Forest Green Rovers came from behind to secure a point against Crawley Town courtesy of an own goal from Jordan Tunnicliffe in a 1-1 draw.
Bez Lubala had given the hosts the lead on the stroke of half time after a first half of little to talk about, but Forest Green were much improved in the second half and had chances to go on and win the match following the equaliser.
Jevani Brown, who was announced on the morning of the game, came straight into the starting XI and was joined by returns for Jack Aitchison and Aaron Collins in an attacking line-up.
It was a bright start as well from the Colchester United loanee, with a lot of FGR’s early play going through the number 16, playing in a central position behind Collins.
However, the first chance of meaning fell the way of the hosts in the 17th minute.
The ball was nodded down at the far post by Ollie Palmer, with Ashley Nadesan running onto it but fired wide from close range.
Just two minutes later and Adam Smith was being called into a nice double save.
First to deny Panutche Camara from distance and then deny Palmer on the follow up, who turned out to be offside, but a fine, point-blank save none the less.
The game was a scrappy one and chances were at a premium. In the 39th minute, Crawley broke in numbers and at one stage had four-on-four, but Liam Kitching did enough to slow things down with his interception before Camara fired wide from the corner of the area.
Forest Green were dealt a blow on the stroke of half time after dogged determination from the front line of Crawley.
Smith came out to the edge of the box and slid to clear but the ball ricocheted off Ashley Nadesan and while it looked like Kitching could clear the bouncing ball that was heading towards the empty net, the clearance deflected off Lubala and he was able to tap into an empty net.
FGR started the second half much brighter and three minutes in, Jack Aitchison was played into the box by Collins and his first shot was blocked at close range by a Crawley body before he picked it up again, this time blocked inadvertently by Collins.
In the 50th minute, Brown cut onto his left foot from the edge of the box and forced a good save from Glenn Morris, diving away to his left.
Crawley had a response in the 61st minute, Nadesan with the beating of Kitching down the right and cut in to block off the defender, but his shot at the angle lacked power and was comfortable for Smith to save.
Much like the opening goal, the leveller came in fortunate circumstances, in the 63rd minute.
McGinley was on hand with the ball in from the left and Tunnicliffe could only look on in despair as he directed his diving header past his own keeper.
McGinley continued to cause problems for the hosts down the left flank and in the 75th minute put in a great cross for Matt Mills, his superb header on denied by an equally good save from Morris.
With the clock ticking down, Crawley had the best of the final chances in the 88th minute.
Palmer got played in behind and evaded the challenge of Adams, but he looked to take it around Smith and the Forest Green keeper was down well to get the ball and smother the chance.
Crawley XI: Morris, Doherty, Dallison, Palmer, Nadesan (Senldes-White 81’), Ferguson(Allarakhia 67’), Tunnicliffe, Bulman(c), Dacres-Cogley, Camara, Lubala (Bloomfield 81’)
Unused subs: Luyambula, Nathaniel-George, Sesy
Forest Green XI: Smith, Shephard (Bernard 52’), Rawson, Winchester, Collins, Adams, Brown (M Mills 73’), McGinley, Kitching, Mondal, Aitchison (Covil 85’)
Unused subs: Wollacott, Stevens, Morton, Dawson
Referee: David Rock
Attendance: 2,082 (188)
Man of the match: Jevani Brown
Next time out: Mansfield Town, One Call Stadium, Saturday, January 11, 3pm