Jan Klukowski's penalty in the 89th minute meant Cambridge United had to settle for a point on the opening day of the 2012/13 Blue Square Bet Premier season.
The U's had taken a first-half lead through Tom Elliott's header, but after a long spell of pressure from the hosts Kevin Roberts tripped Jamie Norwood, and Klukowski did the honours from 12 yards.
Manager Jez George handed starts to five summer signings: Jonathan Hedge, Scott Garner, Ricky Wellard, Robbie Willmott and Elliott, with Michael Gash and Andy Pugh missing due to fitness concerns, and Adam Marriott
confined to his sick-bed.
And they were dealt a further blow when Luke Berry had to be withdrawn in the 27th minute with a head injury, Liam Hughes coming on in his place.
There had been little in the way of goalmouth action before Elliott headed the U's in front, converting a cross from centre-back Josh Coulson to open his account for the club.
Jonathan Hedge had a make a good save shortly afterwards to foil Jamie Norwood, who continued to threaten in the second half as the home side turned the screw. Adriano Moke and Sam Smith came on for their first appearances, but United were on the back foot going into the closing stages.
And after Scott Garner had cleared one Rovers effort off the line, back came the home side and Norwood's burst into the box was halted by Roberts, giving Klukowski the opportunity to give his side a point which was probably deserved on the balance of play.
Cambridge United: Hedge, Roberts, Jennings, Coulson, Garner, Willmott, Dunk (Moke 62), Jarvis, Wellard, Berry (Hughes 27), Elliott (Smith 73). Subs not used: McAuley, Moke
FULL TIME: FOREST GREEN ROVERS 1-1 CAMBRIDGE UNITED
16.57: There goes the whistle, United so close to an opening day win but have a settle for a point thanks to that late spot kick.
16.53: Into four minutes of stoppage time, looks like the New Lawn curse is going to continue, United without a win in Gloucestershire in seven previous attempts.
16.50: GOAL CAMBRIDGE UNITED 1-1 FOREST GREEN ROVERS. JAN KLUKOWSKI sends Hedge the wrong way from the spot, FGR level with a minute to go.
16.49: Panic stations in the U's box, FGR pile bodies into the box and it's off the line from Garner! Ball comes back in, Norwood tripped by Roberts, penalty!
16.40: Now Rovers make their third substitution, Reece Styche replacing Taylor. Ten minutes remaining.
16.33: Final change for the U's, Sam Smith on for Elliott, who has taken a knock. United players in the wars today. Ben Wright has come on for the home side.
16.27: YELLOW CARD Robbie Willmott goes into the book for time wasting.
16.24: Adriano Moke comes on for his U's debut, Harrison Dunk the man replaced.
16.22: Rovers turning the screw, winning four corners in quick succession, but eventually the ball is hoofed behind for a goal kick. Having weathered the storm for 15 minutes, the U's will look to get a foothold in the match again.
16.12: Josh Coulson makes a good interception to cut out a cross from Norwood, the home side have started the second half on the front foot.
16.06: The action resumes. Forest Green have made a change, James Rowe on for Al Bangura in midfield.
HALF TIME: FOREST GREEN ROVERS 0-1 CAMBRIDGE UNITED
15.45: Two minutes to be added, United coming under some pressure as Forest Green win a corner. But the men in white do their jobs, clear their lines, and that's half-time. So far so good for Jez George's men, who lead thanks to Tom Elliott's debut goal.
15.37: FGR look for an immediate response, but Jonathan Hedge makes a good save to deny Jamie Norwood after a cross from Magno Vieira had caused havoc.
15.33: GOAL FOREST GREEN ROVERS 0-1 CAMBRIDGE UNITED. United in front and it's TOM ELLIOTT with the goal. Josh Coulson puts in the cross and Elliot climbs well to nod past the keeper.
15.27: Early blow for the U's, Luke Berry having to go off, possibly as a result of that head injury. Liam Hughes is on in his place.
15.17: Willmott with a curling effort well wide for the U's, while at the other end Jan Klukowski goes close with a good effort from a tight angle.
15.12: Elliott climbs highest again to meet a corner from Jarvis, but flicks a header. After his injury earlier, Berry is now sporting a nice pink/red headband.
15.07: Tom Elliott heads wide from a Willmott cross.
15.02: The game is underway, and in the first minute Luke Berry is down receiving treatment for a head injury.
14.58: The teams are out at the New Lawn, kick off a couple of minutes away.
14.45: You'll probably remember that Forest Green was the destination for United's first ever Conference match, back in 2005. A certain Scott Rendell scored the only goal, and since then the U's have failed to register a single victory at the New Lawn. No time like the present to change that statistic.
14.15: TEAM NEWS: Manager Jez George has plumped for a 4-4-1-1 formation for this afternoon's match, with strikers Michael Gash and Andy Pugh missing, along with Adam Marriott
who is ill. There are debuts for Scott Garner, Jonathan Hedge, and Tom Elliott, and second debuts for Ricky Wellard and Robbie Willmott. The U's have plenty of options on the bench, including Sam Smith and Adriano Moke.
14.00: Hello and welcome to the 2012/13 season in the Blue Square Bet Premier. Cambridge United get the new campaign underway at the New Lawn this afternoon, and face a tough against one of our bogey sides, Forest Green Rovers.