Cheltenham Town grabbed a deserved three points over a stubborn Burton Albion side here this afternoon with a 1-0 win.
Cheltenham Town were largely dominant in the first half with Bennett hitting the bar and goal line clearances denying both Zebroski and Jombati. It ended in a stalemate however with the Robins on top. As much as Cheltenham huffed and puffed, they could not find a way through Burton's defence but a mistake by the Burton goalkeeper gave Chris Zebroski a golden chance and the forward powered a shot into the back of the net to win the game.
Mark Yates opted to make no changes to his starting eleven here this afternoon after what was a solid point away at league leaders Gillingham. Burton Albion had moved up to 5th in midweek but were keen to reel in the Robins as they continued to mount an assault on the top positions.
Before the game kicked off this afternoon there was a one minute silence to remember those that have fallen and that was impeccably witnessed by today's attendance. By contrast it was a lively start and Kaid Mohamed could have even given Cheltenham the lead in the opening minutes had he connected with Billy Jones' freekick with more venom. The Robins had started well and another Billy Jones freekick almost provided that opener when Alan Bennett
's header was thumped against the bar. All in all it was a promising start for the Robins. Burton were relieved not to have conceded within the first few minutes of the game and they were able to settle into their own rhythm after ten minutes but their first shot hardly troubled Brown with Zola's strike flying well over the bar. Despite that it was Cheltenham that came closest once again on 16 minutes but this time Sido Jombati's header was cleared off the line by a host of Burton bodies. It was the set pieces of Billy Jones that were causing all the problems for Burton in this half and Steve Elliott's was the latest man to plant his head behind one but it was over again and Cheltenham continued to search for a goal which their play was promising.
Mark Yates would have been keen to see any early chances hit the back of the net in what was a tough game this afternoon but it was Burton who almost broke against the run of play after Jack Dyer's thunderous drive from 20 yards whistled inches over the bar. After 38 minutes you would have been forgiven for asking how Cheltenham weren't ahead in this game. Another Billy Jones corner found the forehead of Marlon Pack and Zebroski's header down towards goal was cleared off the line once again to keep Burton level. The visitors had a penalty shout on 43 minutes when Zola lashed a shot in from 8 yards but Elliott's arm appeared to make a block although it could have been a harsh decision on the Robins defence.
Cheltenham Town 0-0 Burton Albion
The Robins certainly made their intentions clear at the start of this half by immediately going on the attack leading to a long range Mohamed strike although it was comfortable for Oxley in the Burton goal. If ever Burton were to be gifted the lead it should have been courtesy of a poor backpass from Kaid Mohamed who accidentally allowed Zola through on goal but the big forward's effort was pretty tame and Brown was thankfully able to pick it up comfortably. Cheltenham needed to make their chances count and Russ Penn came close when he weaved into the area and fired a shot in but one big hand from Mark Oxley halted the effort much to the frustration of Cheltenham.
Cheltenham were certainly applying the pressure but they could not find any way through and Jeff Goulding was introduced 20 minutes from time in an effort to make some kind of breakthrough. A deflected shot from Palmer almost gifted Burton an unlikely lead but Brown was able to palm it over the bar. Holness became the first player to be booked this afternoon with a sloppy challenge on Zebroski and it was from that freekick that Cheltenham came close again. The set piece was hit long to find McGlashan stalking the back post and his drive almost found the incoming Zebroski but Lee Bell was able to head it from danger just in time.
Burton Albion were certainly pushing their luck in this game and Mark Yates opted to bring on their former goalscorer Shaun Harrad in an attempt to turn the tide. The former Burton midfielder certainly put himself about but it was Chris Zebroski that finally broke that door down. Billy Jones' corner fell to Alan Bennett
six yards out and his shot was blocked on the line but Mark Oxley, the Burton goalkeeper dropped the ball right in front of Zebroski who made no mistake in smashing the ball into the back of the net for 1-0. It was no mora than Cheltenham deserved and the task would be to now kill the game off for all three points.
Burton weren't going to go down without a fight and they almost grabbed an equaliser when Taylor's cross was headed inches over by Billy Kee. They were at it again moments later when a corner found Zola in the box but his header was pushed away by Scott Brown - big save.
There a few tense moments towards the end but Steve Elliott and the Cheltenham defence were an absolute rock in Burton's way. The referee's full time whistle blew and signalled a deserved three points for the Robins which inched them closer to league leaders Gillingham.
Cheltenham Town 1-0 Burton Albion
Cheltenham Town FC (4-2-3-1):
Brown (GK); Jombati, Bennett (C), Elliott, Jones; Carter, Pack; McGlashan (Lowe 90+2), Penn (Harrad 78), Mohamed (Goulding 69); Zebroski
Subs not used:
Roberts (GK), Andrew, Deering, Duffy
Burton Albion FC (4-5-1):
Oxley (GK); O'Connor, Diamond (C), Holness, Stanton; Dyer (Taylor 87), Weir, Bell, Paterson (Kee 68), Palmer; Zola
Subs not used:
Lyness (GK), Corbett, McGrath, M. Palmer, Richards
Mr. Graham Scott
2,804 (236 from Burton)
Robins Star Man:
Steve Elliott - Outstanding performance and was a man mountain at the back when he needed to be.