burchnall and Forest Green started life in League One with victory (Mike Egerton/PA)

Forest Green manager Ian Burchnall sang the praises of Regan Hendry after his late heroics secured a “historic” 2-1 win at Bristol Rovers.

Burchnall saluted the Scottish midfielder after he curled in a brilliant late winner from the edge of the penalty area to give last season’s League Two champions a dramatic victory at the Memorial Ground.

It seemed as though the local bragging rights would be shared after former Forest Green striker Aaron Collins cancelled out Jordan Moore-Taylor’s opener, but Hendry struck a stylish winner in the 89th minute.

“It was a fittingly brilliant goal to mark what’s a historic game for the club,” said new boss Burchnall following Forest Green’s maiden appearance in the third tier.

“Regan really is a class act on and off the field and he was superb throughout the game, especially when we were up against it against vibrant opponents.

“He always seemed to have time on his side in the heat of battle in midfield and that kept us on course when Rovers were coming at us.

“It was a fantastic goal and a worthy winner in what was the first game our club has played at League One level.

“I was delighted for Regan whose work ethic personifies the effort that has been put in by everyone at the club to reach this level.

“I couldn’t be happier for everyone here, right from the owner Dale Vince to all the staff, but we won’t be getting carried away.

“It’s a real red-letter day and it’s a great start to the season for us but we’ll remain humble because we know there are a lot of tough games ahead. But this is the perfect start.”

Bristol Rovers manager Joey Barton said: “I’m disappointed with the outcome because we did well to fight our way back on to level terms so it’s frustrating that we’ve ended the game empty-handed.

“We’re disappointed to have lost but credit must go to Forest Green although I’m not sure whether their winner was really fortunate or a moment of real quality to win the game. It was an outrageous goal.

“We knew where we were before the game kicked off and now we’ve got a month before the transfer window closes to strengthen. Unfortunately at this level you don’t have everything in situ before kick off.

“You’ve got to be patient and get good value from the market and now it’s back to the drawing board.

“We controlled the first 35 minutes without creating an abundance of chances and then a long punt forward created a nervous reaction among our team.

“Overall, we’ve not done enough to win the game and we’ve got to be better.”