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Match Report: Cheltenham Town 0-2 Bristol Rovers (Cheltenham Fans' Perspective)

Monday 23rd January 2012
It was going to happen eventually - but it was a shame that Cheltenham's 10-game unbeaten run had to end on the day when Whaddon Road was packed with its' biggest crowd of the season so far.

We were not at our best, this is true, but that was largely down to the performance of Bristol Rovers, who looked a totally different side to the one which meekly surrendered 3-1 in October.

That was the start of our great run, and we have to hope that after this defeat we can get back on to another similar sequence of results quickly.

But let's put in perspective - this was Cheltenham's first win in 10 games, and only our second in 16 outings, so it's not the end of the world, or our promotion challenge because of this one defeat.

We were not at the races from the off, but Rovers' system, with three centre-backs and five across the middle, stifled us superbly as manager Mark McGhee's arrival gave them fresh impetus.

Chris Zebroksi - rumoured to be a target for Cheltenham earlier in the window - went close with a toe-poked effort and a header which shaved the outside of the post as the Gas had the better chances.

Cheltenham struggled to get any head of steam up in that opening period, but started better in the second and Russ Penn was close to getting on the end of a deflected Darryl Duffy cross.

Mark Yates made a double change, introducing record signing Jermaine McGlashan, recruited from Aldershot, and Jeff Goulding to try to find the key to unlock the Rovers back line.

But within a minute, Cheltenham were a goal down, and a through ball sent Zebroski away to arrow his finish inside the far post.

It got worse three minutes later, when Cheltenham conceded a comical second, and ended the game as a contest.

Scott Brown made a good save from Zebroski's long-range shot, and skipper Alan Bennett tried to chest the ball back to the goalkeeper, but the defender failed to spot Eliot Richards behind him, and the youngster nipped in to score.

Another mix-up between Brown and Bennett nearly gifted a third to Scott McGleish, and despite some bright moments from McGlashan, Cheltenham never looked like getting back into the game.

It was an opportunity missed for the Rubies to take top spot in League Two as both Southend and Crawley slipped up, while Shrewsbury and Swindon closed the gap on the top three.

But they will hope to bounce back on Saturday at Macclesfield, and with Southend not playing and Crawley in the FA Cup, failure to avoid defeat at Moss Rose will see the Rubies hit the top for the first time this season.
Mark Halliwell

Total articles: 7

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