Alfie May marked his comeback from injury with a goal that would secure all three points for the Robins in a 1-0 win over Wycombe Wanderers.
The forward’s first-half strike on his first league start since the beginning of October proved to be the difference between the two teams, after another resilient defensive performance.
Wade Elliott made two changes to the team that drew 1-1 at Portman Road against Ipswich Town, with May coming into start, and Caleb Taylor returning from a concussion sustained against Alvechurch Town.
Garath McCleary had a couple of good opportunities for the visitors in the opening quarter of an hour. He first stung the palms of Luke Southwood with a vicious shot from outside the box before a few minutes later finding space to shoot from the right-hand side of the penalty area but skewed his shot wide of the far post.
The Robins then had a chance of their own, when May’s deflected shot was fumbled by Max Stryjek and fell at Liam Sercombe’s feet. The midfielder’s initial attempt was blocked, but he was able to lay the rebound off for James Olayinka to have a strike, but his shot was deflected narrowly wide of the post.
A cross-field pass from May set Ben Williams free on the left wing, to put the Robins in a dangerous position. Williams’ cross found the head of Dan Nlundulu, but the striker could only loop his attempt over the bar.
May then grabbed his goal juts before the half hour mark. After Nlundulu found him with a cute pass with the outside of his boot, May cut inside onto his right foot before trying to bend a shot goalwards. A deflection off Nick Freeman sent the ball flying over Stryjek’s head and into the far corner of the net.
Soon afterwards, Taylor managed to pull off a spectacular bicycle kick after Sercombe’s free kick was half cleared, but Stryjek had little trouble in catching the ball.
Sam Vokes then had another good chance for the visitors. Anis Mehmeti drove towards the by-line before crossing the ball towards Vokes, but the forward could only direct his header into the gloves of Southwood.
Mehmeti himself would be next to draw a save from Southwood, as he cut in on his right foot and tried to bend a low shot into the far corner. At full stretch, Southwood managed to get a strong hand to the ball and push it out of the reach of McCleary who was looking for a rebound.
Not wanting to rest on their laurels, the Robins pushed for a second goal. Trickery from Ryan Broom saw him beat his man before unleashing a fierce shot with his left foot, but it fell wide of the post.
In the second half, Broom continued to probe down the right wing, sending a cross towards the edge of the six-yard box. Nlundulu tried to the head the ball down into the ground, but Stryjek was able to get behind it.
Alfie Mawson had Cheltenham fans’ hearts in their mouths after marauding forwards from centre-back and being given the time to get a shot off. Sean Long came out to meet him and got a touch on the ball, sending it looping into the air before landing in the side netting.
A surging run from Olayinka lead to a free kick on the edge of the 18-yard box after he was unceremoniously felled. With the resulting attempt, May nearly doubled his tally for the day, bending a shot less than a foot over the crossbar.
Chairboys substitute Brandon Hanlan created the visitors’ best chance of the match so far, after he got the better of Williams before trying to the square the ball across the six-yard box. But for Taylor’s last-ditch intervention, Lewis Wing would have had an empty net to tap into.
After a spell of pressure from Wycombe, Broom was able to make another surging run down the right wing and bear down on goal. Despite options in the centre, Broom opted to take on the shot himself, trying to beat Stryjek at his near post, but the Polish goalkeeper was equal to it.
Robins: Southwood (GK), Long (C), Taylor, Raglan, Broom, Williams (Hutchinson 79’), Bonds, Sercombe, Olayinka (Jackson 66’), Nlundulu (Norton 66’), May (Brown 84’)
Unused: MacDonald (GK), Bradbury, Adshead
Wycombe: Stryjek (GK), Grimmer, (McCarthy 77’), Tafazolli, Wheeler (Wing 63’), Vokes, Mehmeti (Mellor 86’), McCleary (Hanlan 63’), Mawson, Freeman, Obita, Scowen
Unused: Dickinson (GK), Horgan, Wakely
Attendance: 4078 (644 away)
Referee: M Edwards