Rebels go unrewarded

Cheltenham Town

Cheltenham Town

Casey (1-0)
Slough Town

Slough Town

League Attendance: 821
Slough should have come away with more than nothing when they travelled to Cheltenham Town last Wednesday evening.

Their second away Conference fixture of the season looked set to yield far more than it did early on. Manager Alan Davies reverted to the back five line up with Darren Anderson starting the match in the centre of defence alongside Mick Putnam.

Suspension to Gary Donnellan saw Neal Stanley start in the forward line alongside Paul McKinnon and with Steve Thompson pushing deeper into midfield.

But the same problems were apparent as they were against Telford.

Sudden lapses in concentration at the back were mingled with the inability to put the ball into the back of the net, although McKinnon can consider himself unlucky after a breath taking save denied him in the second half.

After nine minutes Purdie went inches wide following a corner with the defence remaining static but Slough gained the upper hand and pushed forward.

Their cause was helped when Anton Vircavs, the Cheltenham central defender, was floored by keeper Barrett who came out for a punch from a long ball, and left the pitch to be substituted some minutes later.

Slough pushed forward and laid siege to the Cheltenham defence but that clear cut breakthrough just didn't come.

The Robins had their best spell of the game late in the first half when they won a succession of corners though they couldn't carve out that goalscoring chance.

The second half was only two minutes old when McKinnon was denied. His powerful far post header from Thompson's free-kick was headed for the back of the net until Barrett flung himself across goal and tipped the ball wide.

Slough were in charge throughout the next 45 minutes. They rolled forward finding space on both flanks and continually causing problems in the penalty area.

Neat passing and sharp breaking had the home defence back pedalling and the Rebels used the width well to get behind the Cheltenham defence. Mark Hill was outstanding on the left when free to push up from full back and Allan Pluckrose had a superb game in his new role in the centre of midfield.

Cohn Fielder was dominant as sweeper and laid off some superb balls with Mick Putnam in charge aerially and keeper Phil Burns had very little to do. But as Slough pushed forward they couldn't find that clear cut chance in front of goal.

Some neat passing on the edge of the box caused many a problem for the Cheltenham defence but the final touch was missing and though Slough were on top they were gaining no reward for their efforts.

Then came the sucker punch. Totally against the run of play, in form striker Kim Casey nipped in to tap the ball home following a cross from the Cheltenham right and Slough were up against it.

But still the Rebels pushed forward, Cheltenham were still backpedalling and Phil Stacey
should have done better when unmarked at the far post but he sent his volley wide of the target following a cross from Hill.

Neal Stanley found himself with his back to the goal too often in the box and not the time to turn and take advantage.

Hill shot into the side netting when he got through on the left. The Rebels kept forcing forward, having the Cheltenham defence twisting and turning but they just couldn't etch out another definite chance and in the end had to settle for defeat when they were worth nothing but a victory.

Cheltenham Town Lineup


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