Cheltenham Town end their pre-season with a 1-1 draw at Kayte Lane.
A Cheltenham Town XI drew level with Bishop's Cleeve this evening in what was the club's final pre-season match of the summer.
A strong start from the young Robins wasn't enough to deny Cleeve an opener with Matt Rose stooping low to head past Connor Roberts but a 25 yard effort from Ed Williams caugh Cleeve goalkeeper Nortei out and drew the visitors level. The pace of the first half could not be replicated in the second period and the scoreline remained deadlocked until full time.
The game began on a warm evening up at Kayte Lane, a familiar location for the supporters of Cheltenham Town FC and the away support were treated to a strong start by a team including first team players Connor Roberts, Danny Andrew and Bagasan Graham. Youth team midfielder Joe Hanks and trialist Jordan Hibbert were also on show as they continue to work hard towards a professional contract.
Both Bobbie Dale and Jordan Hibbert had the first efforts of the game albeit not on target but the Robins were applying early pressure on their close neighbours. It was however Bishop's Cleeve that took the lead on 16 minutes when a right wing cross found the stooping header of Matt Rose and his effort evaded Connor Roberts in the Cheltenham goal for 1-0. That goal knocked the Robins off balance and they struggled to get into their rhythm of play for a short while but it could have been worse for Russell Milton's side had Keightley and Roberts not denied Cleeve striker Tambling on a number of occasions.
Cheltenham did get back into their stride towards the end of the half however with Bagasan Graham doing his best to spook the full backs but it was a confident strike from youth team striker Ed Williams that pulled Cheltenham level. Williams caught Nortei well off his line and struck a sweet 20 yarder over the goalkeeper's head and into the top corner for 1-1. A brace of long ranged efforts for Hanks and a wild freekick from Jordan Hibbert threatened to take the lead but Cleeve held on until the break.
Half Time: Bishop's Cleeve 1-1 Cheltenham Town
The second half was a much more sombre affair with both teams making changes throughout the 45 minutes but Cleeve striker Tambling saw an early angled strike fly wide and former Robins youth striker Jake Lee, now a defender, also saw a free header humped over the bar. Cheltenham weren't without their chances and Joe Hanks' deflected shot almost put the Robins ahead but Cleeve were breathing a sigh of relief as they watched the ball sail over the crossbar.
Efforts late on from Danny Andrew and Jordan Hibbert were on target but not precise enough to beat former Cheltenham youth goalkeeper Louie Barnfather in the Cleeve goal who had replaced Nortei earlier in the game. Bishop's Cleeve could have snatched a later winner themselves when manager Alex Sykes, who had replaced Lee Davis, saw a low drive blocked by Luke Hitchman and saved by Connor Roberts.
The game ended with the 1-1 scoreline but with plenty of positives for Russell Milton to take away for his youth players and vital game time for Mark Yates' more senior first teamers. Now for the real fun...
Full Time: Bishop's Cleeve 1-1 Cheltenham Town
Bishop's Cleeve FC (4-4-2): Nortei (GK) (Barnfather 60); Hoyle, Lee, Avery (Crowford 46), Mace; Sankoh (Midwinter 60), Davis (Sykes 78), Rose (O'Neil 60), Gayton (Davis 46); Tambling, Brown (Sercombe 46)
Cheltenham Town FC (4-3-3): Roberts (GK); Thomas (Marshall 60), Gonzalo, Keightley (Hitchman 63), Andrew (C); Hibbert, Powell (Bowen 76), Hanks; E. Williams (Donaghue 72), Dale (H. Williams 60), Graham
Subs not used: Reaney (GK)
Robins Star Man: Joe Hanks - The young midfielder coped well with some strong competitors in midfield and linked up play well.