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Match Reports

REPORT: CHELTENHAM TOWN 2-0 YEOVIL TOWN

18 February 2017

Yeovil Town endured a tough afternoon in Gloucestershire, losing 2-0 to Cheltenham Town at the LCI Rail Stadium in Sky Bet League Two.

In a stale opening 45 minutes, the game only came to life at the death when Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro saw an effort come off the post. 

Despite ending the half strongly, the visitors fell behind on 48 minutes when Tin Plavotic headed home from a free-kick to give the Robins a dream start to the second half.

Having taken the lead, the pressure continued and Billy Waters doubled Cheltenham’s lead from the penalty spot on 63 minutes after Matt Butcher was penalised. 

Town couldn’t find a way back into the match and ended a run of three draws with a disappointing defeat. 

Darren Way made two changes to the side that earned a third successive 1-1 draw in midweek at home to Cambridge United. 

Unavailable on Tuesday, Town welcomed back captain Darren Ward (rested) in the heart of defence at the expense of Bevis Mugabi – who dropped out with a knee injury.

In the front three, Akpa Akpro returned to the starting line-up in place of Ben Whitfield who moved to the bench, with Kabongo Tshimanga and Owain Jones missing out as the fifth and sixth loans. 

On a pitch decorated primarily by mud and sand, the chances of free-flowing football from either side were slim – even before a ball had been kicked. 

The direct pattern of play was confirmed almost as soon as referee Darren England started proceedings, with both sides opting to cut-out the almost unplayable middle section of the pitch in search of territory. 

That tactic almost paid off as early as the third minute when Francois Zoko latched on to a lofted through ball to round home ‘keeper Scott Brown, but the linesman’s flag halted any early celebrations in the away end. 

That chance sparked an immediate response from the Robins as Waters fired an acrobatic volley over the bar from just inside the box. 

With six players over six foot, Gary Johnson’s side were keen to utilise their height advantage via long balls and long throws, but Town’s defence held firm in Gloucestershire. 

That was despite a reshuffle when Ryan Dickson had to be replaced by Alex Lacey after just 32 minutes, forcing Matt Butcher across to left-back. 

In a game somewhat tarnished by the playing conditions, it wasn’t until added time at the end of the first half that the game threatened to come to life as the Glovers went close twice in quick succession. 

First, Tom Eaves saw his cross bobble along the six-yard box without anyone able to apply the final touch, before Akpa Akpro saw a stabbed effort from a scramble in the box come off the outside of the post. 

Way would’ve been keen for his side to maintain the momentum, but Town fell behind just three minutes after the restart. 

Having conceded a wide free-kick, James Rowe’s delivery was headed home by the giant defender Tin Plavotic to condemn Yeovil to a nightmare start to the second 45. 

It almost got worse on 54 minutes when another direct ball into the box caused havoc, ending with Waters blazing over from six yards. 

Cheltenham were buoyed by taking the lead though and continued to bombard the Yeovil box in search of a second, and their persistence paid off just past the hour-mark. 

After bobbling around the box Matt Butcher swung a leg to clear the ball but was penalised for a high foot as Kyle Wootton went in for a header, resulting in a spot kick. 

Robins top scorer Waters stepped up and sent Krysiak the wrong way to make it an increasingly difficult afternoon for the Glovers. 

Facing an uphill battle, Whitfield and Omar Sowunmi replaced Alex Lawless and Eaves as the Green and Whites searched for a way back into the game. 

Despite the alterations, the visitors couldn’t get a foothold in the match, failing to threaten the home goal as Cheltenham’s back five stood firm. 

After five minutes of additional time a miserable afternoon for Town was brought to an end, as the Glovers failed to battle with their relegation-threatened opponents.

Cheltenham Town: Brown; Barthram, Onariase, Boyle, Plavotic, O’Shaugnessy; Pell, Rowe, Winchester (Storer 45’); Wootton, Waters.
Bookings: Pell 56’, Waters 59’, Brown 89’.
Subs not used: Kitscha, Munns, Hall, Dayton, Holman, De Girolamo. 

Yeovil Town: Krysiak; Shephard, Ward, Butcher, Dickson (Lacey 32’); Dawson, Lawless (Whitfield 64’), Dolan; Akpa Akpro, Eaves (Sowunmi 72’), Zoko.
Bookings: Eaves 41’, Ward 57’, Butcher 74’, Zoko 88’.
Subs not used: Maddison, James, Harrison, Goodship.

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