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06 January 2024 Venue The Completely-Suzuki Stadium Attendance

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English Football League - League One

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Match Reports

Report and reaction: Robins 2-1 Portsmouth

6 January 2024

Liam Sercombe’s second half brace inspired Cheltenham Town to a special 2-1 comeback victory over League One leaders Portsmouth at the Completely-Suzuki Stadium.

A quiet first half kicked off proceedings before the visitors took the lead four minutes into the second period.

This spurred the Robins into life and within a matter of minutes a pair of Sercombe goals had Darrell Clarke’s team ahead.

“I think that’s our best win yet especially when you put in the circumstances of the injuries we’ve got, illness in the camp and Will Ferry has had to come off his sickbed and play the majority of the game,” said Clarke post-match.

“The way the boys put their bodies on the line was absolutely tremendous and delighted to go a goal down and to come back and win the game.

“We rode our luck at times and you need that as I think that was the best team, we’ve played in the league so far.”

Chances were few and far between in the opening period with the Robins having the first clear opportunity as George Lloyd picked out Aidan Keena on the penalty spot but his shot was blocked.

Soon after Pompey started to assert themselves with Marlon Pack orchestrating play in the middle as his fizzed switch of play picked out Abu Kamara before Pack’s shot was a tame one which Luke Southwood easilt held.

After the first half drought, the goals flowed in the early moments of the second half as the visitors took the lead after Paddy Lane’s low cross deflected off a couple of bodies before being diverted past Southwood by the unfortunate Tom Bradbury.

An immediate response came from the Robins however with a long throw from Will Ferry causing chaos in the Pompey box before Sercombe was on hand to steer the ball into the far corner.

The turnaround was completed three minutes later when Lloyd forced Conor Shaughnessy into an error and Sercombe capitalised on the loose ball, firing a ruthless finish into the roof of the net.

With half an hour remaining, Pompey went on the hunt for an equaliser with Joe Rafferty’s cross dribbled agonisingly across the goal for the visitors.

Soon after a bouncing cross picked out Colby Bishop but he couldn’t control his header as it flew over the crossbar.

Crosses continued to rain down on the Robins box with Kamara’s early ball picking out Bishop who this time couldn’t bring the ball under control.

With added on time up, the Robins had to withstand one more Rafferty cross but again Bishop’s header cleared the upright.

CHELTENHAM TOWN (3-5-2): Southwood; Smith, Davies, Bradbury; Long (c), Sercombe (Thompson 64), Pett, Bonds, B. Williams (Ferry 31); Lloyd, Keena (Butler-Oyedeji 80). Subs not used: Pardington (Gk), Horton, Liggett, King

PORTSMOUTH (4-2-3-1): Norris; Rafferty, Raggett, Shaughnessy, Sparkes (Saydee 77); Morrell, Pack; Kamara, Whyte (Scully 84), Lane; Bishop. Subs not used: Schofield (Gk), Towler, Devlin, Lowery, Martin


ATTENDANCE: 5,561 (1,517 from Portsmouth)

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