Ten-man Cheltenham Town Reserves suffered a narrow defeat to Bristol Rovers Development in the Central League – despite a stunning goal from midfielder Jake Andrews.
Andrews, on loan from Bristol City, showcased his set piece prowess by scoring a first half free kick to cancel out the opener from Rovers at the Energy Check Training Ground.
But the sending off of Sanmi Odelusi just before the interval turned the game on its head and despite an impressive show by Rhys Lovett a late goal from Dom Telford won it for Rovers.
The Robins almost made a dream start to the reserve clash after just four minutes when Jerell Sellars unleased a rising shot that Sam Slocombe did well to push around the post.
Rhys Lovett in the home goal also did well after nine minutes when he saved a header from Tom Nichols after he connected with a deep ball from Ryan Sweeney.
Cheltenham went close again, with Slocombe pushing a Danny Wright drive over the top, before Rovers went ahead on 21 minutes when Dom Telford tapped home at the back post.
The Robins hit back with a superb set piece strike from Andrews as he powerfully curled past Slocombe into the top right hand corner.
However, within seconds of the restart the hosts were down to ten men as Odelusi was red carded for a tackle on Luke Russe in the middle of the park.
The remainder of the first half saw the Robins defend well before Elijah Adebayo almost caught Bristol out when he collected George Lloyd’s pass, cut inside and curled a shot just off target.
The home side continued to battle away in the second half while Lovett made a number of solid saves and blocks to deny both Tom Nichols, Bernard Mensah and Russe.
Cheltenham did have the ball in the net after 71 minutes, when Matt Bower poked home Andrews’ cross only to have celebrations cut short by the offside flag.
George Lloyd stole the ball late on and fed Andrews, but he saw his shot blocked by the defender’s legs.
And five minutes from time the visitors secured all three points when Mensah got away down the left and crossed for Telford to find the net.
ROBINS RESERVES: Lovett, Thomas, Bower, Onariase, Davis, Sellars, Andrews, Odelusi, Lloyd, Wright (Llewelyn 64), Adebayo (Dawes 80). Subs not used: Grimshaw (Gk), Brennan, Handley.
BRISTOL ROVERS DEVELOPMENT: Slocombe, Kilgour, Kelly, Clarke (Leigh-Gilchrist 71), Trialist, Sweeney, Mensah, Russe, Telford, Hargreaves, Nichols. Subs not used: Jonkerman, Morgan, Ebbutt, Trialist.