Steve Burr suffered his first defeat since being tasked with keeping Chester FC in the Skrill Premier but the scoreline failed to tell the whole story.
Lee Hughes has scored plenty of goals at a far higher level than this and the 37-year-old proved the difference between the sides. Rovers were deserved winners, creating the clearer chances and having far more possession, particularly in the first period.
Burr's side had opportunities too and will perhaps reflect on what might have been had Craig Lindfield taken a golden chance to open the scoring on 11 minutes.
Defeat brings the Blues back to earth after two excellent results but performances over the past seven days have proven that this group of players – with one or two more additions – can survive this season.
Having picked up maximum points from his first two games in charge, Burr understandably kept faith with the side that triumphed 1-0 at Woking on Tuesday with new signing Andy Bond on the bench and Joe Heath dropping out.
Rovers' boss Adrian Pennock made two changes from the 6-2 win at bottom club Hyde with Jared Hodgkiss and ex-Wrexham striker Danny Wright coming into the side for Ed Asafu-Adjaye and Reece Styche.
With a strong wind swirling around the New Lawn, the hosts started well with Eddie Oshodi fluffing an early chance and ex-Chester City midfielder Anthony Barry off target with a dipping free kick.
Rovers dominated the opening exchanges and Ross Killock blocked bravely to deny Al Bangura from close range before John Danby used his feet to prevent Barry on the follow up.
Having survived that attack, the visitors' countered and almost hit the front when left back Kevin McIntyre unleashed a fizzing drive but his strike whistled just past the post as a frenetic opening 10 minutes came to an end.
Craig Lindfield then missed a gilt-edged chance to give the Blues the lead after home keeper Sam Russell pawed a Killock header straight to George Horan. He teed up Lindfield but the midfielder side-footed his weak effort straight to the keeper from six yards out.
Rovers asserted themselves as the half wore on with the visitors struggling to clear the ball in the strong wind and it came as no surprise to see the hosts take the lead on 23 minute. Hughes was given too much too much time and space to fire home his first goal for the Gloucestershire club, although there were suspicions the veteran striker was offside.
Burr's men were finding the going increasingly tough and the hosts went close to doubling the lead on 32 minutes but Wright lifted his effort over the bar under pressure from Horan before Hughes almost claimed his second five minutes later, sending a curling shot wide from 20 yards.
Forest Green kept up the pressure but were unable to convert greater possession into a second goal before the break and Burr will have been relieved to see his side only one down when the half time whistle sounded.
Rovers had the first opportunity after the restart with the dangerous Norwood stinging Danby's palms with a snap shot from the edge of the area but there were some encouraging signs for the Blues early in the second period.
Lewis Turner linked up well with Lindfield and before going to ground in the area as Oshodi challenged him with referee Adam Hopkins booking the right back for simulation on 48 minutes before Jamie Reed fired over from outside the box.
Burr made a change on 55 minutes with new central midfielder Andy Bond replacing Lindfield and bringing on Craig Mahon for Jason Jarrett eight minutes later as the Blues looked to build on a promising start.
Hughes poked wide from eight yards and Menagh had an effort blocked inside the area as both sides continued to show attacking intent in an entertaining contest.
Just as it looked as if the Blues might have taken the upper hand, a moment of individual brilliance swung the momentum back in Rovers' favour. Right winger Norwood checked inside and powered the ball into the bottom corner to put his side two up.
Rooney dragged a shot wide from distance as the visitors tried to get back into the game but with Burr's side committing men forward, the home side began to exploit the space.
Norwood and Marcus Kelly kicked each other rather than the ball with only Danby to beat and Hughes blasted an effort out of the ground when it looked easier to hit the target.
Hughes was not to be denied for long and netted his second on 73 minutes, nutmegging McIntyre before smashing home as he demonstrated he retains the finishing ability that made him so prolific at higher levels
A three-goal deficit was rough on the Blues, who had shown plenty of positivity in the second half and Burr's side continued to go forward with Rooney hitting the inside of the post and substitute Tom Peers just off target with a low shot in the closing stages.
Forest Green Rovers: Russell, Hodgkiss, Binnom-Williams, Turley, Oshodi, Norwood, Barry (Green 83), Bangura, Kelly, Wright (Viera 79), Hughes (Walker 85).
Subs: Asafu-Adjaye, Bulman, Walker.
Goals: Hughes 23, 73, Norwood 65.
Chester FC: Danby, Turner, Horan, Killock, McIntyre, Lindfield (Bond 55), Miller, Jarrett (Mahon 63), Menagh (Peers 79), Rooney, Reed.
Subs: Kay, Fearon.
Referee: Adam Hopkins (Plymouth)
Attendance: 1,483 (316 from Chester FC).