5th February 2019

In a first-half packed with controversy, the night’s events began when Tom James had a free-kick disallowed inside the opening 10 minutes for an alleged off the ball foul. 

Dominating the opening 20 minutes Town had a penalty shout waved away before minutes later they were reduced to 10 men when James was shown a straight red card for a foul on Alex Addai that the officials viewed as reckless. 

Continuing in breathless fashion, Luke Varney had a goal ruled out for the hosts before Alex Fisher was twice denied by the linesman’s flag to end an opening 45 minutes which saw four goals not given. 

More than competing with 10-men the visitors fell behind on 59 minutes when Varney legitimately opened the scoring with a volleyed finish. 

Chasing to get back into the match the green and whites ended with three strikers on the pitch as caution was thrown to the wind, but an equaliser wasn’t to come as Yeovil left with only talking points to show for their efforts.

Starting brightly at a wet and windy Jonny-Rocks Stadium, Town thought they’d opened the scoring when James rifled home a free-kick but for the officials to cause controversy and rule out the strike.

With 20 fit players to select from, Darren Way made two changes from the side that came away from Stevenage empty-handed at the weekend. 

Changing the man between the sticks the experienced Stuart Nelson was preferred to Nathan Baxter who dropped to the bench, whilst Sessi D’Almeida was ruled unavailable after picking up a shoulder injury three days previous. 

Awaiting a timeframe for the Benin international’s absence, Gary Warren returned from a groin injury in timely fashion to take his place in a reshuffle that saw James move into a holding midfield position. 

In the day that the Welsh defender was shortlisted for the division’s Player of the Month award, he thought he’d grabbed a seventh goal of the season after just six minutes. 

Stepping up to a free-kick 25 yards from goal James’ swirling strike left Scott Flinders flat footed and picking the ball out of the back of the net, only for referee Tim Robinson to harshly spot a foul off the ball and disallow the goal. 

The second match in succession where Town’s set-piece specialist was denied by the officials it didn’t deter the visitors from remaining on the front foot.

The wide outlets of Rhys Browne and Alex Dobre caused plenty of havoc in the opening 20 minutes whilst Jake Gray got forward from midfield to dispatch two low drive just off target. 

Having already seen one moment of controversy the visitors were left rocked by two decision in the space of five minutes. 

Firstly frustration grew when Alex Fisher was denied a penalty after seemingly being fouled in the box by Jordon Forster, before a match-altering moment at the other end. 

Alex Addai looked to race towards the box but was met by a robust looking James challenge that was viewed as a red card offence to leave the Glovers with a man disadvantage. 

Bubbling over on the touchline in the aftermath, Town’s boss was sent to the stands and would’ve had a perfect view from above to see Varney have a goal disallowed for offside following Ryan Broom’s cross. 

The second disallowed strike of the half the pattern was to develop to the annoyance of top scorer Fisher who twice saw neat finishes ruled out by offside decisions to conclude a breathless first-half. 

Met by torrential rain for the second half the spotlight continued to be primarily on the officials with three yellow cards shown in the space of four minutes to highlight the stop-start nature following the restart. 

Racing to nearly the hour-mark without any attacking action the Robins took the lead with a moment of quality. 

A loose ball fell to Varney on the edge of the box who showed composure to fire a well-tamed volley into the back of the net past a hapless Nelson. 

Unable to do anything about the goal Town’s number one was instrumental in keeping it 1-0 straight from the restart when he denied Rakish Bingham with his legs after the Cheltenham striker charged in on goal. 

With Michael Duff’s side relaxed with their lead the intensity dropped out of the match as Town looked to forget their numerical disadvantage and level it up. 

Boasting a bench full of attacking options all three changes were made as the final 10 minutes approached as Tristan Abrahams – making his debut – Yoann Arquin and Courtney Duffus took to the field. 

Making it uncomfortable for the Robins in the closing stages Way’s side searched for an equaliser but were forced to head back down the M5 frustrated by how the evening played out. 

Cheltenham Town: Flinders; Forster (Dawson 46′), Tozer, Raglan; Broom, Tillson, Clements (Thomas 90′), Hussey; Maddox; Varney, Addai (Bingham 38′).
Bookings: Bingham 44′, Maddox 56′
Subs not used: Lovett, Duku, Waters, Pring.

Yeovil Town: Nelson; Alcock, Warren, Gafaiti, Dickinson; Gray, James, Worthington; Browne (Abrahams 72′), Fisher (Duffus 79′), Dobre (Arquin 75′).
Bookings: James 21′ (red card), Worthington 52′, Gafaiti 55′
Subs not used: Baxter, Mugabi, Rogers, Seager.