Cheltenham Town worked hard to fend off a ten-man Morecambe side this evening to win three points with a 2-0 victory.
The Robins made a perfect start to proceedings this evening with a wonderful half volley after 90 seconds from Darren Carter leaving Roche with no chance. Morecambe saw two efforts cleared off the line during the first half by Elliott and Jombati respectively and Cheltenham were able to take their lead in at the break. A red card for Kevin Ellison following an off the ball incident with Steve Elliott put Morecambe at a further disadvantage and the Shrimps never found a way back. Cheltenham had their chances as did Morecambe but it was the Robins celebrating on 90 minutes with Darren Carter's second goal of the game burying the visitors inside injury time.
Three points and a perfect start to the weekend for Cheltenham Town.
Robins chief Mark Yates made just the one change to his side ahead of this evening's match with Russ Penn making way for Sam Deering in the attacking midfield role. It was a case of revenge for the Robins with Morecambe doing the double over them last season and, with the Shrimps on a bad run of form, there was no time like the present. A one minute applause filled the stadium before kick off following the passing of former chairman Dave Courtney who sadly lost his long battle with illness this week.
Cheltenham Town needed no more fuel this evening than the sad passing of a friend and the memory of two losses last season at the hands of Jim Bentley's Morecambe but few could imagine the start that the Robins would embark on here this evening. A corner was cleared early on before Jones could cross the ball back in towards the area for Darren Carter who found himself 20 yards from goal. The midfielder took the ball down with great composure and dispatched a sublime half volley past Roche to give Cheltenham the lead after just 90 seconds.
It was quite literally the perfect start for Cheltenham Town and they could have had another on 8 minutes when a long searching ball found the scithing run of Zebroski but the forward's shot was driven low into the arms of the grateful Barry Roche. A penalty claim by Morecambe after 11 minutes was waved away by the referee after it was adjudged that Elliott made a smart challenge and Brodie made a meal out of it and Cheltenham continued their pressure. A freekick diverted to Harrad by Deering almost created a second goal but the striker's quick turn and strike failed to test Roche and whistled wide of goal. Morecambe were struggling to create or cope in the early stages and it started to show when Fenton was booked for a desperate foul on McGlashan after the winger skipped past two of his team-mates. The freekick was driven in by Pack but Zebroski's header was wild and over far over the bar.
Morecambe weren't without their threats however and they could have found an unlikely equaliser through Richard Brodie. The forward got onto the end of a long through ball and was through on goal but he was shepharded wide by Brown and Elliott was on hand to clear the shot once it had come in. Lewis Alessandra could have handed his side a goal but his close range header at the back post was cleared off the line by Sido Jombati and Morecambe's attack was snuffed out. Cheltenham were defending well but they were causing Morecambe problems on the break and a quick throw from Brown and a clever through ball by Carter almost set Zebroski through on goal but Roche was quick off his line and produced a very good challenge to cancel out the danger. Morecambe's key man Kevin Ellison continued to hassle and harry Cheltenham's backline and the big winger was inches away from a goal after plucking a neat header from out of the air only to see it clip the top of the crossbar.
Cheltenham were eager to take this lead into half time but a curling effort from Shaun Harrad almost doubled it had it not been for Roche's quick reactions and the Robins had to settle for 1-0 at the break.
Half Time: Cheltenham Town 1-0 Morecambe
A double substitution at half time for the Robins opened this half of football. Russ Penn and Kaid Mohamed replaced Sam Deering and Shaun Harrad respectively with Mark Yates looking to beef up his side against a Morecambe side flexing their muscles. It wasn't as good a start as the first half but Sido Jombati did come close to scoring with a header from the corner on 51 minutes but the effort was wide of goal and Cheltenham continued the hunt. Things got interesting on 57 minutes when the referee, once the ball had gone out of play, was called over to his assistant who alerted him to an off the ball incident. Kevin Ellison had been caught in an altercation and was shown a straight red card.
That sending off was a bitter blow for Morecambe and Zebroski could have made things a little worse for the visitors had his 64th minute strike beaten Roche but the Shrimps keeper was on form and saved well. Zebroski had another opportunity to double the lead when Carter sprayed the ball to him on a big counter attack. Mohamed was overlapping the striker and was undoubtedly the better option but Zebs chose to take the ball on himself and was hounded out by the defence and Barry Roche. Cheltenham were racking up the chances on goal incuding an 18 yard strike from Carter but none of them were beating Roche and the 1-0 lead, although with a one man advantage, was still fragile.
Darryl Duffy was introduced on 76 minutes in place of the hard working Zebroski and it wasn't long before morecambe made their first change of the game with Lewis Alessandra being replaced by Jack Redshaw. Morecambe were still knocking on the door despite their disadvantage and Nick Fenton's 25 yard strike almost caught the hosts unaware but Brown was alert to make a good save and maintain the lead. Kaid Mohamed made sure Roche was getting cold down the other end of the field with a thumping strike on 88 minutes but once again Morecambe's man of the match was alert and made a solid save. The Robins finally confirmed all three points however on 91 minutes when Mohamed broke on the counter attack and found Carter charging down the wing with a neat pass. Darren Carter wasn;t going to miss and he dispatched it past Roache for 2-0, the win and all three points.
Full Time: Cheltenham Town 2-0 Morecambe
Cheltenham Town FC (4-2-3-1): Brown (GK); Jombati, Bennett (C), Elliott, Jones; Pack, Carter; McGlashan, Deering (Penn 46), Zebroski (Duffy 76); Harrad (Mohamed 46)
Subs not used: Roberts (GK), Lowe, Hooman, Goulding
Morecambe (4-4-2): Roche (GK); Parrish, McReady, Fenton (C), Threlfall; Wright, McDonald; Alessandra (Redsharw 82), Fleming, Ellison; Brodie
Subs not used: Arestidou (GK), Haining, Reid, Burrow, Drummond, McGee
Referee: Mr. Michael Naylor
Attendance: 2,563 (66 from Morecambe)
Robins Star Man: Darren Carter - Scored two goals and was very composed in the midfield when he needed to be. Good performance.