FOREST GREEN were forced to settle for a point in a breathless League Two clash at Crawley Town.

Christian Doidge gave Rovers the lead on 66 minutes, but Thomas Verheydt levelled things up with 10 minutes to go in a game which saw Mark Cooper's in-from side hit the woodwork three times.

Rovers felt Crawley keeper Glenn Morris should have seen a first-half red when he handled Doidge's strike outside the box.

With Dale Bennett serving a one-game suspension, Nottingham Forest loanee Alex Iacovitti returned to the side after recovering from a hip injury.

On the bench, teenage goalkeeper Harry Pickering replaced Sam Russell and he was joined by Jordan Simpson, who was recalled from his loan spell at Hungerford.

Rovers should have been ahead on four minutes. Reece Brown opened Crawley up for Doidge to fluff his lines, the in-from striker firing into the body of Glenn Morris instead of taking a simple pass option to the unmarked Keanu Marsh-Brown.

It was end-to-end. Forest Green’s Manny Monthe gifted possession for former Forest Green loanee Lewis Young to step on the gas and bring a smart save from Bradley Collins. The high-octane opening saw Morris save well from a Iacovitti’s header.

Rovers had a foothold. A sumptuous passing move finally ended when Marsh-Brown’s howitzer kissed the top of the bar from a Doidge assist.

Rovers were knocking on the Crawley door and hit the goal frame for the second time inside the opening 25 minutes. Monthe’s driving run was ended and from Marsh-Brown’s subsequent flighted free-kick Doidge watched his header on to the post with Morris beaten all ends up.

Rovers were spitting feathers and felt keeper Morris should have seen red on 37 minutes for handling outside his box as he denied Doidge a goal scoring opportunity. In the ensuing debate, Morris was handed a yellow card lifeline.

Fortunate to go into the break scoreless, Crawley boss Harry Kewell made a double substitution. His tactical tinkering worked as the Red Devils started on the front foot. And sub Josh Payne thumped the bar with a stabbing effort from the edge of the box. Brad Collins fingered a Enzio Boldewijn curler over as Crawley pinned Rovers back.

The Crawley assault continued as Rovers strugged to find their so impressive first-half fluidity.

Ragged Rovers were all at sea. Brad Collins saved Rovers with a sublime tip over from a Mark Connolly fizzer. 

The storm was weathered. And in Rovers first passing movement of the second-half Doidge finished smartly on 66 minutes after Marsh-Brown's strike was parried by Morris. The goal was a thing of beauty with crisp passing involving clever touches from Isaiah Osbourne, Reece Brown and Doidge.

Crawley had a stonewall shout for a penalty moments after Rovers' goal, Jordan Roberts taking a tumble under pressure from Scott Laird and Lee Collins.

Crawley netted parity on 80 minutes - Thomas Verheydt heading in from a corner.

Morris saved Crawley as the game drew to a close - blocking well from Rovers' sub Luke James.

At the death a great recovery tackle from Lee Collins denied Jordan Roberts a chance for Crawley and then Doidge saw his shot saved by Morris.

The action didn't stop - Laird hitting the post as his strike took a deflection.

Forest Green: B Collins; Iacovitti, L Collins, Monthe (Wishart 67); Fitzwater, Laird, Traore (Roberts, 90), Osbourne, Brown ( James,77), Marsh-Brown, Doidge

Subs not used: Pickering, Stevens, Simpson, Randall

Bookings: Monthe 46

CRAWLEY TOWN: Morris, Young (Yowerth,45), Lelan, Boldewijn, Verheydt, Smith (Clifford, 60), Roberts, Evina, Connolly, Bulman (Payne, 45), McNerney

Subs not used: Mersin, Tajbakash, Lewis, Camara,

Bookings: Morris 37, Connolly 42, Payne 70

Attendance: 2,149

FGR fans: 202

Star Man: Brad Collins

COMING UP: Forest Green welcome Crewe in Sky Bet Two on Saturday, 3pm.