A solid rearguard performance and Jason Taylor's first goal handed Cheltenham Town a welcome three point and clean sheet this afternoon.
An even match finally saw it's deadlock broken after 71 minutes courtesy of Jason Taylor's first goal for the club but Accrington will feel hard done by this evening with a harsh freekick awarded on Murphy in the build-up. The Robins were the better side in the second half however and probably deserved all three points but Mark Yates will be delighted with a strong showing from his backline.
Cheltenham are off the mark with victory and now they turn focus towards East London and the Capital One Cup.
There were three changes ahead of today's Sky Bet League Two clash at the Crown Ground with Keith Lowe, Jason Taylor and Terry Gornell replacing Sido Jombati, Jermaine McGlashan and Byron Harrison respectively in what looked to be a diamond formation. Both Lowe and Taylor made their first starting appearances of the season while Gornell recovered from a groin injury to face his former club alongside Steven Gillespie.
Cheltenham needed a result here this afternoon and they started on the front foot with Matt Richards putting a shot wide of goal following some good play on the left wing from Deering but it didn't take long for the hosts to settle down with their vocal support fully behind them. A fool would of course write off Stanley ahead of this fixture with James Beattie's side also desperate for a first win of the season but the only real action of the first 15 minutes was two yellow cards for Accrington's Michael Atkinson and Cheltenham's Keith Lowe. It was an even game in truth for the opening stages and both teams looked keen to keep hold of possession as they searched for the points they required to kick start their season.
There was a lack of chances as the game ticked towards 25 minutes but Michael Liddle recorded Stanley's first effort on goal with a stretched effort that dribbled wide of Brown's far post. Accrington had a moment of hope when a Peter Murphy ball deep into the area forced Brown to come out for the catch but he was unable to grip the ball and the Robins defence quickly scooped the ball away from danger. Accrington were teasing again when a Laurence Wilson cross was driven across Brown's goal with the Cheltenham keeper choosing to leave it and thankfully no Stanley players were awaiting. Kai Naismith had a good effort on goal on 37 minutes which, in truth, was probably the best effort of the game up to this stage but it was thumped wide of goal as Cheltenham continued to look for an advantage.
Accrington had their opportunity to take the lead on 40 minutes when McCartan was brought down by Penn 20 yards from goal on the corner of the box but Mingoia's freekick was bravely headed clear by Gornell and Cheltenham cleared their lines. Shallow claims for a penalty from the Stanley support were waved away by the referee as the game neared it's mid-way point and the remainder of the half went by without action. Even at half time in a tame match.
Half Time: Accrington Stanley 0-0 Cheltenham Town
It was a more promising start from Cheltenham as Gillespie came close early on the this second half and Deering also had a good opportunity to break the deadlock after Gornell brought the ball down well from a long ball but his shot was dragged wide. Cheltenham were certainly the more positive side after 55 minutes and Jason Taylor's volley could have hit the target had it not been for a brave Accrington block which forced Dunbavin into the first real save of the match. Accrington had a good effort fly wide of goal but Cheltenham were improving. Steven Gillespie was spoken to about a foul on Peter Murphy on the hour and that was to be his last act as he was withdrawn by Mark Yates and replaced by Byron Harrison.
The Robins continued to push and it was clear they were starting to edge this game but the deadlock was eventually broken on 71 minutes by Jason Taylor. A harsh freekick was handed against Accrington after Murphy challenge Braham-Barrett and the resulting freekick found it's way to the midfielder and his shot took a slight deflection to hand Cheltenham the foothold they needed in this fixture.
Cheltenham continued to keep hold of possession well but the once vocal home support had not disappeared into a sea of moans and groans and the Robins went in search of a second to capitalise on their lead. Stanley were threatening but the Robins backline were proving to be stubborn opponents and it only got worse for Accrington with Wilson being forced off the pitch with a pulled groin. Accrington had already made all their changes and the hosts were now down to ten men.
90 minutes approached and Accrington now looked a troubled side desperately trying to carve out anything resembling an attack on Cheltenham's goal. Four minutes injury time gave Stanley the chance they needed to force a draw but it was Cheltenham who almost grabbed a second when Deering burst down the left wing past Murphy and his eventual shot dropped wide of the post and Taylor was unable to make the loose ball despite his best efforts. Cheltenham were doing their job well in possession though and the rearguard performance was something to be proud of as they finally saw this game out to record their first league win and clean sheet of the 2013-14 campaign.
Full Time: Accrington Stanley 0-1 Cheltenham Town
Accrington Stanley FC (4-4-2): Dunbavin (GK); Murphy, Aldred, Atkinson, Liddle; McCarton (Carver 74) Joyce (C), Richardson (Hatfield 82), Wilson; Naismith, Mingoia (Gray 66)
Subs not used: Wilson (GK), Clark, Windass
Cheltenham Town FC (4-4-2 Diamond): S. Brown (GK); Lowe, T. Brown, Elliott. Braham-Barrett; Taylor, Penn (C), Deering, Richards; Gornell (McGlashan 85), Gillespie (Harrison 61)
Subs not used: Roberts (GK), Inniss, Jombati, Kotwica, Vincent
Referee: Mr. Scott Mathieson.
Attendance: 1,224 (115 from Cheltenham)
Star Man: Jason Taylor - Anchored the midfield well today and grabbed an important goal too.