Forest Green manager Rob Edwards congratulated his players on maintaining a high standard of performance after racing into a 3-0 half-time lead at Harrogate.
The table-toppers have been in the same situation on two other occasions this term and then disappointed their manager with tepid second-half displays.
But, after Lloyd Kerry pulled a goal back for the hosts, Edwards was pleased to see Matty Stevens score his 15th goal of the season to add to earlier efforts from Jack Aitchison, Nicky Cadden and Jamille Matt.
The Rovers manager said: “They started well and it took us five or 10 minutes to work them out but when we did, we made a little tweak and had a 25-minute spell where we looked very good and dangerous and the timing of the third goal right on half-time was great.
“We have been 3-0 up at half-time three times now this season and, on the other two occasions, the game has ended 3-1, so I tried to change the message this time at the break and 4-1 is progress, I suppose.
“That situation is always difficult because you know you’re never going to get the same from the opposition in the second half. They’re always going to come out more aggressive to make sure the same thing doesn’t happen to them and, whilst I was still disappointed to concede a goal in the second half, I thought we were very professional otherwise.”
Harrogate manager Simon Weaver insisted that his players must not feel “bruised” by the margin of the defeat, arguing his players had demonstrated the same level of commitment to that shown during Saturday’s 2-1 FA Cup win at Portsmouth but been undone by mistakes.
He said: “We got punished for the individual errors we made but I don’t want the players to be too bruised by tonight because they showed the same character that we did on Saturday when we won at Portsmouth in the cup, so they’ve just got to dust themselves down and get ready for the next match.
“The scoreline was poor but these players have been massive for us and I was bitterly disappointed that we got booed off at half-time. We’ve had a fantastic couple of weeks but this result did not go our way.
“We started really well and they were aware that we like to get off to fast starts, because they were trying to slow things down at throw-ins.
“We then damaged ourselves with the mistakes that led to their goals but the players kept going. They didn’t crumble and we played some good stuff at times.”