Cheltenham Town mounted a stunning second half comeback to beat Scunthorpe United in their first home game of the 2019/20 League Two season at the Jonny-Rocks Stadium.
Lee Novak put the Iron ahead against the run of play but three goals in five minutes provided a stark contrast to last week’s fortunes in the same time frame for the Robins as Ryan Broom, Charlie Raglan and substitute Alex Addai quickly put them in control.
Another sub in Conor Thomas converted a penalty with virtually the last kick of the game to seal a fantastic three points that extended Michael Duff’s side’s unbeaten run at home in the fourth tier to seven months.
Robins boss Duff made four changes to the side that started in last weekend’s season opener at Leyton Orient, as suspended pair Luke Varney and Rohan Ince joined the injured Will Boyle and Josh Debayo in missing out.
Chris Hussey, Chris Clements, Gavin Reilly and Jake Doyle-Hayes came into start, with the latter pair making their full home debuts.
It was a strong start for the Robins, who threatened through Max Sheaf and Jake Doyle-Hayes, as the latter saw a curling attempt drop inches wide of the post in the ninth minute, with both loan midfielders showing glimpses of promise.
Within the opening ten minutes returning defender Hussey, who missed most of pre-season, saw his shot blocked after a short free-kick and Doyle-Hayes crossed for Tahvon Campbell, who was unable to keep his header down.
Aston Villa loanee Doyle-Hayes was in the thick of the action again later in the half, as he turned a teasing Hussey cross inches wide after Andy Butler’s touch changed the direction of the ball.
But the game really came to life in the second period, as half-time substitute Debayo forced Jake Eastwood to make a good save, which was bettered two minutes later to deny Broom’s powerful shot.
More chances followed through Sheaf and Clements but against the run of play, Scunthorpe took the lead as Charlie Raglan gave the ball away and experienced striker Lee Novak accurately placed into the bottom corner after 54 minutes.
With the home crowd firmly behind them, bolstered by the new singing section, Broom equalised in the 68th minute with a fine curling finish which sparked five minutes of bedlam at the Jonny-Rocks Stadium.
Chris Clements hooked the ball into the box for Raglan to head into the bottom corner, as he quickly made amends for his earlier error.
Moments after coming on for Tahvon Campbell, Addai then raced through and rolled the ball under the helpless Eastwood as Cheltenham had gone from one goal down to two goals ahead in a matter of minutes.
The pacey Addai was then fouled in the closing stages and Thomas coolly sent the keeper the wrong way from the penalty spot as the Robins equalled their biggest league win under Duff with a 4-1 success to comfortably secure a first three-point haul of the campaign.
The result also means Cheltenham are now unbeaten in 11 league matches on home soil after a victory in their first game at the Jonny-Rocks Stadium this season.
ROBINS: Flinders (GK), Long, Hussey (Debayo 46), Tozer ©, Raglan, Clements (Thomas 87), Campbell (Addai 69), Broom, Sheaf, Reilly, Doyle-Hayes. Subs not used: Lovett (GK), Bowry, Lloyd, Greaves.
SCUNTHORPE: Eastwood (GK), Clarke, Ntlhe, Lund, Songo’o (Colclough 74), Butler ©, Wootton, Novak, Gilliead, McGahey, Slater (McAtee 84). Subs not used: Watson (GK), Horsfield, Hammill, McArdle, Dawson.
ATTENDANCE: 2,742 (292 away)