A poor performance by the Robins led to a 2-0 defeat here at Home Park this afternoon.
Cheltenham started well but Plymouth were having the lion's share of the opportunities in front of goal and they capitalised on 40 minutes through Reuben Reid. A Michael Hector own goal further poured misery upon the Robins and Cheltenham rarely offered any threat in front of the Plymouth goal throughout the second half.
The Pilgrims deservedly won the game but, for Cheltenham, they must now look to win their three remaining matches to stand a chance of winning automatic promotion.
Robins chief Mark Yates kept his faith with the side that defeated Northampton Town 1-0 on Easter Monday by naming an unchanged starting eleven for this weekend's trip to Plymouth Argyle's Home Park. Both Cheltenham and the Pilgrims have had differing campaigns in npower League Two but both had the same goal of three points on what was a glorious day by the coast. Argyle needed to win to fend off relegation and Cheltenham were desperate to maintain their push for automatic promotion.
It was a luxury to watch a game of football bathed in sunshine and a good noise from the Home Park crowd ensure the atmosphere was a good one at kick off. Cheltenham started well in the opening minutes of this game with a few searching passes and the first shot on goal came courtesy of Byron Harrison following good build-up play between Benson and Carter but his shot was tame and easy enough save for Cole. It wasn't long before standby Plymouth captain Curtis Nelson recorded his team's first effort on goal although it was well wide of the near post. Cheltenham could have found themselves a goal down early on when Gurrieri burst down the right wing and found Reid in a central position with a low cross but the former Yeovil frontman was half asleep and he miscued his effort far wide of goal. It was a bright spell for Plymouth who were buildinn upon free space they were enjoying in front of Cheltenham's area but long range efforts from both Young and Banton were over and away from Brown's goal.
Cheltenham were certainly trying to play some good football in front of the Plymouth goal but the hosts were holding firm and getting bodies in front of the strikers to deny any immediate way through on goal. A real worry for Cheltenham arose when Paul Benson went down injured with no one around him and the stretcher was called. Shaun Harrad was called upon to replace the Swindon loanee who received a good round of applause from all supporters. Minutes later and Plymouth almost added to the negative of Benson's injury when Reid was played through on goal but the frontman once again fluffed his opportunity by putting it wide of the near post. The chances kept coming and Plymouth really would have been ahead had Steve Elliott not made an important block from Gurrieri's effort following Bhasera drilled low cross in front of goal. The Pilgrims weren't taking their chances and another miss from Banton despite a large amount of room on 20 yards began to frustrate the home support.
It was coming and on 40 minutes Plymouth took the lead through Reuben Reid. Bryan's original strike at goal cracked the post and Cheltenham couldn't clear their lines before Reid picked up on the loose ball and stuck it into the bottom corner for 1-0. Suddenly the home support sprang to life with their side ahead and deservedly so but it was a dagger to the heart of Cheltenham with a goal right before half time. Jermaine McGlashan did have a good strike well saved by Jake Cole in the Plymouth goal but on half time Cheltenham trailed and needed to show much improvement in the second period.
Half Time: Plymouth Argyle 1-0 Cheltenham Town
There no changes at half time but it wasn't too long before Plymouth had doubled their lead through a Michael Hector own goal. Onismor Bhasera burst down the left wing and drilled in a cross which struck Hector and unfortunately bypassed Brown between the sticks for 2-0. It was a cruel blow for Cheltenham but the Robins were providing no real control in the game and Plymouth were blossoming. Kaid Mohamed was brought on to replace Sam Deering in an effort to change the game but minutes later they could have conceded a third when Keith Lowe lost possession and almost let Plymouth through. Cheltenham were struggling to find any foothold at all in this match and again they almost conceded but Brown was on hand to make a good save at the feet of Reid. The Robins were given an opportunity to get themselves back in the game when Harrad found himself in possession inside the Cheltenham area. Harrad pushed the ball out to the unmarked Mohamed but his effort was pushed away by Cole.
The introduction of Russ Penn was perhaps what Cheltenham needed in the middle of the park but frustration was building and that was clear when Kaid Mohamed pushed Bryan over on the sideline and got himself booked. Cheltenham just didn't seem to have any of their spark in this game and, although they had a brighter spell midway through the half, they were barely threatening Plymouth's goalmouth. Anthony Charles, who had a period on trial with Cheltenham, replaced Paul Wotton after the defender pulled up with an injury and the defender was in the thick of an action when a scramble in the area left Cole down hurting with Marlon Pack unable to get his rebounded strike in on goal. Keith Lowe had an effort fly over the bar minutes later as Cheltenham attempted to step up the tempo but still Plymouth stood firm and they almost grabbed another goal through Reuben Reid but the forward was unfortunate to see his effort bounce off the post and away from danger.
It wasn't good enough from Cheltenham and really out of character. Scott Brown made a good stop when Gurrieri flew through on goal and Jombati was quick to sweep the ball away from danger to save any further blushes. A late effort from Kaid Mohamed was gobbled up by Jake Cole but Cheltenham could not carve out anything to give themselves the chance to find a way back into this game and the final whistle finally blew to call time on a disappointing afternoon for the Robins.
Full Time: Plymouth Argyle 2-0 Cheltenham Town
Plymouth Argyle FC (4-4-2): Cole (GK); Blanchard, Branston, Wotton (Charles , Bhasera; Bryan, Nelson, Young, Banton (Murray ; Gurrieri, Reid (Cowan-Hall
Subs not used: Gilmartin (GK), Berry, Harvey, Chadwick
Cheltenham Town FC (4-4-2): Brown (GK); Lowe, Hector, Elliott (C), Jombati; McGlashan, Carter (Penn , Pack, Deering (Mohamed ; Benson (Harrad 25), Harrison
Subs not used: Roberts (GK), Jones, Taylor, Duffy
Referee: Mr. Carl Berry
Attendance: 7,941 (316 from Cheltenham)