Swindon Town lost top spot in League Two as they suffered their first home league loss since September at the hands of Forest Green Rovers.

The hosts twice hit the woodwork, had a Jerry Yates effort cleared from the line and were denied a strong penalty appeal.

They were behind from just the fourth minute when Matthew Stevens netted from close range.

Town finished the first period with their best spell of the game but another early goal after the interval from Ebou Adams left them in a mire they could not come free of.

Elsewhere Crewe Alexandra’s 3-1 win over Stevenage sent them to the head of League Two on goal difference, though Swindon still boast a game in hand.

Keshi Anderson made his first start since December 29 in place of Lloyd Isgrove, while Rob Hunt took his place back from Tom Broadbent having missed out in midweek.

The County Ground was left stunned as early as the fourth minute when Forest Green went ahead.

Paul Caddis’ pass pinballed off a number of bodies which allowed Forest Green to find Elliot Frear in the gap left by the right-back.

His low centre skipped across the turf for Stevens to stretch out and nudge home the opening goal past a helpless Steven Benda.

The opening quarter-hour saw both Michael Doughty and Anderson have shots blocked out by the Rovers defence and Swindon adjusted to their hard-pressing gameplan.

Shortly after came the first truly presentable opening for the hosts. Diallang Jaiyesimi picked up on a loose ball and fed Eoin Doyle into the box.

The Irishman collected facing away from goal but after turning inside could not find the power to beat Lewis Thomas.

Instantly Forest Green countered again down the left, Stevens inches away from turning in another Frear cross.

A poor kick from Thomas handed possession on a plate to Anderson, who found Jaiyesimi. The Norwich loanee wriggled his way to the edge of the box only to see his attempt on goal strike a defender.

Jaiyesimi’s next effort ended in the same result but the build-up was more promising, Doughty, Yates and Anderson combining.

Carl Winchester scuffed well wide in rare attempt on goal for the away side after Rarmani Edmonds-Green was hustled out by two men closing him down, as Rovers pushed up and put Town under pressure in possession at the back.

Nevertheless, in the latter stages Swindon began to find chinks in the Forest Green defence.

They should have been level when Anderson released Jaiyesimi in the left-hand channel, his cross latched on to by Yates at the penalty spot only for Chris Stokes to clear from the line with Thomas beaten.

In stoppage time the hosts then hit the bar as Anderson thumped a 25-yarder against the woodwork.

A bright start to the second half was also made as Anderson and Jaiyesimi set up a one-two for the latter to fire across goal and narrowly wide.

But the County Ground was left stunned when Rovers doubled their lead.

The move began with a fine ball into the right-hand corner by Stokes and ended with Adams nodding Jack Aitchison’s cross perfectly into the top corner.

The woodwork was struck again at the other end when a Doughty pass took a deflection and looped over the defence for Yates to spin and shoot with the outside of his boot in one movement.

An unimpressed home crowd were then up in arms when Anderson was not given a free-kick having been held when collecting a long punt from Benda on the counter.

In a bid to change the game Wellens threw Hallam Hope and Admiral Muskwe into the action. The former immediately got his head to a corner but could not hit the target.

Forest Green’s threats became sporadic as they sat back on their lead – at one point leaving everyone in the box defending a corner.

On one of the few occasions they broke away Edmonds-Green had to time a sliding clearance perfectly to get rid of another dangerous Frear cross.

Still Town pressed for a route back, Caddis swinging in a cross from the right that Doyle volleyed wide from a tricky spot.

Swindon were then refused a penalty. Doughty played a beautiful Ball to put Hunt in behind.

He squared unselfishly for Doyle who appeared to take a strong arm from Nathan McGinley with the goal gaping, but loud appeals for a spot kick were turned away.

Town’s frustration continued into stoppage time as a Hope strike from the edge of the box fell to the feet of Caddis, only for a last-ditch challenge to deny him a one-on-one shot.

Swindon Town: Benda, Fryers, Yates (Muskwe 60), Doughty, Hunt, Jaiyesimi (Hope 60), Doyle, Anderson (Isgrove), Caddis, Grant, Edmonds-Green. Subs not used: Broadbent, Palmer, Woolery, McCormick.

Forest Green Rovers: Thomas, Bernard, Winchester, Stevens, Adams, Frear, Dawson, McGinley, Godwin-Malife, Aitchison (March 68), Stokes. Subs not used: Logan, Mills, Collins, Williams, Hall, Brown.