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17:30 15th December 2012
By  James Crawley

Full Time: Robins 1-1 Valiants

Cheltenham will be wondering how they didn't manage to win this top of the table clash, after dominating with a host of chances but the Valiants held on to protect their second spot place.

After a goalless first half of which Cheltenham were on top, the Robins finally took the lead in the 62nd minute through Darren Carter but Port Vale battled back through Louis Dodds soon after. The Robins continued to dominate but failed to find a winner despite Duffy's late effort which was cleared off the line.

Fresh from their FA Cup win over Hereford at Edgar Street on Tuesday, Mark Yates made just one change to his side this afternoon with Marlon Pack back in the side in replace of Jermain McGlashan. Russ Penn started in midfield after passing a late fitness test following a heavy collision in Tuesday's game.

Both teams started with promise, with former Robins winger Ashley Vincent causing problems for the home side down Port Vale's right hand side. Cheltenham had a number of chances but were unable to find the back of the net while the Valiants proved why they are a well known fast, attacking side but likewise weren't able to find a break-through in the opening 45 minutes.

Darren Carter could have put the hosts ahead but he miscued his shot, and Marlon Pack, receiving the ball on edge of the box, fired over the bar. At the other end, Louis Dodds connected to the end of Rob Taylor's cross from the right, but his header went wide.

The closest the Robins came to scoring in the first half fell to captain Alan Bennett. After Jones' inital corner was cleared, he whipped in a second cross but the defender's header hit the side netting.

Carter was looking lively and had two opportunites himself with Cheltenham dominating chances. After jinking past the defender, his 20-yard shot was comfortably saved by Neal in the Port Vale goal and, just after half an hour of play, saw a header again easily saved.

As the first half entered the close Chris Zebroski came close after Jake Taylor's initial scuff, but the forward couldn't connect to to it, while Morsy hit an effort wide of Brown's left hand post as the sides went in goalless.

Half Time: Cheltenham Town 0-0 Port Vale

Cheltenham came out all guns blazing and continued dominating the play with a host of chances straight from kick off. Billy Jones saw a shot at goal blocked by a defender but rifled his second attempt off the cross bar, with the goalkeeper helpless. Minutes later Pack saw his header remarkably saved off the line by a super save by Neal and Elliott then saw a left footed shot go straight into the keeper's arms before Russ Penn fired wide with a low effort.

Cheltenham were enjoying themselves and Penn, again down the right, beat his man and crossed in towards Taylor, but whose header was again well saved by Neal in the Port Vale goal, before Carter hit a shot over the bar from the edge of the box.

It seemed as though it would be one of those days with Cheltenham continuing to press but they broke the deadlock with Darren Carter grabbing his fifth goal of the season. A Tom Pope header was held by Scott Brown and Cheltenham launched a counter attack. Zebroski worked the ball down the right, and crossed into the box looking for Shaun Harrad and though his cross was blocked by a defender, Carter was on hand to slot in the rebound, placing the ball low into the far corner. Cheltenham were in front and deservedly so but the visitors didn't give up.

The Valiants' Tom Pope saw another header well saved by Brown in the Cheltenham goal but when the Robins failed to clear, Louis Dodds reacted quickest and fired past Brown for the equaliser.

Soon after Marlon Pack tried the audacious with an attempted lob just inside Port Vale's half and the ball dipped just over but both teams now weren't settling for a draw.

Poor defending by Sido Jombati when he failed to clear the ball gave Ryan Burge the chance to score but his shot was beaten away by Scott Brown, and the impressive Sam Morsy then tried his luck with a long range free kick which went just wide of Brown's goal.

Cheltenham could and should have scored a second in the last minutes of the game when substitute Darryl Duffy had the goal at his mercy and the crowd could only watch on in disbelief when he failed to make proper contact with the ball. The ball broke to Duffy with the players crowded in the box but unmarked, and with the goal gaping, he scuffed his shot and the ball was cleared off the line as it moved goalwards.

The Robins dominated and were unfortunate here not to have taken all the points and should have made more of the chances they created, but they played well and now prepare for Friday's trip to Rochdale.

Full Time: Cheltenham Town 1-1 Port Vale

Cheltenham Town FC (4-4-2): Brown (GK); Jombati, Elliott, Bennett (C), Jones; Penn (McGlashan 75), Pack, Carter, Taylor (Goulding 89); Zebroski, Harrad (Duffy 75)

Subs not used: Roberts (GK), Lowe, Deering, D'Ath

Port Vale FC (4-4-2): Neal (GK); Loft (C), Chilvers, McCombe, Duffy; Vincent (Williamson 82), Burge, Morsy, Taylor (Shuker 87); Pope, Dodds (Andrew 90+1)

Subs not used: Johnson (GK), Yates, James, McDonald

Referee: Mr. Mark Hayward

Attendance: 3670 (331 from Port Vale)

Robins Star Man: Russ Penn


    For the first 50 years of their existence, England played their home matches all around the country.