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16 March 2021 Venue Jonny-Rocks Stadium Attendance

Kick off 19:00 (UK)

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English Football League - League Two

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Match Previews

Preview: Barrow

16 March 2021

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Barrow are the visitors to the Jonny-Rocks Stadium this evening for the first of two home games in five days for Michael Duff's men (kick-off: 7pm).

A last gasp Andy Williams header on Saturday saw Cheltenham return home from Exeter City with all three points in the bag ahead of tonight's clash with the Bluebirds.

Last season Barrow finished top of the National League when the division was decided on points per game. They are looking to secure their League status as they float just above the drop zone but are making a good fight of it as they enter into this evening's fixture off the back of consecutive wins.

Watch tonight's action live in full online by purchasing a match pass on iFollow.

Team news

Concussion rules George Lloyd out of the game after he picked up a head injury in the first half at Exeter on the weekend.

Also missing are Charlie Raglan, who has a groin problem, Chris Clements (hamstring) and Will Boyle (knee).

Check out Michael Duff's pre-match press conference, while defender Lewis Freestone has also been previewing the match.

Opposition

Victories over Walsall and Mansfield Town in their last two outings have helped Barrow go two points clear of the relegation zone. They'll be delighted to have got points on the board, but they'll also gain hope that they have three games in hand on Southend United just below them.

Long-serving goalkeeper Joel Dixon continues to be the man they turn to with the gloves. The former Sunderland youngster has been at Barrow since 2015.

In front of him their defensive structure includes a January arrival on loan from Bristol Rovers in the shape of Tom Davies. Kgosi Ntlhe has one cap for South Africa and the experienced head of Neal Eardley, on loan from Burton Albion, also adds international experience in their defence from his time in the Wales ranks. Fellow Welshman James Jones could feature. He was picked up from Altrincham where he was a National League rival last term.

Barrow's midfield has two highly experienced 'Taylor's'. One of which is familiar to Cheltenham fans in the shape of Jason Taylor, while Chris Taylor, aged 34, has plenty of League experience from his time at Bolton Wanderers, Blackburn Rovers and Oldham Athletic.

Also in midfield Jamie Devitt brings good quality, while Ollie Banks was a January transfer window addition from Tranmere Rovers. Josh Kay is another possible option - he's been part of their rise up from non-league into the Football League.

Their attacking options are boosted by the energy of Luke James who is now in his second spell with the Bluebirds. Frenchman Dimitri Sea, a former Aston Villa youngster, is another option at the top of the pitch.

Caretaker manager: Rob Kelly

Rob Kelly is back in caretaker charge for the second time this season after Michael Jolley's short-lived spell in charge. Kelly previously served as caretaker when David Dunn left in December, and he's been leading the Bluebirds again since late February.

He is a highly accomplished coach who went into the profession when his playing days, which were spent at Leicester City, Tranmere Rovers and Wolves, were cut short at just the age of 24 due to injury.

He had a spell managing Leicester City between 2006 and 2007, but has otherwise mainly worked as a coach or assistant. With that though has come caretaker spells in charge at Preston North End, Sheffield Wednesday and Nottingham Forest.

Kelly's coaching career has also seen him serve on the staff at West Brom, Leeds United, Blackburn Rovers, Fleetwood Town, Bury, Swedish side Malmö FF and German outfit Fortuna Düsseldorf.

One to watch: Scott Quigley

The physically dominant Scott Quigley has mustered an important eight League Two goals in this campaign as he looks to play a leading role in helping Barrow secure their Football League status.

The 28-year-old was one of the goal scorers in Barrow's win over Cheltenham back in December.

He has played League football before in a short permanent spell at Blackpool and then on loan at Port Vale, but he's otherwise mainly operated in non-league or Welsh football, so he's looking to take his opportunity with Barrow in League Two with both hands.

The New Saints, Caersws, Wrexham, Cefn Druids, FC Halifax Town and Carmarthen are all former hunting grounds for the target man.

Match programme

Get your hands on a physical copy or digital edition of tonight's match programme. The 24 page print copy is on sale on the club's online shop, while the digital version can be accessed via the MatchDay Digital app.

Sam Smith is the big interview in the programme, while there are also features with Michael Duff, Andy Williams, Liam Sercombe, the opposition and much more.

A print copy is available online for £2.50. Select 'match programme' when choosing your postage option.

Access the digital edition on Apple or Android and via MatchDay Digital's website for £1.99.

Watch the match live on iFollow

All supporters have the opportunity to watch the game live online with iFollow.

You can buy a match pass at a price of £10 and subscribe before kick-off online. Season ticket holders will receive free access and should have received an email with details about how to access the game.

Coverage

Stay updated by following @CTFCofficial on Twitter for team news, match updates and live images. You can also keep a check on the score via the club's Facebook page and Instagram account.

Post-match make a visit to the club website to read the match report and to see reaction from Michael Duff to the game in his post-match press conference.

You'll be able to watch extended highlights from the 90 minutes also on iFollow.

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Match Reports

Report & highlights: Robins 0-2 Barrow

16 March 2021

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Cheltenham Town weren’t at the races as Barrow claimed a 2-0 vicory at the Jonny-Rocks Stadium.

Jamie Jones' second minute opener was followed by a Seán Long own goal in the second half.

On the day that marked the beginning of a behind closed doors Cheltenham Festival, roughly eight furlongs away, the Jonny-Rocks took centre stage as Michael Duff’s thoroughbreds aimed to get over the line against Barrow.

Rob Kelly’s Barrow came into this one in a rich vein of form themselves, but travelled into Cheltenham with the odds firmly stacked against them, with 30 points separating the two sides before kick-off.

A last gasp Andy Williams header on Saturday saw Cheltenham return home from Exeter City with all three points in the bag ahead of tonight's clash with the Bluebirds. That win had secured the Robins’ place at the summit of the League Two table and confirmed their place amongst the automatic promotion places for at least another week.

Though, despite Barrow’s lowly 22nd league standing, Kelly’s side have picked up some encouraging form, which included three wins in their last five. Notably, the Holker Street side have kept clean sheets in all but one of their eight League Two wins this season.

Having also only conceded twice in their last five outings - in two narrow 1-0 losses to Bolton and Harrogate - wins against Oldham, Mansfield, and Walsall had propelled Barrow out of the relegation places.

With successive league wins taken for only the third time this season last week, Kelly's men were keen to start on the front foot.

It was Patrick Brough’s gallop down the left wing that produced the first chance at the Jonny-Rocks. Having failed to threaten from the resulting corner on the left side, Barrow were able to recycle the ball and steal a march on their hosts.

James Jones’ low cross from the right side of Josh Griffiths’ 18-yard box seemed unthreatening, until both Ben Tozer and Griffiths let the ball roll across the penalty box and into the far corner.

Despite being tipped to win this one if league standings were anything to go by, Barrow were full credit for their early advantage.

Not until the 20th minute had Cheltenham got up and running on the night. After Liam Sercombe won the ball deep in his own half, his pass across the pitch initiated a sweeping move which eventually fell to the feet of Sam Smith, but the striker couldn’t capitalise on a near perfect counter attack.

Smith has scored three goals since joining Cheltenham on loan in late January, and his goal tally for the season was inches away from being improved, if it wasn’t for Neal Eardley’s goal-line clearance that persevered Barrow’s clean sheet in the first-half.

From the resulting corner, another well-worked move produced an opportunity for Sercombe, who after turning on the edge of the box, struck viciously towards Dixon who managed to parry towards safety.

As Cheltenham went in search of a goal before the interval, Barrow were nearing 225 minutes without conceding a single goal in League Two. After handing Cheltenham a scare of their own when Scott Quigley put the ball into the back of the net from an offside position, the away side would then end the half on the end of a lucky escape.

As the going got tough for Kelly’s men following a succession of corner kicks on the cusp of half-time, Chris Hussey’s volley from the edge of the box skipped off the turf and without a chance of keeping it away from his goal, Joel Dixon watched the ball smack the base of his post - to Cheltenham’s frustration.

Minutes later and Duff’s side were rueing more missed opportunities. When Finn Azaz found a pocket of space outside the Barrow box, he played in Hussey, who was making a charge down the left channel. The left-back's strike at goal was foiled by Dixon, but only as far as Alfie May, though his shot on goal also failed to find the back of the net as Tom Davies made Barrow’s second goal-line clearance of the first half.

Cheltneham striker, May returned to the starting line-up in place of George Lloyd, who suffered concussion during Saturday's victory at Exeter. Tom Chamberlain was also promoted to the bench as Charlie Raglan, Chris Clements, and Will Boyle all missed this one with respective injuries.

Second-half alterations were made by Duff, who chose to introduce Andy Williams and Alfie May on the hour mark, but despite reacting to Barrow's defensive resilience, it was the away side who’d strike once more.

A long throw-in on the 66th caught Cheltenham out at their own game, as Seán Long inadvertently turned the ball into his own net.

The hosts were unable to hit back at their opponents, but remain on top of the League Two table.

Cheltenham Town will return to the Jonny-Rocks Stadium on Saturday to host Salford City (kick-off 15:00).

CHELTENHAM TOWN (3-5-2): J Griffiths (GK); S Long, B Tozer, L Freestone (E Chapman ’69); M Blair, C Hussey, F Azaz (I Vassilev ’58), C Thomas (C Wright ’69), L Sercombe; A May, S Smith (A Williams ’58).
Subs not used: S Flinders (GK), G Horton, T Chamberlain.

BARROW (3-5-2): J Dixon (GK); J Jones, T Davies, K Ntlhe (B Thomas ’45); N Eardley, O Banks, J Taylor, C Taylor (J Devitt ’64), P Brough; J Kay, S Quigley.
Subs not used: J Lillis (GK), M Ndjoli, D Sea, L James.

Referee: James Bell.
Assistants: Christopher Husband, Lisa Rashid. Fourth Official: David Rock.

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