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06 March 2021 Venue Jonny-Rocks Stadium Attendance

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English Football League - League Two

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Match Previews

Preview: Port Vale

5 March 2021

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The Jonny-Rocks Stadium is the venue for the second time this week on Saturday when Port Vale are the visitors to Cheltenham (kick-off: 3pm).

On the back of Tuesday's home win over Southend United, which made it three wins in a row for the Robins, it's a second meeting this season with Port Vale this weekend.

Looking to build another good run of form, Saturday's game is another great opportunity to do so, but it'll be against a Valiants side who defeated Cheltenham back earlier in the season and who are under new management.

Watch Saturday's contest live online by buying a match pass on iFollow for £10.

Team news

Midfield man Liam Sercombe is fit and available again after his recent substitute appearance against Southend United.

Missing on Saturday though will be Ellis Chapman, Will Boyle, George Lloyd, Alex Addai, Chris Clements - all through injury - while Dan Bowry's loan move to Wealdstone means he's unavailable.

First team coach Wade Elliott spoke to the media about the game on Thursday. You can also watch midfielder Conor Thomas' pre-game thoughts on iFollow.

Opposition

A run of five games without a win has seen Port Vale fall to 21st in League Two. They are still eight points above the relegation zone and will be hoping to confirm their safety in the division soon.

Their campaign so far may have come as a surprise to many given the excellent progress they were making under previous boss John Askey, whose time as manager came to an end at the start of January, despite the fact he almost led them to the play-offs in the 2019/20 season.

Despite their recent disappointing form they boast a good squad at fourth tier level, backed up in between the posts by experienced shot-stopper Scott Brown who has had two previous spells at Cheltenham in his career.

Their defensive bodies include veteran Leon Legge, 23-year-old Adam Crookes, and academy product Nathan Smith who has been a real success story for their production line since he first burst into the first team set-up. Another academy product, James Gibbons, may miss the game due to an injury picked up in their loss to Salford City on Tuesday night.

In their midfield skipper Tom Conlon has a good eye for goal. Former Robins loanee Danny Whitehead has good experience, while they could opt to use Jake Taylor, Luke Joyce or Scott Burgress in this area of the pitch too.

At the top of the pitch Jamaica international Theo Robinson has scored goals across the EFL. They brought in Kurtis Guthrie from Bradford City in January and he brings good athleticism, while Mark Cullen is another experienced head they could turn to in search of goals.

The manager: Darrell Clarke

Some would have seen Darrell Clarke's switch to become manager at Vale midway through February as a surprise.

He was enticed away from league rivals Walsall to join the Valiants who have also recently just appointed David Flitcroft as their Director of Football.

Clarke's time at Bristol Rovers has earned him plenty of praise previously. He led the Memorial Stadium club to back-to-back promotions from the National League to League One in his time there having also previously managed in non-league at Salisbury City.

Now looking to steer Port Vale into League One, the former midfielder, who played for Mansfield, Hartlepool United and Salisbury in his career, is still waiting for his first victory since becoming boss.

One to watch: Devante Rodney

With ten goals to his name Devante Rodney is Port Vale's leading goal scorer so far this term.

The 22-year-old is in his first season at Vale Park after signing a three-year contract to sign in July 2020.

Before that he had been at Salford City where his time with the Greater Manchester club featured loan spells with the likes of FC Halifax Town and Stockport County.

He began his career with Hartlepool United, notably scoring two goals on the final day of the 2016/17 season, which almost proved enough to keep the club up in the League, only for results elsewhere to relegate them to the National League.

Match programme

Available in either print or as a digital version, the match programme for the game features a big interview with Charlie Raglan. There's also more with Wade Elliott, Michael Duff, an update on the club's iFollow numbers, a detailed look at Port Vale plus more.

The programme can be bought in a 24 page physical format through the online shop and is priced at £2.50. 

If you want a digital 48 page version, the club have teamed up with MatchDay Digital so you can buy it through their app. The digital version is priced at £1.99.

Watch the match on iFollow

The match is available to watch in full online by purchasing a match pass on iFollow.

A match pass gives you access to the whole 90 minutes and includes live commentary from BBC Radio Gloucestershire.

Coverage

Stay up to date on matchday by following @CTFCofficial on Twitter. You can also keep an eye on the latest score by checking out updates on the club's Facebook page and Instagram account.

Visit the club website after the game to check out the match report. You'll also be able to watch reaction from Michael Duff to the result on the website.

If you want to watch extended highlights then have a look on iFollow for a review of the action.

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Match Reports

Report & highlights: Robins 3-2 Port Vale

6 March 2021

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Cheltenham Town have won a fourth League Two game in a row, after beating Port Vale 3-2 at the Jonny-Rocks Stadium.

Alfie May’s opener in the first half was swiftly followed by an own goal from former Cheltenham goalkeeper, Scott Brown, before Liam Sercombe scored his first goal since Boxing Day, after returning from injury- the Robins are now one point clear at the League Two summit.

The hosts staved off a late comeback from Port Vale, who found late goals through Will Swan and Alex Hurst.

Michael Duff’s side have discovered a rich vein of form having taken maximum points on offer from their previous four ties, which is the club’s best winning run for a year. Having won five successive league games towards the end of last season, Duff's side came within a point of the automatic promotion places 12 months ago.

Followed by a stalemate at home against today’s opponents Port Vale, an unbeaten run of six would end Cheltenham's League Two campaign as the coronavirus pandemic suspended the season.

Almost exactly one year on, Cheltenham now sit at the top of the League Two table thanks to a well-earned win over the Valiants.

Robins midfielder Sercombe was fit enough to make the substitutes bench after making his first home appearance since December against Southend United in midweek, while Ellis Chapman, Will Boyle, George Lloyd, Alex Addai and Chris Clements all missed out due to respite injury problems.

The Robins have managed to cope without their talismanic midfielder through the winter months and loan signing Callum Wright has played his part in covering for the injury stricken Sercombe in recent weeks, having scored twice in his first four appearances for the club.

The Leicester City loanee came close to adding a third to his tally for the league season as Cheltenham started on the front foot against Port Vale. Chris Hussey’s quality from the left flank would soon show, but not before he threatened to notch his fifth assist of the campaign in the game’s opening exchanges.

Wright’s powerful run into the box was so nearly rewarded, if it wasn’t for Scott Brown’s miraculous stop at the near post, as the midfielder connected with Hussey’s delivery from the left. Sam Smith was on hand for a rebound, but his effort hit the post as the hosts went in search of an early advantage.

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That lead would soon come through Alfie May, who is now in double figures for the season in all competitions. Former Cheltenham goalkeeper, Brown - who made over 250 appearances over two different spells at the club - was in two minds whether to come for Matty Blair’s ball forward, while Zak Mills was also hesitant in clearing the immediate danger.

May was able to sneak between the two in order to take control of the ball and roll into an empty net to bag his first League Two goal in seven games. In the mood to grab a second in double-quick time, May was again involved as the Robins doubled their advantage soon after breaking the deadlock on the 14th minute.

Hussey’s delivery from the left was proving a key weapon in the Robins’ pursuit of a second goal, and several minutes later, the left-back delivered towards Sam Smith, whose header dropped at the feet of May.

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Cheltenham’s in form forward crashed the ball in off the bar thanks to a generous deflection off goalkeeper Brown, who will have to carry the burden of conceding own goal.

Though, the former Robins stopper was keen to rectify for his unfortunate start to the game. As Hussey eyed a goal for himself, the full-back connected with a cross from the right-wing, and on the half-volley drew an impressive, acrobatic stop from Brown.

Port Vale failed to make much in the way of goalscoring opportunities in the first period, with the hosts keen to mitigate the threat posed by the Valiants top-scorer this term, Devante Rodney.

With ten goals to his name this season, Rodney was afforded little room to work in as Matty Clair nullified his threat throughout. Before travelling to the Jonny-Rocks Stadium, Darrell Clarke’s side had scored 41 goals this campaign, which matched Cheltenham’s return for the campaign, but while Josh Griffiths had kept the joint-most clean sheets this term, Port Vale were made to work for their chances in the second half.

The away side were made to pay for their lack of attacking thrust as Sercombe added a third for the hosts having come off the substitutes bench on the hour mark. Judging the flight of the ball, Cheltenham’s midfielder managed to get under an awkward bounce inside the Port Vale penalty box and strike a half-volley into the ground and under the bar.

Port Vale's substitute, Will Sawn was on hand to score a goal from the bench himself, as he started a late comeback in the 83rd minute. After Cheltenham goalkeeper Griffiths made a brilliant stop to preserve what would have been his 16th clean sheet of the campaign, Swan converted from close range.

Two minutes later and the situation was made even more precarious, as Alex Hurst arrived at the back post to strike fear into the Cheltenham side, with seven minutes to be added in additional time. The Robins would eventually hold on for a precious three points.

Cheltenham will travel to Field Mill on Tuesday night (kick-off 19:00) to contest another important three points in League Two against Mansfield.

CHELTENHAM TOWN (3-5-2): J Griffiths (GK); C Raglan, B Tozer, S Long; M Blair, C Hussey, F Azaz (Sercombe 61); C Thomas, C Wright; A May (Vassilev ’79), S Smith (Williams ’79). Subs not used: S Flinders (GK), G Horton, L Freestone, T Chamberlain.

PORT VALE (4-3-3): S Brown (GK); Z Mills, L Legge, N Smith, A Crookes; J Taylor (Robinson ’67), L Joyce, T Conlon; A Hurst, D Rodney, K Guthrie (Swan ’67). Subs not used: T Scott (GK), M Cullen, S Brisley, D Whitehead, M Olagunju.

REFEREE: Robert Lewis. Assistants: Simon Shaw, Andrew Laver. Fourth Official: Louis Marks.

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