Blue Square Premier: Forest Green 1 Alfreton Town 1
GOLDEN MOMENT: Forest Green players pay tribute to Pete Reed with a rowing goal celebration Picture: Carl Hewlett
AN oar-some performance was required to welcome double Olympic rowing champion Pete Reed to the New Lawn but his hometown team hit troubled waters and were almost overturned by plucky Alfreton.
There were certainly no golden moments for the Football League chasing side and precious little to stir the home crowd from their torpor.
However, the biggest cheer was rightly reserved for Reed and his glamorous fiancée Frauke Oltmanns and the happy couple soaked up the warm half-time applause from around the ground.
The icing on the cake for the charmingly self-deprecating Olympian was complete when he noticed his name up in lights on the electronic scoreboard.
Busy performing civic duties in Stroud and Nailsworth, Reed missed Forest Green's first half tribute to his Olympic triumph when Yan Klukowski's 10th minute goal saw the players perform a rowing-based celebration under head choreographer Klukowski.
"We wanted to pay tribute to Pete for all the effort and dedication he has put in to his sport," said Klukowski.
"To win golds at two Olympics is an amazing sporting achievement."
On reflection, Rovers boss David Hockaday will be satisfied with a point despite insisting Jamie Turley's was unfortunate to have given away a stoppage time penalty following a tangle with Leigh Franks.
"It wasn't a penalty, but there's nothing we can do about that and we didn't deserve anything from that performance."
Earlier, Rovers looked set to move back to the top of the Blue Square Premier with 90 minutes on the clock until the injury time leveller.
Hockaday added: "It feels like we've almost escaped with a 1-1, even though it was a poor decision in the end.
"They are very big, strong, very direct and make it hard to play against. We didn't have the bravery today to play, so they've come and done a job on us and we weren't brave enough to get it down and play.
"The beauty of the game is to keep it simple and we didn't. We tried to complicate too much running with the ball, too many touches. We played into their hands and to be fair they (Alfreton) deserved a draw.
"We can play a lot better; we haven't played well enough for me to deserve a win. So we need to have a look at ourselves and improve.
"I thought mentally we looked a bit tired, the pressure we're under at the moment, which is a nice pressure, we have to get used to. I hope we get used to it and I hope we stay up at the top, we have to deal with it - it's certainly better than when you've got the pressure of being at the bottom."
Hockaday made four changes to the side that tasted a first defeat of the season at Grimsby Town last week.
However, Rovers were simply not at it and can point to missing the energy of Kieron Forbes-out following his knock playing for England C _ while his Three Lions team-mates Eddie Oshodi and Jamie Turley looked far from their imperious best following a week on international duty.
Alfreton, fresh from defeating Luton Town 3-0, hit the ground running, but it was Rovers who drew first blood. Magno Vieira showed no signs of fatigue following the birth of his daughter on Thursday. His whipped tenth minute cross appeared to be handled but broke to the alert Matty Taylor, whose shot was parried by Jon Stewart for Klukowski to fire home the rebound and move into the top three of Forest Green_s all-time Blue Square Premier scorers.
James Rowe was almost on target as he got on the end of a Turley cross and Leigh Franks did well to clear a Jamie Collins header.
The predicted goal avalanche failed to follow as the Derbyshire side turned up the heat. Rovers had the outstanding Sam Russell to thank as his glove work denied the dynamic Nathan Arnold, who got in behind a statuesque defence.
Despite a raft of substitutions, Rovers remained out of sorts. Anton Russell should have netted Alfreton parity, but contrived to plant a free header over the bar from 10 yards.
Arnold was on the money as he danced past Aarran Racine, but failed to caress the ball past Russell, who again flung out a long leaver to palm the ball away.
Russell was at it again, denying Arnold from distance with six minutes to go and frustrating Bradley.
In added time the referee pointed to the spot after Turley was adjudged to have fouled Franks. Dan Bradley beat penalty saving specialist Russell to hand Alfreton a point.
Forest Green: Russell; Turley, Racine, Oshodi, Asafu-Adjaye; Klukowski, Collins, Rowe (Bangura 60); Norwood, Taylor (Styche 56), Vieira (Koroma 78).
Subs not used: Stokes, Marsh.
Star Player: Sam Russell.
ROVERS travel to Macclesfield Town on Saturday (3pm).
Comments are closed on this article.