GARY Bowyer had spent most of the pre-match interview putting the world to rights.

He did not hold back with his opinion that the whole game needs grabbing by the scruff of the neck.

But it wasn’t just football under the manager’s microscope – social media was another hot topic as he announced his withdrawal from Twitter society.

The knee-jerk reaction to everything seemed as good a reason as any for him to steer clear and the black-and-white way in which seasons are judged before the first month is even done.

It was probably a timely decision to walk away. Mobiles were dripping with venom following an afternoon that reminded us all just how awful life in League Two can be.

Referee Andy Haines proved about as popular as a sausage roll in the Forest Green boardroom, flashing yellow cards willy-nilly and generally working overtime to upset as many people as possible.

Then there was Bowyer’s switch back to 4-3-3, the formation that the unforgiving sphere of social media will tell you is never a winning one.

No matter the manager’s logic behind the decision, namely that he felt they had been overrun at Stevenage the previous midweek until throwing the extra body in there.

By the Twitter court of public opinion, he had been found guilty of getting it wrong the moment the team news was revealed an hour before kick-off.

Then there were the tactics employed by Forest Green on their historic first trip to Valley Parade.

In standard fourth-tier mode, the players had surveyed the pitch with phones in hand to take snap shots of the grand surroundings far removed from what they have been used to.

And then they did everything possible to disrupt, slow down, break up and prevent the game from ever getting beyond the stop-start stage.

Fair play to boss Mark Cooper for pulling it off, although I’m sure his masterplan did not include a winner in the third of eight minutes tacked on at the end for the frequent injury hold-ups.

But then Cooper has always enjoyed the Indian sign over the Bantams – his five previous encounters with them as Swindon manager produced four wins and a draw.

Those games had often ended with a similar angry undercurrent at the antics employed by the visiting side; a by-product of defeat too easily dismissed as sour grapes.

He has clearly not lost the art of getting under City’s skin, however conciliatory his words afterwards may have sounded when he joined in the universal chorus of ref bashing.

What made Saturday even more infuriating was the missed opportunity of topping the table.

Bowyer will argue, probably quite rightly, that positions mean absolutely nothing at such a fledgling stage of the campaign. Again, only the more extreme on social media will see the league table at the back end of August as anything worth shouting about.

But even so. It’s been 11 years since City last led any division – a little sniff of such rarified air would have been nice, even if only for a week or so.

Perhaps the warning signs were there from that time when Stuart McCall’s second season in charge began in such positive fashion.

Remember when five wins out of the first six had everyone at Valley Parade dreaming of an early escape from football’s basement.

Only for a Bournemouth side, light years away from their current Premier League status, to turn the tables as bottom spanked top.

It was another team from near that neck of the woods who gave the current City a slap and their 50-odd travelling fans a day out to remember.

“They are literally a village team” tweeted one home fan dismissively beforehand. A village team that went 16 games unbeaten last season on the way to the play-offs, though.

Surely, we can all remember through bitter experience what happens when attempting to look down the nose at any visiting opponent. You usually end up with a bloody one.

And so it proved as football’s most famous advert for veganism went home with the bacon.

The performance of Haines will ensure this game is not forgotten for a while. The football itself will not live long in the memory.

The scorching heat made for a sleepy first half punctuated with one decent effort from the busy Jordan Gibson, back from his hamstring injury, and two Joe Mills free-kicks for Forest Green.

The only sign of fireworks at that stage were the bangers being set off somewhere behind the Bradford End.

Jamie Devitt’s arrival after the interval lifted the mood and he almost crowned his second debut with a goal.

Ben Richards-Everton flicked on Kelvin Mellor’s long throw and there was Devitt sneaking in at the far post. But his connection was scuffed and keeper Joe Wollacott shovelled the shot away.

City went even closer when Clayton Donaldson got a second bite at a half-cleared free-kick. His close-range volley appeared, at first glance, to be blocked again by the keeper.

It was in fact James Vaughan inadvertently keeping the ball out of the net as the ball cannoned off him to spare Forest Green.

Still, Haines was annoying all with the card count mounting.

Vaughan got one for a high boot as he attempted an overhead kick. Matt Mills, Joe’s brother, was booked for trying to sneak back on the pitch unannounced after treatment.

That would prove costly for Forest Green’s player-coach when he saw yellow again in stoppage time.

By then, though, his team had something valuable to protect.

Vaughan was flagged marginally offside just over halfway, the free-kick being moved back into City territory as part of the new directive for where the players actually touches the ball.

Whatever City’s beef about that, there was no excuse for not dealing with what followed as Kevin Dawson set up Joe Mills to deny Richard O’Donnell a fourth clean sheet.

The elder Mills was then banished to the dressing room as City launched a desperate salvage operation.

It looked like they had achieved that when Mellor netted in the 98th minute. But the general jubilation was stopped in its tracks by assistant Chris Ward’s flag.

The final whistle quickly followed, sparking a stampede from both sides towards the tunnel for an unsavoury spot of afters.