Cardiff City opened their pre-season campaign with a 1-1 draw away at Forest Green Rovers.
Second half substitute Joe Mason put the Bluebirds ahead early in the second half, but former Newport County man ensured his new side earned a point from this match with a flicked header on 73 minutes.
Russell Slade named a strong Cardiff City starting eleven for this pre-season fixture, and this showed throughout the opening 45 minutes, with the Bluebirds dominating possession. The away side went close after just 12 minutes. Anthony Pilkington controlling the ball well on the left side of midfield before beating his man and cutting it back from the bye-line to Kiko Macheda. The Italian striker would have hoped to have done better, getting the ball stuck under his feet before diverting the ball towards goal.
The Bluebirds went even closer ten minutes before the interval with Joe Ralls hitting the woodwork from distance. The young midfielder's effort was superbly tipped onto the crossbar by Jonny Maxted, with Pilkington going close from the resulting corner as City looked to up the pressure on their hosts.
Former Cardiff City forward Jon Parkin received a rapturous applause from the away support before the match and he had Forest Green's best chance of the half on 44 minutes. The giant forward tested the fingertips of Simon Moore with a half volley, but the Bluebirds keeper was equal to the chance, holding well.
City continued controlling the flow of the match after the restart, with three half-time substitutions almost combining to break the deadlock. Peter Whittingham finding Craig Noone on the right side of midfield, with the winger crossing for Joe Mason, who headed just over the bar. Mason didn't have to wait long for another chance though, with the forward clinically dispatching the ball home through the legs of Jonny Maxted on 55 minutes after further impressive link up play with Noone. A deserved lead for the Bluebirds.
The Bluebirds had a chance to increase the lead after Mason was bundled over in the penalty area on 68 minutes. Peter Whittingham stepped up, but Jonny Maxted pushed the ball wide of goal, denying Whittingham from the penalty spot.
While they were forced to spend most of the match defending, Forest Green Rovers did show their attacking instincts in patches and were rewarded after 73 minutes with the equaliser. Former Newport County striker Aaron O'Connor flicking the ball past Ben Wilson after a dangerous cross from new signing Keanu Marsh-Brown evaded the Bluebirds defence and found the frontman.
Joe Mason could have had a second goal on 74 minutes, but for the perfectly positioned Marcus Kelly. Kelly blocking Mason's half volley from Macauley Southam's cross, with the effort looking destined for the back of the net. Academy graduate Southam was making his first appearance in the first team squad alongside last season's U18 captain, and first year professional, Robbie Patten.
Craig Noone, Peter Whittingham and Eoin Doyle were all denied in the last fifteen minutes by Forest Green trialist goalkeeper Maxted, who would have undoubtedly impressed his potential suitors with a standout performance. The 'keeper stopping Cardiff City from scoring a second goal, and ensuring a draw for Rovers.
FINAL SCORE: FOREST GREEN ROVERS 1-1 CARDIFF CITY (O'Connor, 72; Mason, 55)
Cardiff City 1st Half: Moore, Peltier, John, Morrison, Connolly, Ralls, Dikgacoi, Kennedy, Pilkington, Macheda, Revell.
Cardiff City 2nd Half: Wilson, Oshilaja (Blaise), Fabio, Ecuele Manga, Ajayi, Ralls (Patten), Whittingham, Noone, Southam, Doyle, Mason.
Forest Green Rovers: Maxted, Baldwin, Jennings, Jones, Racine, Wedgbury, Kamdjo, Frear, Moore, Sam-Yorke, Parkin.
FGR Substitutes: Pipe, Sinclair, Bender, Clough, Bennett, Guthrie, McGrory, Marsh-Brown, Kelly, O'Connor, White, Stokes, Gabaddini, Dodson, Merchant, Ripley.