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16:45 1st April 2013
By  Russell Maggs

Full Time: Robins 1, Cobblers 0

A Steve Elliott goal on the brink of half-time earned an important three points for the Robins as they reinstated their hopes of automatic promotion.

It was a tale of two halves at the Abbey Business Stadium, the home side dominated for long periods of the first half but came under plenty of pressure from the visitors in the second as they looked for a vital equaliser. However, the Robins stood strong in defence and earned a hard fought victory over fellow promotion rivals Northampton Town.

The only goal of the afternoon came from captain Steve Elliott. His header from point-blank range was well saved by Lee Nicholls but he was helpless to stop the rebound as Elliott powered home the follow up.

Chris Hackett was influential for the Cobblers in the second half but the visitors were unable to capitalise on their numerous chances on goal.

The win moves Cheltenham into fourth place in npower League Two and level on points with today's visitors, third placed Northampton Town.

Mark Yates made four changes to the side that lost 3-2 away from home on Good Friday at the hands of promotion rivals Port Vale. Keith Lowe took up his position at right back replacing Billy Jones. That switch forced Sido Jombati to the left side of defence.

The Robins manager opted for a 4-4-2 formation against today's visitors Northampton Town, bringing Carter and Deering into the midfield in place of Taylor and Penn whilst Harrison was prefered up front to wide man Kaid Mohammed.

All four players retained their place on the Robins bench.

The home side were looking to re-ignite their hopes of automatic promotion. A win against fellow promotion contenders Northampton Town would move them level on points with today's visitors.

They made one change to the team that won 1-0 against against Port Vale on Friday afternoon. Adebayo Akinfenwa replaced Clive Platt who was substituted as a precaution during the win that moved this afternoon's guests into the top three of npower League Two.

Both sides started the game with plenty of promise. Northampton forced an early corner and Cobblers striker Roy O'Donovan saw his shot fly over the bar. At the other end, Harrison hesitated as he tried to latch onto a quick free kick courtesy of Darren Carter and Marlon Pack forced a comfortable save from visiting keeper Lee Nicholls.

The home side had plenty of possession but failed to capitalise on their early dominance as the best of the early chances fell to Marlon Pack, he latched onto Byron Harrison's lay-off on the edge of the Cobblers box but failed to get the ball under control and fire a shot goal bound.

Ben Tozer found himself in space between the Robins defence and midfield and was afforded time and space to run at the Cheltenham back four, he was able to find Ishmel Demontagnac on the left wing whose cross was headed wide by the imposing figure of Adebayo Akinfenwa.

Immediately after, Sido Jombatti skipped inside his marker and found Carter in space in the middle of the field, he fired a shot left footed from the edge of the 18-yard box but his first time effort failed to test Lee Nicholls between the sticks for the Cobblers.

But Northampton were still looking dangerous in the air. Michael Hector made two strong blocks in the Cheltenham box to save Scott Brown's blushes as he struggled to punch clear a Cobblers cross.

The Robins were combining well in attack, Byron Harrison pulled off a neat roulette in a crowded penalty area and created enough space to find Sam Deering. He played a lofted through ball towards Benson and the six-yard box but the striker was unable to latch onto the midfielders clever pass.

Winger Jermaine McGlashan failed to make the most of a poor Cobblers clearance when his volley floated over Lee Nicholls' crossbar.

Further half chances followed as Michael Hector pounced onto a loose ball in the midfield and his shot trickled wide before Jombati headed straight at Nicholls from a Deering cross.

The Robins pressure payed off when they took the lead on the brink of half time.

Keith Lowe's perfectly placed cross found the head of Cheltenham Captain Steve Elliott. His header forced an excellent reflex save from Nicholls at point blank range but he was helpless to stop the rebound as the Robins center black stayed on his feet to smash in the follow up.

Half Time: Cheltenham Town 1 - 0 Northampton Town

The second half started slowly but Steve Elliott almost doubled the home sides lead when his header looped over the Cobblers crossbar from a Darren Carter free kick.

After that, the visitor's were to have the best of the game.

Ishmel Demontagnac had the visitors first effort on target in the second half, his powerful shot was spilt by Scott Brown but the Robins keeper was able to collect the loose ball ahead of an onrushing O'Donovan.

They had much of the ball in the second half. Akinfenwa should have done better when he latched onto Joe Widdowson's long ball but he could only scoop his shot over the bar.

Chris Hackett was heavily involved in the game as the Cobblers looked for an equaliser, his cross-come-shot failed to test the Robins keeper as it blazed over Scott Brown's cross bar.

He was involved again as his left footed curling effort forced a strong save from Scott Brown. He could only parry the Cobblers midfielder's effort behind for a corner. A scramble in the 18-yard box followed but Michael Hector stood strong to clear the Cobblers threat.

The visitors were looking more and more threatening in attack and O'Donovan was next to be involved. He sprinted around Elliott only to be denied by the on-ruushing Robins keeper.

However they were struggling to find any real conviction in front of goal, Chris Hackett's precision through ball took Sido Jombati out of the game but an onrunning O'Donovan could only place a weak shot directly at Brown from a narror angle.

Ishmel Demontagnac couldn't do any better moments later firing into the side netting from a similar position.

Four minutes of injury time were added by the fourth official but the home side held on to claim a win that takes Cheltenham level on points with promotion rivals Northampton Town and move them into fourth place in npower League Two.

Full Time: Cheltenham Town 1 - 0 Northampton Town

Cheltenham Town FC (4-4-2): Brown (GK); Lowe, Hector, Elliott, Jombati; McGlashan (Penn '90+1), Pack, Carter, Deering (Mohamed '74); Benson, Harrison (Taylor '83).

Subs not used: Roberts (GK), Jones, Penn, Harrad, Duffy

Northampton Town FC (4-4-2): Nicholls; Johnson, Carlisle, Collins, Widdowson (Guttridge '84); Hackett, Tozer, Harding, Demontagnac; O’Donovan, Akinfenwa

Subs not used: Snedker, Cameron, Platt, Robinson, Hornby, Dias

Referee: Mr. Lee Collins

Attendance: 4,042 (934 away fans)

Robins' Star Man:
Steve Elliott


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