Exeter City opened 2023 at home with a 1-1 draw with Forest Green that didn't come to life until the final 15 minutes.
Jevani Brown rescued a point late on with a stunning finish to cancel out Jordan Garrick's second half opener, after a dismal first half display from both sides.
After 13 days without a game and two players departing City, Gary made two changes from the New Year’s Day victory over Oxford. Jay Stansfield and Jack Sparkes returned to the starting line-up and new signing Joe White made the bench.
Following a quiet opening nine minutes for both sides, it was City who had the first chance of the game, a well worked piece of play from Sam Nombe found Josh Key in behind the Rovers back line, but he was unable to get a proper hold on the ball and Russ Doohan gathered it up.
Having played just under 20 minutes, City were still very much the team in charge, this time it was Sparkes turning provider for Key, but the wing back turned attacking midfielder just miss timed his jump with the ball sailing away for a throw in.
City were at it once again ten minutes later and it was Sparkes and Key combining together once more, but all that was missing was the end product with Keys effort into the box cleared for a corner.
With the first half coming near to the end, City had another effort on goal, this time it was Sparkes, who picked up the ball 25 yards out from goal and sent a curling strike towards goal, but it went just wide of the posts.
Not long after the restart, Forest Green had their first real effort on goal with Robson sending the ball towards the City goal but left Blackman untroubled.
After a shaky start to the second half, The Grecians found themselves a goal down after 55 minutes with new signing Garrick found unmarked at the back post to tap the ball home following Jamie Robson's delivery.
With 60 minutes played, Gary had clearly seen enough and made a double change, introducing Jevani Brown and new signing Joe White to the frey.
The subs had made a difference with Brown making an impact instantly, a cross field pass from Caprice found Brown on the left-hand side, he then sent a cross to back post and there was Stansfield, but pressure from the Rovers defence forced his header over the bar.
With 74 minutes played, City equalised after an outstanding finish from the magic man Brown. A whole comedy of errors led to the goal with multiple shouts from City players for fouls on White outside of the box and then what looked like a definite penalty to City after a Rovers defender seemed to gather the ball up in the area. However, in all that kerfuffle Brown produced some magic to make it level.
City should have taken the lead just minutes later when Harry Kite's low effort struck the post, sparking chaos in the Forest Green area. From the rebound, Josh Key hit the bar from close range before the ball pinged around the box. The scramble came to an end as Rovers hooked the ball away, but the Grecian remained determined.
It was an impressive half-an-hour cameo from debutant White, who displayed some fine skill and vision on his first appearance, setting up Hartridge for an effort that poked wide.
Despite the chances, Ciyt had to settle for a point.
The next game is a trip to the south coast to take on Portsmouth at Fratton Park on January 21.
City: Blackman, Caprice, Sparkes (Brown), Hartridge, Collins (White), Stansfield, Nombe, Key, Kite, Sweeney ©, Diabate
Subs not used: Lee, Stubbs, Harper, Chauke, Grounds
Forest Green: Doohan, McGeouch (Hendry), Casey, Stevenson ©, Garrick (Bakayoko), Robson, McAllister (Bernard), Godwin-Malife (O’Keefe), Cooper (Cargill), Peart-Harris, March
Subs not used: Thomas, Stevens
Referee: David Rock
Attendance: 7008 (316 Away)