New Forest Green boss Troy Deeney described his side’s goalless draw with Gillingham as “the first building block”.

Deeney’s first game in management yielded a point against a side with play-off ambitions, but the draw leaves struggling Rovers five points from safety.

The 35-year-old, who was appointed as David Horseman’s replacement on Wednesday, said: “Everyone could see the passion and want to change things and that’s the first building block. It’s about enjoying that togetherness and spirit tonight.

“It wasn’t a new manager bounce – it’s about putting players in positions they feel more comfortable. It would’ve worn off after 15 minutes if it was.

“We caused our problems more than anything, but it’s a good first day.”

On bringing in former Newcastle, Wolves and Sunderland forward David Kelly as his assistant, Deeney said: “The governor is in. I don’t know it all, so I needed some experience. He tells it as it is so there are no grey areas with him.”

Deeney’s side started at a frantic pace and Ryan Inniss headed over the crossbar from a deep corner in the first couple of minutes.

Callum Morton had Forest Green’s best chance of the half after Charlie McCann found the forward inside the area, but his effort was parried by Gills goalkeeper Jake Turner.

Rovers keeper Luke Daniels handled outside his penalty area, but Connor Mahoney lifted his free-kick over the crossbar.

Matty Stevens had a golden opportunity for the hosts from a well-worked short corner routine but missed the target.

Macauley Bonne headed straight at Daniels in Gillingham’s best effort before the break.

Robbie McKenzie’s speculative long-range effort had Daniels scrambling across goal, but the effort dropped wide of the mark.

Jonny Williams delivered an inch-perfect corner for Timothee Dieng, but his free header was smartly saved by Daniels.

Jayden Clarke’s curling effort just minutes later flew just past the far post as the Gills pressed for a winner after the break, but both sides had to settle for a point.

Gillingham manager Stephen Clemence admitted Deeney’s tactics shocked him.

He said: “The system surprised us a little and we had to make adjustments at half-time.

“They looked to catch us on the break and nearly did a couple of times, but the lads dealt with it.

“I was disappointed not to win the game, but it can be difficult when a team has a new manager.”