📝 Match Report: Cheltenham Town 3 City 1

Two goals in five second half minutes from the home side cancelled out Josh Key's 70th minute equaliser as City were unable to continue their good run of form.

After the fantastic comeback win over Lincoln in the previous fixture, Gary Caldwell made three changes to the starting XI. Coming in for City was Blackman, in place of Gary Woods who is out for the season, Jonathan Grounds for Alex Hartridge after the latter picked up a red card and Kegs Chauke in for Rekeem Harper. Back in the squad after missing last game due to an injury was Kevin McDonald and returning from his loan at Plymouth Parkway, Harry Lee.

Both sides were slow out of the blocks in the opening ten minutes, with neither side testing the opposition keepers. The only moment of the game for either fan to make a noise about was an effort from range from Cheltenham’s Alfie May, but his effort blazed over the bar.

As soon as the game entered the 11th minute, City came to life. A mazy run from Joe White, ended up with the Newcastle loanee upended, up stepped Archie Collins to take the free kick. From 25 yards Collins effort low down to the keepers left hand side had Luke Southwood pull off a fantastic save and the ball cleared away.

Immediately from the next attack, White was causing trouble once again, this time he was aiming to turn provider and his inch perfect pass found Demetri Mitchell, but Mitchell was fouled in the box and a penalty awarded to City. Sam Nombe placed the ball on the spot and sent the ball hurtling towards the keepers left, but Southwood made another fantastic save from the penalty, and the Robins were able to clear.

With 17 minutes on the clock and all the pressure coming from City, Cheltenham hit the Grecians on the counterattack, with Alfie May beating Grounds to lay the ball on a plate for Aidan Keena to slot the ball past a hapless Blackman in goal.

Minutes later and City gave the ball away in the middle of the park and allowed Cheltenham another counterattack, with a four on two situation it was panic stations for the City defence. But Elliot Bonds wanted all the glory and went for goal all by himself, but it was a comfortable save for Blackman to make.

As the first half ventured closer to the half time mark, the game had started to open up, with both times finding themselves comfortable in possession. However, it was the home side having more glory with the ball at their feet, with the Robins still leading after 39 minutes.

Another tricky, mazy run from White gave City another set piece effort from 30 yards, this time it was Mitchell who took on the duty as free kick taker. However, his effort, even though it had Southwood scrambling, went wide of the upper stanch and behind for a goal kick.

With the first half into its final minute of normal time, a lovely bit of link up between Sweeney, Key and Collins led to the ball finding White in the box, however the loanees effort on goal was deflected behind for a corner. The resulting corner was a poor one and cleared away only to Chauke, somehow the defensive midfielder’s tricky feet allowed him to slip past multiple defenders but again his effort was deflected away from goal.

There was only the one change at half time and that was for the home side as Ryan Jackson was replaced by Taylor Perry.

City started the second half much quicker than the home side, with two corners in quick succession in the first two minutes, but the big talking point was an effort on target from right wing back Key, but Southwood matched it, and another save for the home keeper.

Seven minutes into the second half and it was all City, this time a looping ball into the box found Mitchell at the back post but he was unable to make a good connection as he was shoved in the air. However, the referee saw nothing wrong and waved penalty appeals away, much to the disgust of City players and fans.


All the pressure paid off and in the 70th minute, City equalised. A mazy run down the left-hand side from Mitchell, had Cheltenham defenders falling over their own feet, he then sent a looping ball to his fellow wing back Key, and Josh was able to smash home a header from a few yards away.

No sooner had the goal been scored did Gary make a double change, leaving the pitch was Chauke and Stansfield and replacing them was the Scottish duo of McDonald and Scott.

The substitutes didn’t have the affect Gary had intended though as with their next attack, Cheltenham found themselves ahead once again. A corner whipped into City’s box found the head of an unmarked Taylor and he was able to head past Blackman.

A second goal in the space of five minutes for Cheltenham made it 3-1 to the Robins. A misplaced pass allowed Cheltenham to play the ball over the top for May to run in on Blackman, and he he was able to slot the ball under Blackman, who was unable to prevent to the goal.

With the game inside the final five minutes of normal time, Caldwell make another double change. Entering the pitch was Josh Coley and Jake Caprice, and the two leaving in their place was Grounds and White. A first appearance for Coley since returning from his loan at Harrogate.

That was that for City a second loss in the league to Cheltenham this season meant City’s three game unbeaten run came to an end.

The next game for City is back at home at SJP to take on Accrington Stanley on Saturday March 25th.

Cheltenham: Southwood, Long ©, Bradbury, Sercombe, May, Taylor, Ferry, Jackson, Bonds, Keena, Broom

Subs not used: MacDonald, Williams, Baggot

City: Blackman, Key, Sweeney, Aimson ©, Grounds (Coley), Mitchell, Chauke (McDonald), Collins, White (Caprice), Nombe, Stansfield (Scott)

Subs not used: Lee, Sparkes, Harper

Referee: Anthony Backhouse

Attendance: 5102 (1330 Away)