Plymouth boss Ryan Lowe challenged matchwinner Antoni Sarcevic to hit double figures as his side knocked the dethroned league leaders off their League Two perch.
Grabbing his fifth goal of the season, midfielder Sarcevic pounced in the first-half to send Rovers tumbling to their first home loss since August as the in-form Pilgrims made it back-to-back 1-0 wins.
Lowe lauded Sarcevic, he said: “He will get 10 and probably more. I said to him before the game if he shoots, he scores. He gives us desire and commitment and a desire to put bodies on the line – he’s a talent and a pleasure to work with.”
Lowe felt the flow of the game was hindered from start to finish in a match that had been billed as one for the purists.
He added: “I don’t want to get into trouble by saying what I want to say because the fluidity of the game was irrelevant and I think Mark (Cooper) was disappointed that they couldn’t play a lot of football.
“Me and Mark were on the side and were asking for the game to just flow because it was two good teams, who want to play the right way, but it wasn’t to be, but I was just pleased with the three points.”
Meanwhile, Forest Green head coach Mark Cooper felt referee Sam Purkiss was the wrong choice for the game.
He bemoaned: “I found out on Tuesday who the referee was and because it’s such a big game – I had real concerns as it’s his first year in the league and he has a record for booking lots of players and I had a concern not for us, but for the game.
“I didn’t feel we deserved to lose and we had a lot of territory but didn’t have the quality in the final third and we thought we should have had a few penalties and the one at the end is a stonewall, a punch in the back of the head.”
In a high-octane first-half, it was Plymouth who threatened first – Joel Grant failing to get enough purchase on a teasing Byron Moore cross after Sarcevic conjured the opportunity.
Rovers boast a miserly defence, conceding just 10 in 16 games, but they were breached in the 24th minute and it was Sarcevic who opened Rovers up.
The Plymouth playmaker punished some sleepy defending from a short corner to slalom across the box and arrow a deflected strike beyond the flailing Joe Wollacott.
Rovers looked for parity and almost found it deep into first-half stoppage-time. The scrambling Alex Palmer got a finger on an arrowed Joseph Mills cross which dropped over the crossbar.
Plymouth remained resolute after the break as Rovers knocked on the door. Carl Winchester found the head of Matty Stevens, which fell to Jack Aitchison but the midfielder watched his powerful drive fly over.
Six minutes of added time saw Plymouth hold on with Rovers going close through Ebou Adams and Liam Shephard, with substitute Matt Mills laying a strong claim for a penalty.