AT a venue where going organic is seen as the way forward, it seemed appropriate that one of Colchester United’s home-grown players should prove to be the match winner.

It was Sammie Szmodics’ first-half strike that helped claim the U’s a valuable victory at Forest Green Rovers, a football club that claims to be the most eco-friendly on earth.

The New Lawn, shaped firmly by the environmental beliefs of their innovative chairman, Dale Vince, is a truly unique place to visit, as I found out for myself on Tuesday night.

It’s unlike any other club in the EFL, with its solar panels on the stadium roof and award-winning planet-saving initiatives.

The ethos is clear pretty much everywhere you look at the venue and Vince is particularly big on the importance of food, which he sees as a big issue.

One of the first things the committed green energy firm boss and Ecotricity founder did upon taking over as chairman was to omit red meat from the menu.

Since then, Vince has taken it even further.

The League Two club recently celebrated its third vegan anniversary by baking a chocolate Oreo cake, where slices were sold at £1.90 a time.

Cash raised from sales of the cake went to the Vegan Society – just how many other football clubs can say they’ve done that?

Meat, fish, dairy or animal products are absent at the Gloucestershire club – and that doesn’t just apply to the players’ diets.

Supporters must also comply with the ethos while they are on the premises – and staff and media too – although they are permitted to bring their own food to the ground.

But what Forest Green lack in terms of meat, fish and dairy, they more than make up for with an extensive range of vegan alternatives.

Prior to sitting down in the press box – which like the rest of the ground is powered by renewable energy – it seemed rude not to tuck into the sausage (meat-free, of course), onions and mash which was one of the options served up to the members of the various media in attendance.

After a five-hour stint in the office that morning and a testing trip to Gloucestershire on a dark and dingy November night, it was certainly a most welcome pre-match treat.

But in the end, it merely turned out to be a appetiser for what was to follow.

For on the pitch, it was Colchester who provided the most energy and productivity with their hard work rewarded by Szmodics’ first-half strike.

And at a location where ecological issues are at the forefront, John McGreal’s side produced an impressive exercise in conservationism to close the game out and nurture a precious three points.