There was no happy ending for Cheltenham on Valentines night as they slipped to a 1-0 defeat at home against Torquay United.
Ian Morris' first half strike was the only goal of the game and the only real bit of action in the first half although Marlon Pack did sting the palms of Olejnik ahead of the break. Cheltenham were the better team in the second period but they couldn't find a way through the Gulls defence and largely the impress Olejnik in goal.
Heartbreak on a bitter Valentines night for the Robins who clearly deserved at least a point from this fixture but chances weren't taken and Cheltenham were left to lick their wounds ahead of Dagenham at the weekend.
Mark Yates made just the one change to his side ahead of tonight's clash with Torquay United. Russ Penn replaced Jermaine McGlashan in midfield while Steve Elliott missed out with his calf injury.
A massive fixture between two very good teams meant an extra special Valentines night for the Torquay and Cheltenham supporters this evening. An exciting match was promised and it started at a great pace straight away with both the Gulls and Robins having decent chances within the first five minutes. After that point things slowed down into a much calmer pace but the positive being that Cheltenham were controlling the midfield in their usual style.
There was an early unfortunate substitution on 21 minutes for Torquay with an injured Damon Lathrope being replaced by former Kidderminster forward Chris McPhee. The Robins seemed to be pushing forward a lot more than their opponents but it was Torquay's Eunan O'Kane who had the first effort on target stinging the palms of Brown with a rasping near post strike. A tricky run from Danny Stevens and a decent long range effort from Lee Mansell also threatened to Cheltenham backline but the Robins fended both off to keep the scores level.
A long range but wide effort by Luke Garbutt signalled a stronger intent from Cheltenham to get a major foothold in this game but Torquay hit right back with the opening goal and it came from a corner. The ball was knocked long and it was Brian Saah who rose highest to head the ball down only to see Ian Morris poke it in from close range for 1-0. Massive blow to Cheltenham with the in-form Gulls taking charge of the fixture.
Cheltenham immediately pushed on with Kaid Mohamed leading the attack but his effort was gathered up by Olejnik in the Torquay goal. Torquay could have made it 2-0 on 44 minutes if Morris was able to take advantage of some sloppy defending and fire in at that far post but his shot was poor with Brown pouncing on the loose ball. The half ended with the Robins behind although Marlon Pack's thumping freekick certainly tested Olejnik's nerve ahead of the break.
Half Time: Robins 0-1 Torquay
Cheltenham Town needed a response in this half and they almost got it straight away when Kaid Mohamed went on a superb run only to see his final effort smothered by Olejnik. Torquay's first effort in this half came from the Gloucester-born Lee Mansell but Scott Brown was able to save comfortably and continue what had already been a more open second half for both sides. A decent effort from Russ Penn prompted a roar from the crowd but his decent effort was inches wide of the post.
Winger Jermaine McGlashan was introduced in place of Darryl Duffy on 59 minutes and Danny Stevens was booked moments later for hacking Jimmy Spencer down on the wing. The young forward had been a handful all night but he was given a warning by the referee after being a little heavy handed with Brian Saah - that aggression perhaps needed elsewhere in his game. Torquay continued to push with their own game and O'Kane pulled a decent shot across goal following good work by Danny Stevens but Cheltenham remained in the game and in search of a much needed equaliser.
Cheltenham kept knocking on that big Torquay defensive door but it seemed Olejnik was in no mood to concede this evening producing a fine stop from Russ Penn's low effort on goal and maintaining Torquay's thin lead. Spencer was booked by the 'consistent' referee for shirt pulling leaving Cheltenham frustrated with the amount of times they were being penalised in this game. Soon after he was brought off for Jeff Goulding following a frustrating night. The substitute almost made an immediate impact with a flick header but again Olejnik was on hand to tip it over the bar.
Substitute Chris McPhee was withdrawn with a major nosebleed and he was replaced by the big unit Rene Howe on 83 minutes. Jeff Goulding was fouled 20 yards from goal six minutes from time but Garbutt's effort and Marlon Pack's rebound were both blocked out by the wall. Brian Smikle was introduced with three minutes of the 90 to go and Cheltenham now deserving of at least a draw but left frustrated with no way through.
Cheltenham almost grabbed a late, late equaliser after Brian Saah produced a fine defensive header to deny the lurking Jeff Goulding at the back post but that was that and Cheltenham had been defeated for the fourth time at home in league this season.
Full Time: Robins 0-1 Torquay
Cheltenham Town FC (4-5-1): Brown (GK); Jombati, Bennett (C). Lowe, Garbutt; Spencer (Goulding 74), Summerfield, Penn (Smikle 87), Pack, Mohamed; Duffy (McGlashan 59)
Subs not used: Hooman, Low
Torquay United FC (4-5-1): Olejnik (GK); Oastler, Ellis, Saah, Nicholson; Morris, Lathrope (McPhee 21 (Howe 83)), Mansell, O'Kane, Stevens (Rowe-Turner 75); Atieno
Subs not used: Rice (GK), MacDonald
Referee: Mr. Robert L
Attendance: 3,010 (461 from Torquay)
Robins Star Man:Sido Jombati - He was a class act on the ball for a lot of the night and defended really well.
James Brown from the Abbey Business Stadium