Hodgkiss leaves it late as Rovers make their point
JARED Hodgkiss swept home a late equaliser to earn Forest Green a more than deserved point at Nuneaton.
The full-back finished off a classic Rovers breakaway in captivating fashion to ensure David Hockaday's side enjoyed a share of the spoils and remained in the higher echelons of the new Skrill Premier table.
After Saturday's eight-goal demolition job of Hyde, a visit to Liberty Way was always going to act as a reminder of the mammoth job that lies ahead.
And when Andrew Brown nodded the hosts in front in the first half, Rovers no doubt realised that their eye-catching weekend victory was far from what will be the norm this season.
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Nevertheless, having dominated the entire affair in possession, Hodgkiss' gut-busting leveller illustrated the battling qualities that make up a part of this current Forest Green squad.
With no change to the starting XI from the weekend, James Norwood was causing early havoc, and his pacy burst at the Nuneaton defence ended with a powerful shot that flew straight into the arms of James Belshaw.
Both full-backs were providing much of Nuneaton's threat and it was from the home side's right-back Theo Streete's dangerous low cross, turned over by Hodgkiss for a corner, which led to the hosts' opener.
Adam Walker's corner was met perfectly by Brown, who guided a header into the far corner of the net to push Nuneaton in front.
Wes York's attempts to extend his team's lead were extinguished by the comfortable handling of Sam Russell, while Rovers skipper Anthony Barry struggled to guide a difficult volley from a narrow angle towards goal on the half hour mark.
Norwood once again spurned one of Rovers big first-half chances after he had done brilliantly to dispossess Amari'i Bell by blasting over when bearing down on goal.
All evening the hosts, as Rovers opposition so often do, were allowing Forest Green plenty of time on the ball while sitting deep, which subsequently made life difficult for Rovers.
So much so it was left-back Chris Stokes who failed to take advantage of two rare opportunities around the hour mark.
Firstly the former Bolton Wanderers youngster headed Marcus Kelly's cross wide and then he failed to hit the target with a shot inside the box after Matty Taylor had set him up.
Stokes would, however, play a crucial role in Rovers' leveller minutes later.
Rovers did well to win the ball from Walker's poorly taken short corner and Stokes burst determinedly down the whole length of the pitch, with the ball finally finding its way across the face of goal where Hodgkiss, who had similarly broken from the back, was on hand to fire in Rovers' leveller.
NUNEATON TOWN: J Belshaw, A Bell, G Cowan, G Dean, A Walker, J Armson, J Adams, T Streete, L Moult, A Brown, W York (C Taylor 90); Subs not used: D McNamee, D Gordon, D Sleath, G Pearson.
FOREST GREEN: S Russell, J Hodgkiss, C Stokes, G Pilkington, D Bennett, A Bangura, A Barry (Y Klukowski 66), M Kelly, J Norwood, D Wright (M Barnes-Homer 53), M Taylor; Subs not used: M Bulman, E Asafu-Adjaye, S Williams.
Referee: Declan Ford
Star Man: Jared Hodgkiss