SUBSTITUTE George Williams crowned his return from a season of injury hell with a sumptuous late equaliser at Oldham Athletic.

Against the club he sustained a broken leg in the season opener, Welsh international Williams stepped off the bench to fizz in stunning strike on 89 minutes as Mark Cooper’s side cancelled out Gevaro Nepomuceno’s 56th-minute opener in Greater Manchester.

Earlier, boss Mark Cooper made five numerical changes to the side beaten at home to nine-man Port Vale on Tuesday night.

Out went keeper Conrad Logan, Lewis Thomas taking his place. The mercurial Aaron Collins was afforded an opportunity up front ahead of Josh March. Celtic loanee Jack Aitchison started in place of Matty Stevens with fit again Jevani Brown taking the place of injured Odin Bailey. Nathan McGinley started, with Elliott Frear dropping to the bench.

Chris Stokes was shifted into the middle of a back three, providing the nous for Farrend Rawson and Liam Kitching.

It was the Latics who found their footing and came close to getting their noses ahead on 26 minutes. Zachary Dearnley pulled the trigger from 30 yards with the athletic Thomas appearing to get a touch onto the bar.

Rovers have slid down to 10th in League Two recently thanks to a run of five defeats and a draw in their last six games. However, they looked comfortable in possession and were fashioning opportunities, but the vital polish was missing – Aitchison spurning an early one-on-one opportunity.

On the cusp of the break, Oldham’s Gary Woods preserved the stalemate. The leggy Ebo Adams found Collins and his half-volley saw Woods glove a ball over the bar.

Forest Green were at it from the get-go – Brown dipping a ball over the bar after Adams set the Colchester loanee free.

However, it was Oldham who broke the stalemate on 56 minutes – Nepomuceno fizzing through Thomas.

Cooper  hooked Brown and Aitchison for George Williams and Rob Hall.

Williams handed Rovers some fresh impetus, watching his clever free-kick gathered at the second attempt from Woods.

Rovers hunted parity – Liam Kitching planting a header onto the bar from a delicious Williams’ delivery with 11 minutes left on the clock.

And it was Williams who crowned his comeback with a sumptuous curling strike with a minute to go. His celebrations were almost palpable as he took his shirt off in celebration, picking up a booking for his unbridled exuberance.

In six minutes of added time, Rawson did well to block out Nepomuceno. Rovers almost pinched the points with the irrepressible Williams and Kitching going close.

Rovers remain 10th in the table.

FOREST GREEN ROVERS: Thomas, Dawson, Rawson, Stokes, Kitching, McGinley, Winchester, Adams, Brown (Hall 59) Aitchison (Williams 59), Collins (March 67)

Subs not used: Logan, Frear, Stevens, M.Mills


FGR fans: 107

Next up: Forest Green travel to Scunthorpe on Saturday, 3pm.