SAINTS conceded an 89th-minute winner in their Trophy opener at League Two Forest Green Rovers last night.

Harlem Hale have Saints a 15th-minute lead with a composed finish after being put through by strike partner Dan N’Lundulu.

But two-goal Matty Stevens equalised with a far-post header in the 30th minute, having been denied by a a stunning close-range save from Jack Bycroft.

Half-time substitute Dayle Grubb fired a left-foot into the far corner. to give Saints a 71st minute lead.

But spirited Saints pressed for the equaliser.

Jake Vokins had a shot tipped on to the underside of the crossbar before N’Lundulu hit a stunning equaliser with an angled drive off the far post after beating his man to create the opportunity

Saints looked set to leave the west country with a point until Stevens netted the winner from close range.

Saints U23s coach Radhi Jaidi said: “We had a mixed group including some of the Under-18s, who have really good talent and we created a lot of chances.

“We imposed ourselves in many situations and we scored two goals, which is really good considering the younger boys we have, and I think we deserved more.”

Saints: Bycroft, Smallbone, Vokins, Ramsay, N’Lundulu (Agbontohoma 90), O’Driscoll, Hale (Mitchell 60), Klarer, Turner (CHauke 53), Kpohomouh. Subs not used: Wright, Freeman, Rus.