All Mark Yates wanted for Christmas was a reaction and three points; he got both and in style.
Goals from Jake Taylor and Jeff Goulding in the first half laid the foundations for Darryl Duffy and Jermaine McGlashan to finish the job in the the second period. There were no more goals under the Christmas Tree for Cheltenham but Mark Yates and his Robins would certainly savour this win. Three points and a very Merry Christmas.
It was important that Cheltenham kept the door firmly shut in the first half and they gave themselves all the confidence they needed with a fabulous 29th minute strike from Jake Taylor. That goal led to a real Robins wave of pressure and Jeff Goulding's header had doubled the score minutes later. Cheltenham weren't about to settle with the scoreline at just 2-0 and it was Darryl Duffy who added a third following great play from both Jeff Goulding and Jake Taylor allowing the Scot to head in his third of the season. A fourth was added on 70 minutes when Carter's cross across goal found Jermaine McGlashan but the Robins continued to press.
Robins chief Mark Yates opted to make three changes this afternoon following a terrible result versus Rochdale on Friday with Marlon Pack, Chris Zebroski and Shaun Harrad all dropping to the bench in place of Jermaine McGlashan, Jeff Goulding and Darryl Duffy. They were facing a incredibly young Wycombe side due to a number of injuries and suspensions to keys players. The Chairboys would prove to be something of an unknown enemy although the appearance of player/manager Gareth Ainsworth on the team sheet was a threat well known to the Robins and Mark Yates.
The rain was pouring and the wind was blowing but it was a good effort from the groundsman to ensure the pitch was in good shape on kick off for this festive fixture. Wycombe, with a chorus of noise behind them, had the first effort on goal although it was wide of the mark from the forehead of Charles Dunne. Wycombe did have the ball in the back of the net after 4 minutes much to the joy of the travelling support but alas the linesman's offside flag was as welcome as Scrooge at Christmas dinner. A Jeff Goulding flick header was the first effort on goal for Cheltenham in this game but it was easy catch for Archer in Wycombe's goal. Jake Taylor had a great opportunity to take the lead on 10 minutes when two superb tackles by Russ Penn released the midfielder but his effort was scrappily saved by Archer. Cheltenham were easing into their football and nicely but they had still yet to carve out any meaningful opportunities although Jake Taylor had another shot from outside the box well saved. The on loan Reading midfielder was a busy boy in the earlier periods and even saw an effort crash off the crossbar although he was flagged for offside from Carter's dream pass.
Wycombe, despite having their selection issues, were still putting in a strong shift against the Robins and a series of corners put pressure on the Cheltenham backline. Bruno Andrade had a decent effort fly over the bar ahead of the half hour mark. However it would prove to be Cheltenham who took one of their chances and it was that man Jake Taylor who had provided the earlier efforts. Elliott's cross found the overhead kick of Charles Dunne to which Jombati collected and found Taylor. The young Reading midfielder took one touch before lashing in a thunderous strike which found the top corner and drew blood for the first time in this match. The noise erupted from the home crowd but Cheltenham, who now found an ew lease of life, were in no mood to stop there. Another attack on Wycombe's backline came from the cross of Sido Jombati and Jeff Goulding, who had really been putting himself about, stooped low to head the ball into the bottom corner for 2-0. Two goals in quick succession and Cheltenham now looked a totally different animal from last Friday. It could have even been better five minutes later had Darryl Duffy's cheeky chip from 20 yards been any lower but the top of the crossbar ensured Wycombe didn't concede again.
Cheltenham were controlling proceedings and finishing this half strongly but Duffy came close to a third when he found himself through on goal but he was unable to beat Archer with an angled finish. Wycombe did have an opportunity to grab a goal back in first half injury time with a freekick quite literally on the corner of the area but Lewis' set piece was poor and Jombati was able to clear it for a corner which was also well defended. It was Cheltenham ahead at the break and looking good.
Half Time: Cheltenham Town 2-0 Wycombe Wanderers
A Wycombe double substitution welcomes this half in with Charles Dunne and Josh Scowen being replaced by Anthony Stewart and Emmanuel Ehui respectively. Wycombe started well and their manager Gareth Ainsworth even got a shot in on goal early on although Scott Brown was equal to it at his near post. Cheltenham responded and Jermaine McGlashan forced young goalkeeper Archer into a low save with a strong low shot. Cheltenham did settle back into their football however and it wasn't long before goal number three was on the scoreboard. A wonderful through ball from Jeff Goudling found Jake Taylor on the left wing and his deep cross found the unmarked Daryl Duffy who placed a good header beyond Archer for 3-0. The Robins were rampant and Jake Taylor could have had a second on 56 minutes when his 20 yard shot had to be pushed wide by Archer.
The young goalkeeper was certainly putting a shift in this afternoon and he made a wonderful save from Darren Carter's powerful volley direct from the corner. The truth was that Wycombe's goalkeeper was keeping his side in a game where they could had been sunk early on. Sido Jombati was withdrawn on 62 minutes and replaced by Keith Lowe. The Portuguese defender headed straight down the tunnel supposedly for treatment. Cheltenham were really doing their best to punish Wycombe and the fourth goal soon came when Darren Carter found himself in possession behind enemy lines and he drove the ball in towards goal allowing Jermaine McGlashan to bundle it in for 4-0.
Russ Penn was withdrawn on 70 minutes to a massive ovation from the home crowd crediting his performance. He was replaced by Lawson D'Ath who come close to an outstanding goal but had to settle seeing his long range drive fly over the bar. It wasn't long before Kaid Mohamed made his return to the fold in place of Jermaine McGlashan.
Some of the play from Cheltenham now was sublime and Wycombe were doing their best to just keep them from scoring any more. Darren Carter came close again with a 20 yard effort which flew wide of goal but the Robins continued to press looking for more goals. Wycombe did have a sniff on goal after 86 minutes but Junior Morias could only send his diving header wide of goal. Lawson D'Ath was proving to be a real menace for Wycombe and he was inches away from making it 5-0 when he cut away from the Wycombe defence and glided a shot just wide of the far post but it was later indicated to have taken a deflection.
Morias sent a good effort wide of goal on 89 minutes but Cheltenham continued to deny and control. The minutes ticked by towards full time and the whistle finally blew on a fine Boxing Day victory for Mark Yates' Cheltenham and the perfect reaction from defeat last week.
Full Time: Cheltenham Town 4-0 Wycombe Wanderers
Cheltenham Town FC (4-4-2): Brown (GK); Jombati (Lowe 62), Bennett (C), Elliott, Jones; McGlashan (Mohamed 77), Penn (D'Ath 70), Carter, Taylor; Goulding, Duffy
Subs not used: Roberts (GK) Pack, Zebroski, Harrad
Wycombe Wanderers FC (4-4-2): Archer (GK); McCoy, Hause, Dunne (Stewart 46), Wood; Ainsworth, Lewis (C), Scowen (Ehui 46), Andrade; Oli (Morias 65), Kuffour
Subs not used: Harrison (GK), Angol, Kretzschmar, Ighorae
Referee: Steven Rushton
Attendance: 3,501 (506 from Wycombe)
Robins Star Man: Jake Taylor - Superb display from the on loan midfielder with an assist and his first goal for the Robins.