Cheltenham delivered a solid performance in this afternoon's 2-1 victory over Wycombe Wanderers to make it four games unbeaten in the Sky Bet League 2.
A largely quiet first half gave the Robins a solid base to work from and Jamie Cureton's opener handed Mark Yates' side the advantage early on in the second half. Wycombe equalised soon after through Matt McClure but a deflected cross from Sam Deering handed the lead back to Cheltenham just 60 seconds after conceding.
Cheltenham held on despite solid pressure from Wycombe and sent the travelling fans home with a broad smile.
Fresh from FA Cup disappointment and in need of a win, the Robins came to Adams Park wary of a real battle but focussed on getting themselves back on track. The Robins were three games unbeaten in League Two ahead of kick off but Mark Yates made three changes from the starting XI that lost 1-0 away at Tamworth. Sido Jombati, Steve Elliott and David Noble both returned to the team at the expense of Keith Lowe, Russ Penn and Terry Gornell. Mark Yates needed the defence to do the job today but only time would tell.
A good start to proceedings would be most welcome for the Robins and Jamie Cureton attempted to kick things off in style with an early long range effort although it proved to be comfortable work for Matt Ingram in goal. Cheltenham had already started this game better than they had in the FA Cup a week earlier but Wycombe weren't without their threats in the early stages and Billy Knott looked threatening as he pushed forward and coming close 11 minutes into the game with a drive inches over the bar. Robins striker Jamie Cureton forced Ingram into a very good save minutes later with a near post strike but the Wycombe defenders were on top of the loose ball quickly to clear their lines. Cheltenham continued some good early pressure with Cureton's flick pass finding Deering surging forward towards the area. His pass back across the box for Byron Harrison could only be steered wide by Cheltenham's top goalscorer however.
The Robins may have made a promising start but some of that soft defending almost came back to haunt them ahead of the 20th minute mark when Kretzschmar sailed past both Brown and Elliott before having a shot well blocked by Jombati. The ball bounced loose and Wycombe restored possession but Dean Morgan's eventual low drive was well saved by Scott Brown and eventually cleared by David Noble. Efforts from Deering and Braham-Barrett carried the only real action of the game up until the 36th minute before Taylor's deflected strike from the edge of the area forced Ingram into a very good save pushing the ball over the bar. There was a stoppage in play when Wycombe keeper Ingram had to receive treatment after taking a heavy knock in a one on one with Harrison. Deering's ball found the striker powering through on goal but Ingram was brave and save well at his feet taking some punishment as his reward. The Chairboys keeper was soon back on his feet welcomed by a heart applause from the home fans as the first half approached it's end. Wycombe defender Anthony Stewart finished the half's action with a sliced shot across the face of goal following a Wycombe freekick but the 0-0 half time stalemate was perhaps a fair reflection on the game at this stage.
Half Time: Wycombe Wanderers 0-0 Cheltenham Town
A bitterly cold second half kicked off and a freekick opportunity gave Cheltenham the chance to draw first blood with Cureton felled by Lewis on the edge of Wycombe's area. Matt Richards' set piece was wheeled on target but deflected back wide by a flailing defensive boot. A 54th minute substitution from Wycombe signalled the first change of the game and it was the troublesome Morgan who was replaced by the fit again Matt McClure. Cheltenham had started the stronger team in this half but they needed to make that count and so Jamie Cureton delivered. Good wing play on the right from Deering started the move off well before his pass found Taylor who slipped in a pass towards Cureton who was busy lurking in the heart of Wycombe's area. The striker steadied himself well and pulled the pass towards goal and into the bottom corner for 1-0. A well worked move from Cheltenham and a deserved reward for their start to the second half.
Wycombe's Sam Wood tested Scott Brown just minutes after the opening goal to provide some early hope for the home fans but Jamie Cureton could have doubled the lead in quick succession after catching hold of a deep cross from Richards but alas the shot was pulled just wide. Wycombe really should have been level on 61 minutes when McClure caught a cross well with his forehead but a stunning point blank save from Scott Brown defended the substitute. The Chairboys captain Stuart Lewis also had a good opportunity to score when a Troy Brown block handed him possession on the edge of the area but his shot failed to even hit the target. Wycombe had certainly reacted well to going a goal down and they found the perfect tonic courtesy of the already impressive Matt McClure and his rasping strike from the edge of the 6 yard box left Brown with no chance. 1-1 and the Wycombe crowd were bouncing but not for long. Quite literally 60 seconds had passed before Sam Deering set off down the right wing before pulling back to deliver a cross although it took a wicked deflection and dropped over the head of Ingram and into the back of the net. A massive slice of luck for the Robins but a slice of luck that the travelling fans will argue had been coming.
A quiet game had erupted into life and Cheltenham came so close to collecting a third goal when Matt Richards' freekick found the head of Elliott but Ingram clawed the ball away from the top corner of his goal. Gareth Ainsworth's Chairboys weren't about to roll over for the Robins in this match and on 80 minutes they were continuing to really press Cheltenham's back line but they were holding out as the travelling fans crossed everything they had available on their bodies. They came incredibly close on 83 minutes when a low cross bounced about inside the area before taking a final touch off Craig which had to be turned over the bar by the reactive Scott Brown.
The clock ticked down as Robins supporters wriggled in their seats uncomfortably but they were briefly warmed, although falsely, as Troy Brown collided with Ingram in the Wycombe goal as the he collected a corner. The ball was dropped, crossed the line but the referee had blown for a freekick against Cheltenham. It wouldn't be a Cheltenham Town victory without it's fair share of nervous moments but the Robins helped the minutes tick by introducing Keith Lowe before the final whistle was blown ending what was a good day at the office for Mark Yates' players.
Full Time: Wycombe Wanderers 1-2 Cheltenham Town
Wycombe Wanderers FC (4-4-2): Ingram (GK); McCoy, Wood, Stewart, Johnson; Cowan-Hall (Craig 82), Lewis (C), Scowen, Kretzschmar (Bloomfield 74), Knott; Morgan (McClure 54).
Subs not used: Horlock (GK), Doherty, Morais, Spring
Cheltenham Town FC (4-4-2 Diamond): S. Brown (GK); Jombati, T. Brown, Elliott (C), Braham-Barrett; Noble, Taylor, Richards, Deering (Gornell 84); Harrison, Cureton (Penn 76)
Subs not used: Roberts (GK), Lowe, Hanks, Kotwica, Vincent
Referee: Mr. M. Russell
Attendance: 3,207 (189 from Cheltenham)