Cheltenham Town staged a dramatic comeback as they came from two goals down to earn a point in the Gloucestershire derby against Forest Green Rovers.
The visitors seemed to have a strong hold on the game after they scored two quick goals in the second half through Tahvon Campbell and George Williams.
But it was the Robins who showed great character to get back into the game as substitute Luke Varney and Conor Thomas grabbed the goals to earn Cheltenham a point.
Boss Michael Duff made one change to the side that beat MK Dons last time out, with captain Johnny Mullins coming for Will Boyle in defence.
Forest Green were the one’s to test the Robins defence first when defender Jordon Forster gave away a free-kick just outside the box, but George Williams’ strike was well held by Scott Flinders.
It was a tight affair in the opening quarter of the game, but Cheltenham responded well moving the ball confidently through the middle of the field, but Tyrone Barnett failed to test visiting keeper James Montgomery after his effort went over the bar.
Forest Green did threaten on the counter, though, and Lloyd James came close for the visitors when a good exchange of passes allowed him time on the edge of the box to have a shot, but his curling effort looped onto the top of the net.
The Robins responded well to the visitors pressure, and nearly took the lead when Montgomery parried Chris Hussey’s cross into the path of the onrushing Alex Addai – however, Montgomery was in position to deny the attacker.
At the other end, Cheltenham stopper Flinders pulled off a miraculous save to deny Joseph Mills’ goal-bound effort as the away side started to find joy through the middle of the Robins defence.
Michael Duff’ side continued to press towards the latter stages of the opening period and there were shouts for a Robins penalty after a Ben Tozer long throw struck a mass of bodies just inside the box, but referee Robert Lewis waved away the appeals in a goalless first half.
The opening five minutes of the second half saw the best chance of the game, and it fell the way of the Robins.
A nice change of pace from Addai saw him beat Farrend Rawson with ease down the left wing and his dangerous low ball into the area fell the way of Tyrone Barnett. Unfortunately for Town, the striker’s miscued shot went just past the post.
Forest Green hit back moments later after a set-piece on the area spilled out to Reece Brown, but the midfielder’s effort went high over the bar.
It was the visitors who capitalised on their chances to take the lead after a splitting through ball put Tahvon Campbell through one-on-one and despite Scott Flinders getting in the way of his effort, he failed to prevent it trickling into the net.
Forest Green didn’t waste time doubling their advantage after another through ball set George Williams away and he made no mistake in putting the ball past Flinders.
Town looked to get back in the game after that setback and Jordon Forster came close to getting a quick response after he connected well with Hussey’s delivery, but a fine stop from Montgomery denied the defender.
However, the Robins did respond with ten minutes left in the game after a mistake allowed substitute Luke Varney a run in on goal, and he put it past Montgomery with ease to give the Robins hope.
Cheltenham restored the contest, and the atmosphere just minutes later after a scramble in the Forest Green penalty area fell the way of Conor Thomas, and after a number of bodies burled themselves on the goal-line Thomas was on hand to prod the ball home to level the score – and send the Robins faithful into raptures.
The fourth goal of the game certainly sparked both teams into life and it was end-to-end football towards the closing stages as Cheltenham looked to break at every opportunity.
Forest Green piled the pressure on deep into added time from a corner kick, but resilient defending from Cheltenham shut down the chance as they got deserved point from the local derby.
ROBINS: Flinders (Gk), Thomas (Dawson 82’), Forster, Tozer, Mullins, Hussey, Atangana, Clements, Jones (Maddox 55’), Addai, Barnett (Varney 55’). Subs not used: Lovett, Alcock, Bower, Brennan.
FOREST GREEN: Montgomery (Gk), Shephard, James, Rawson, Winchester, Brown, Williams (Grubb 70’), Campbell (Reid 76’), Gunning, McGinley (Collins 87’), Mills. Subs not used: Thomas (Gk), Archibald, Worthington, Morris.
REFEREE: R. Lewis
ATTENDANCE: 5,125 (879 away)