Skrill Premier: Nuneaton Town 1 Forest Green 1
9:30am Thursday 15th August 2013 in Gloucestershire Sport
JARED HODGKISS swept home a late leveller at Nuneaton Town’s Sperrin Brewery Stadium to hand Forest Green a deserved point in their first away trip of the season, writes Richard Joyce.
The full back managed to stab home Chris Stokes’ low cross in dramatic fashion to ensure Rovers did not leave Liberty Way empty handed following Saturday’s record breaking victory over Hyde at The New Lawn.
If Saturday’s result had led to any exaggeration as to how life in the Skrill Premier will go for Rovers this season then a draw with a hard working Nuneaton outfit will no doubt have ensured all those connected to Forest Green will have their feet firmly back on the ground.
Andrew Brown’s first half header had handed the home side the lead but after battling back in the second half against a resolute Nuneaton defence, Hodgkiss was on hand to score just his second ever league goal for Rovers in over 120 appearances.
Manager David Hockaday named an unchanged team from the mauling of Hyde and one of the weekend’s goalscorers, James Norwood, powered a shot straight into the arms of Nuneaton keeper James Belshaw early on.
The hosts’ full backs were proving to be their most major threat and after Theo Streete’s dangerous dash and cross had been put out for a corner by Hodgkiss, they pushed in front courtesy of Brown’s finely guided header.
Adam Walker’s threatening corner was met by the Nuneaton forward, who headed his team in front with his side’s first home goal of the new campaign.
Sam Russell had a comfortable enough task when it came to denying Wes Burns a Nuneaton second while Anthony Barry steered a difficult volley wide for Rovers on the half-hour mark.
Norwood had one final opportunity to find the net in the half after he did well to dispossess Amari’i Bell but the England C attacker could only blast well over.
Pressure was building on the hosts as Forest Green were allowed more time to control possession at the start of the second half although chances were still difficult to come by for Hockaday’s side.
Stokes headed Marcus Kelly’s cross from the right well wide while the left back could only drive a shot inside the box past the post after Matty Taylor had teed up the former Bolton Wanderers youngster.
It was a classic Rovers breakaway that would see them earn a deserved equaliser though, just over ten minutes from the end. Walker’s short corner failed to come off for the hosts and Stokes burst forward determinedly. As he reached the Nuneaton penalty area, he drove the ball across the face of goal to be met by none other than fellow full back Hodgkiss, who slid in to equalise.
- Rovers visit Lincoln City on Saturday.
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