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22 June 2020 Venue Jonny-Rocks Stadium Attendance

Kick off 20:00 (UK)

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English Football League - League Two

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Match Previews

Preview: Northampton Town (H)

22 June 2020

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It's all focus on the Jonny-Rocks Stadium this evening as the League Two play-off semi-finals come to their conclusion with Cheltenham Town and visitors Northampton Town battling it out for a chance to make it through to next Monday's play-off final (kick-off: 8pm).

Following last Thursday's first leg the Robins take a 2-0 lead into tonight's game, with Exeter City and Colchester United also in action elsewhere in the other play-off semi-final.

There's no doubt that a powerful Northampton side will come out all guns blazing this evening and Michael Duff's team will be doing everything that they can to maintain their first leg lead.

The Cobblers have enjoyed a strong campaign in League Two as part of a noteworthy season overall that saw them also reach the FA Cup fourth round.

It's another major test, but if passed successfully, the Robins will be aiming to make it to Wembley to contend the League Two play-off final at the end of the month.

Supporters are reminded that tonight's fixture is taking place behind closed doors. Please do not make any attempt to visit the stadium. Security and police will be in position around the stadium. Please enjoy watching or listening to the match at home.

Team news

It's hoped Alex Addai and George Lloyd may be closer to a return to action after missing the first leg on Thursday.

Luke Varney is a doubt after suffering a hamstring problem in the warm up.

Alfie May and Jonte Smith may be afforded more minutes after their appearances off the bench last week, while the likes of Chris Clements and Max Sheaf could play their part at some point after they remained amongst the substitutes first time round.

How the first leg unfolded

Five days ago Cheltenham made the journey to the PTS Academy Stadium for the club's first competitive game in over three months and the first leg of our play-off semi-finals.

Michael Duff's team selection included bringing in Bristol Rovers loanee Tom Nichols up top to partner Reuben Reid.

The Cobblers had a great opportunity to take the lead early on from the penalty spot. Ryan Watson's well-struck spot kick was saved by Owen Evans though who was in inspired form on the night.

The deadlock was broken on 26 minutes. Jake Doyle-Hayes' corner from the left was in-swinging towards the near post and Charlie Raglan managed to glance in.

Further Evans saves denied James Olayinka, Callum Morton and Vadaine Oliver until the Robins doubled the advantage near the end.

Jonte Smith's tricky run into the box ended with the ball dropping into the path of Conor Thomas.

The midfielder had scored a penalty at the PTS Academy Stadium back in December, and he swept in to further Cheltenham's lead heading into tonight's second leg.

Watch the highlights back from the first leg:

Get 20% off at Pepe's tonight

Once again Cheltenham supporters can enjoy a special discount on Pepe's Piri Piri for this evening's game.

Fans can receive a 20% discount when ordering with Pepe's over both the phone and via their app when spending over £15.

To take advantage of this offer you need to use the code CTFC at the payment screen when making your order.

The offer is not valid with any other discounted items, deals or extras.

You can phone Pepe's store at 63 High Street in Cheltenham on 01242 361 864 or can order via their downloadable app on the app store. Just search for: 'Pepe's Piri Piri' to find the app.

Get involved on social media

You can't be at the stadium this evening but that doesn't mean you still can't make your voice heard.

We want you to get in touch on social media to let us know where you're watching the game, what it's like at home, what your thoughts are and we definitely want your good luck messages for the lads as well.

Send us a tweet to @CTFCofficial and we'll look to share as many as possible throughout matchday from wherever in the world it is that you're watching the action.

Get your digital match programme

We have launched our first ever digital match programme for tonight's game and it's available to buy online on the club shop.

Inside it features a big interview with Ben Tozer, there's a look back at the 2019/20 season for both ourselves and League Two, Charlie Raglan is on interview, plus there's more from Andy Wilcox, Michael Duff and a tribute to club legends Roger Thorndale, Gordon 'Jasper' Cook and Alec Carson who sadly passed away over recent months.

We are also going to be sending out a digital teamsheet to everyone who buys the programme online for when team news breaks this evening.

Purchase your copy online from our shop.

Coverage

The best place to watch tonight's game is on Sky Sports. The match will be available to watch on channel 403.

You can also hear full match commentary on BBC Radio Gloucestershire with Mark Halliwell and Pete Matthews or TalkSport with Ian Danter and Chris Iwelumo.

Keep up to date on socials by following @CTFCofficial on Twitter for major updates during the game and the latest photos.

Post-match you can check out the club website to read the match report and to hear reaction from inside the camp to the final result.

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Match Reports

Report: Robins 0-3 Northampton Town

22 June 2020

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Cheltenham Town surrendered their two-goal first leg advantage on a hugely disappointing evening, costing them a trip to Wembley in this season's play-off final.

They saved one of their poorest showings of the campaign for the worst possible time.

Two second half goals by Callum Morton put paid to the dream of a fourth major final at the national stadium next week, the first he knew littel about and the second was shambolic.

Vadaine Oliver had given the Cobblers the perfect start with an early goal and it set the tone for a forgettable night with so little to cheer from a Cheltenham perspective.

Credit to Northampton Town for a spirited fightback but this was a calamitous evening for Michael Duff's side, who were quite simply second best all evening at an empty Jonny-Rocks Stadium.

Keith Curle will lead his side out to face Exeter City in the League Two showpiece next Monday.

Duff swapped his front pairing here, using Alfie May and Jonte Smith instead of Tom Nichols and Reuben Reid from the start at a sun-kissed Jonny-Rocks Stadium. Alex Addai returned to the bench in place of the injured Luke Varney.

Northampton made a change of their own by bringing back Sam Hoskins for James Olayinka and they fashioned the early breakthrough, opening the scoring after only nine minutes.

Oliver met a wicked inswinging ball from Nicky Adams, who had beaten Sean Long out on the right, to beat Owen Evans at the far post and set the nerves jangling inside the empty stadium.

Callum Morton had a good chance to double the advantage a few moments later but he skied a good chance after cutting in from the left.

Cheltenham settled into the game after the early setback and began to put together their passing game.

Their first meaningful chance of the game arrived shortly after the half-hour mark when Smith shared a one-two with Jake Doyle-Hayes before bending one a few inches high and wide of the top right angle of the target.

Smith was a whisker away from the equaliser, stretching to reach a low ball by Sean Long nine minutes before the break after a neat move.

At the other end Adams, who had swapped flanks, smashed over a volley from a tight angle down the left while Oliver drew a diving stop from Evans.

The striker had an even better chance to double the advantage two minutes before the break when he was found with a great cross by Charlie Goode but his header flew well wide of the target.

A dipping volley by Ryan Broom on the stroke of half-time almost caught out Steve Arnold, but it dropped a foot wide of the right post.

There was another chance for Oliver five minutes after the restart, but Evans held it at his near post.

Moments later a mistake by Arnold handed the Robins a corner a few minutes later which saw Will Boyle go close.

But with 57 minutes on the clock the tie was level on aggregate after a bizarre goal by Morton, not that the striker seemed to know much about it.

Adams delivered a corner from the right which Tozer met with a header, which took a decisive touch from the Northampton striker to hand his side a two-goal advantage on the night and square the overall contest.

Duff had made a double switch in the 62nd minute having replaced Smith with Reid at the break. Doyle-Hayes and Broom were withdrawn and Rohan Ince and Addai were pressed into action.

Northampton completed the turnaround with 13 minutes remaining when a catastrophic breakdown in communication between Boyle and Evans gifted Hoskins a chance to nip in and prod one on goal, but it came back off the post. Morton was quickest to react and rolled home for his second of the night.

Hussey launched a 30-yard free-kick well over and Alfie May missed the target with a couple of late efforts as Duff's side rallied in the closing stages but Arnold wasn't troubled.

CHELTENHAM TOWN (3-5-2): Evans; Raglan (Nichols 81), Tozer (c), Boyle; Long, Thomas, Broom (Addai 62), Doyle-Hayes (Ince 62), Hussey; May, Smith (Reid 46). Subs not used: Clements, Sheaf, Debayo, Lovett (Gk), Greaves.

NORTHAMPTON TOWN (3-5-2): Arnold; Goode (c), Turnbull, Wharton; Harriman, Watson, McCormack (Olayinka 71), Hoskins, Adams (Martin 86); Oliver, Morton. Subs not used: Cornell (Gk),Smith, Williams, Lines, Warburton, Anderson, Marshall.

REFEREE: L Doughty

 

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