Second-half goals from Elliot Bonds and James Olayinka helped the Robins win their first league match of 2023 after beating Cambridge United 2-1.
Bonds broke the deadlock in the 57th minute with a screamer from 30 yards from the Cambridge goal to score his first of the season. However, the home side quickly levelled after Joe Ironside scored a controversial penalty.
After a dominant second-half performance, it appeared the Robins would only have a point for their efforts, until Aidan Keena teed up midfielder Olayinka for his first Cheltenham Town goal to clinch the three points.
The Robins had the opening chance of the game in the third minute as the ball fell the way of Charlie Brown, who controlled the ball outside the box and teed himself up for a ferocious strike that smacked the middle of the crossbar with United goalkeeper Dimitar Mitov planted to the floor.
The hosts were amazed how the score stayed level as for the first time in the game, they broke Town's defensive line. A drilled low cross from the right-hand side of the box travelled along the six-yard line, avoided both a sliding Caleb Taylor and Joe Ironside who was facing an untended goal.
The U's threatened again down their right hand side. Liam Bennett found space to clip in a cross to Ironside, who's header was acrobatically kept out from close range by Luke Southwood.
Alfie May was the next to have a chance fall his way. A dinked ball by Elliot Bonds played through the forward, with the defence waiting for the linesman to flag, but May could not get the ball under control and it was cleared.
In what was a quiet last 20 minutes of the first half, Jack Lankester had the best opportunity. Neat work on the edge of the Cheltenham box saw space open up for the midfielder, but his prodded attempt at goal dribbled straight towards Southwood.
With chances limited it would take somthing special to break the deadlock. Bonds supplied the game with a touch of magic as he picked the ball up from distance yards and curled a brilliant strike into the top left hand corner.
Only minutes after, Cambridge were given an opportunity to equalise as Taylor Perry was adjudged to bring down a forward in the box. Ironside stepped up from the spot and sent Southwood the wrong way to level the match.
The flurry of goals brought the game to life as the encounter developed into an end to end affair, with both sides looking threatening on the counter attack.
Substitute Keena had the ball in the back of the net with 20 minutes to go but an offside flag denied him his first Cheltenham goal. Bond's long range freekick was diverted towards May who was in an offside position. His effort was saved by Mitov, but the flag rose as the Irishman struck the ball into the net.
The Robins' record signing played a big part in the winner. Keena held off a defender in the Cambridge penalty area, and pulled the ball back to fellow substitute Olayinka who slotted the ball through the legs of Mitov to win the game for Cheltenham.
After retaking the lead, the Robins looked to extend it. Yet another chance from Keena was blocked for a corner, with the resulting set-piece seeing Ryan Broom have an identicle shot from the opposite corner of the box.
With an additional four minute to be played, Cambridge started an arial bombardment, but with every ball into Cheltenham territory, a blue shirt cleared their lines to hold on for the Robins' first league win of 2023.
Robins XI: Southwood, Jackson, Long (c), Raglan, Taylor, Broom, Bonds, Sercombe, Perry (Olayinka 71'), Brown (Keena 62'), May (Norton 90')
Un-used substitutes: MacDonald, Baggott, Sambu, Barkers
Cambridge United XI: Mitov, Digby (c), Jones, Brophy, Ironside, Smith, Lankester (Tracey 80'), Bennett, McGrindles, Morrisson, Bennett
Un-used sustitutes: Mannion, Williams, Haunstrup, Okedina, Worman, Hoddle
Referee: A. Woolmer
Attendence: 5,018 (126 away)
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