Forest Green Rovers got their pre-season off to a fine start as they recorded a 1-1 draw in a behind-closed-door friendly with Cardiff City.
Shawn McCoulsky scored from the penalty spot shortly into the second half to give FGR the lead before Gary Madine levelled for the hosts with just under 20 minutes left on the clock.
As part of FGR’s training camp at Woodbury Park and with the late cancellation of the friendly with Weston-super-Mare, Forest Green played their first game of the summer against the Bluebirds, who were plying their trade in the Premier League last season.
As expected, Neil Warnock’s side started strongly with the likes of Etheridge, Bobby Reid and Morrison all in the starting XI and FGR had to see out the early spell of pressure.
Following the opening 15 minutes, and a brief stoppage following a head injury to a Cardiff player, Forest Green began to find their rhythm and the fitness work began to show.
Adam Smith was called into action when Cardiff got in down the left, forcing a good save with the feet from the former Bristol Rovers man.
Summer signing Aaron Collins had the best chance of the first half for Rovers after being played in by Williams but saw his effort blocked.
In a fierce heat in Devon both sides rung the changes at the break and it didn’t take long after the restart before Junior Mondal got in behind the Cardiff defence and was clipped in the box to win a penalty.
McCoulsky stepped up against former Newport teammate Joe Day and sent him the wrong way as he calmly slotted the ball home to get himself up and running for the summer.
Forest Green continued to play well in the second half against a younger looking Cardiff side, but it was an experienced head that pulled the Championship side back level.
A ball in from the right was headed home by Madine.
Cardiff spurned a couple more chances in the closing stages and a combination of smart keeping from James Montgomery and good game management saw Forest Green see out the game to start pre-season on a positive note.
FGR Starting XI: Smith (Montgomery 45’), Triallist, Rawson (Jones 60’), M Mills (Godwin-Malife 45’), Kitching (Adams 45’), McGinley (Grubb 60’(Williams 75’)), Winchester (Morton 45’), Dawson (Taylor 45’), Williams (Triallist 45’), Grubb (Mondal 45’), Collins (McCoulsky 45’)