Matty Stevens’ goal four minutes from time saw Forest Green come from behind to maintain their 10-point lead at the top of League Two as they beat Rochdale 2-1.

Rochdale had nosed ahead after 47 minutes when James Ball fired in.

Rovers got back into the game with 17 minutes to go through Barnsley loanee Jack Aitchison before Stevens popped up at the death to make it 18 games unbeaten for Rob Edwards’ side with his 20th league goal of the season and his 10th in as many games.

Forest Green bossed a tepid first half – Aitchison driving into the box and inducing a diving save from Joel Coleman who did even better moments later with a gloved response from Jordan Moore-Taylor’s stinging header.

Rochdale flickered into life and threatened Luke McGee’s goal with the keeper showing quick feet to block from Conor Grant.

Rovers upped the tempo with Ben Stevenson hitting the base of the post from the edge of the box. Ebou Adams came close to breaking the deadlock when his left-footed strike went just wide from 25 yards.

Rochdale took the stuffing out of Rovers just two minutes after the restart as Corey O’Keeffe cut the leaders open for Liam Kelly to pick out Ball who fired beyond the exposed McGee.

Rovers drew level after 73 minutes as Jamille Matt fed Aitchison to bury a sumptuous strike from the edge of the box.

Baily Cargill headed against the bar from Dom Bernard’s cross as Rovers looked for the winner and they found it when Stevens’ header from Kane Wilson’s cross squirmed through the fingers of Coleman.

Ball almost snatched a point for Rochdale in stoppage-time but dragged his shot wide at the death.

Afterwards boss Rob Edwards was full of praise for the match winner.

Matty Stevens deserved his goal and to score 20 league goals is a massive credit to him, but to a man, the lads were a different class. The fans were brilliant and sucked the winner over the line at the end.

“That was a really big three points. Rochdale are a good side and are in a false position – there wasn’t loads in the game.

“We tried to stay patient and we found a way to get back into the game and go on and win it. We showed character to get back into it after going a goal behind."