Gateshead 1-1 Forest Green Rovers
Gateshead recorded a third consecutive draw as monsoon conditions swamped Tyneside and an improving Forest Green Rovers took a merited point back to the west country.
Gateshead handed a debut to central defender Alan White and a home debut to Ashley Winn with Gary Mulligan joining Jon Shaw up front.
The Tynesiders started slowly and Ross Dyer missed a 7th minute golden chance for Rovers when he put a close range free header from Mike Fowler's cross wide.
It was a bright start from the visitors but Gateshead went on to take a first half stranglehold on a game played in driving rain and sleet.
Shaw's lay-off saw White's powerful shot blocked by James Bittner, who then twice denied Gary Mulligan's follow up attempts.
Former Ireland U.21 international Mulligan had a fine first half and when he had another shot blocked Winn shot wide at the back post.
Phil Turnbull lost possession outside the Gateshead box but fortunately no-one was on hand to convert Yan Klukowski's driven cross.
The lively Craig Nelthorpe then had a shot blocked following a half cleared long throw as Gateshead turned up the pressure in an entertaining game.
Curtis McDonald shot over from 22 yards at the other end but it was Gateshead who were dominating and they made the breakthrough just before the half hour.
Michael Kay's deep cross caused confusion in the Rovers defence, Mulligan knowing little about it as he nudged the ball home as he fell to the ground after challenging Bittner.
Shaw's scissor kick from 12 yards was then straight at Bittner and Mulligan's stooping header from Nelthorpe's cross also tested the Rovers keeper.
A 1-0 interval lead was a deserved one but Forest Green stormed back to run the show for 25 minutes after the break and grab a 68th minute equaliser.
Rovers raced out of the traps after the restart, Paul Farman having to save from Wayne Turk in the first minute after a carefully crafted move had sliced Gateshead open.
Fowler then drove across the face of goal and Farman blocked an Adam Quinn header on the line from a McDonald corner after the defender had peeled away from White at the back post.
Gateshead were now on the back foot though White had a shot cleared off the line after he had been picked out by Nelthorpe.
Only a timely McDonald challenge denied Mulligan his second from Kris Gate's through ball but the momentum was still with the visitors.
Striker Styche, who had earlier picked up his 10th booking, side-footed home Klukowski's low cross unchallenged at the back post to restore parity.
After that it was all Gateshead with Forest Green seemingly content to hold on to a hard earned point.
Shaw burst between two defenders to home in on goal but lacked the legs to race clear and was quickly tackled by Rovers captain Luke Jones.
The front man then headed over from a Craig Baxter cross while White glanced a header wide of the far post from sub Martin Brittain's corner.
Kay's 78th minute cross from the right was then headed on by Shaw for Nelthorpe to crash a first time volley towards the near bottom corner only for Bittner to tip the ball past the post.
Gate had a 22 yard shot blocked in injury time while Nelthorpe blazed over as Gateshead had to settle for a share of the spoils again.
Gateshead: Farman, Kay, Baxter, Gate, White, Clark, Winn (Brittain 69), Turnbull, Shaw (Wake 87), Mulligan, Nelthorpe
Subs (not used): Jones, Porter (gk), Ferrell,
Goal: Mulligan (28)
Booking: White (56)
SHOTS ON TARGET: 10, SHOTS OFF TARGET: 5, CORNERS: 5, OFFSIDE: 2, FOULS CONCEDED: 10
Forest Green: Bittner, Hodgkiss, Jones, Armstrong, M.Fowler (Caines 68), Styche (Head 90), Dyer, Klukowski, McDonald, Turk, Quinn
Subs (not used): Bartlett, Else, Stokes
Goal: Styche (68)
Booking: Styche (55)
SHOTS ON TARGET: 9, SHOTS OFF TARGET: 7, CORNERS: 7, OFFSIDE: 2, FOULS CONCEDED: 8
Referee: Paul Davison (Stockton)
Gary Mulligan tests FGR keeper James Bittner.
Gary Mulligan controls the ball with his chest.
Brian Wake and Alan White involved in a late scramble in the FGR box. Pics by Martin Avery.