Battling Robins dig deep but unable to find the killer touch.A draw here at Adams Park but it could have been much more for Cheltenham had they taken vital chances on goal and they take just the one point.
It had been a nightmare start for the Robins after Keith Lowe turned the ball into his own goal but Cheltenham settled straight away and dominated proceedings before grabbing an equaliser from the penalty spot courtesy of Shaun Harrad. Mark Yates' Robins couldn't grab the lead they perhaps deserved and the game trailed off for a 1-1 draw although the performance will have pleased the backroom staff.
Mark Yates made three changes to his starting eleven on this gorgeous sun soaked afternoon at Adams Park. Keith Lowe, Darren Carter and Sam Deering replaced Harry Hooman, Russ Penn and Chris Zebroski respectively in what was a return to the team's more common 4-2-3-1 system. It was Carter's first start for the Robins but the both Keith Lowe and Marlon Pack were also making their 100th appearances (league and cup inc. subs) for the club.
There was a real intent from Cheltenham to get off to a good start today and a few searching runs down the right wing but it was Wycombe that made a superb start to this game albeit coming courtesy of a Cheltenham player. Joel Grant's storming run down the wing had Cheltenham backheeling and his low cross into the box meant for Kuffour was turned into the back of the net by the returning Keith Lowe for an own goal and an early lead for the Chairboys. It was a disastrous start for Cheltenham Town but they did seem to settle somewhat after the goal and Shaun Harrad came close to an equaliser on 10 minutes with a headed effort from Jones' cross. In truth there was some really good movement up front for the Robins and Sam Deering came close with a well worked attack but his final effort was just wide of the post. Another good counter from the Robins saw Pack break loose down the right before spraying his pass to Darren Carter in a central position but his effort was well blocked and Mohamed could only steer the rebound into the arms of Nikki Bull.
There was a setback for Wycombe on 21 minutes when Dennis Oli caught his ankle in the pitch and had to be subbed off with that injury. Cheltenham Town continued to press for the equaliser with decent shots on goal from both Marlon Pack and Sam Deering but Wycombe were managing to hold onto their lead by the skin of their teeth. A superb strike from McGlashan stung the palms of Bull midway through the half as the Robins continued to bombard the Chairboys goal. Darren Carter produced a fine volley on 35 minutes to record yet another shot on target and surely it would have only been a matter of time before the Robins had grabbed a deserved goal. That hefty possession finally paid off when Marlon Pack, who was having a solid game, was brought down inside the area by Stuart Lewis. Shaun Harrad was the man to be nominated for the spot kick and the striker made no mistake with a sublime penalty leaving Bull with no chance. It was no mare than the Robins deserved since conceding and it just got worse for Wycombe with Matt Spring being forced off with injury to be replaced by Gareth Ainsworth.
Four minutes were added on towards the end of this first half mainly due to Wycombe's bad luck with injuries but those few minutes only added to the tension inside the Wycombe defence as the Robins continued to rally forward but the Chairboys did hang on until the break eager for a re-shuffle.
Half Time: Wycombe Wanderers 1-1 Cheltenham Town
Cheltenham needed more of the same in this second half and they had an early shot just fly wide as Jermaine McGlashan continued to haunt his defensive opponents. That effort was followed up by a wayward Shaun Harrad shot but the ball was most definitely being played in Cheltenham's court. Wycombe seemed all over the place in the earl stages of this half and Cheltenham were feeding off it by frustrating the hosts with a decent passing game and that style of play eventually led to a yellow card for Stuart Lewis after a late challenge on Marlon Pack. That yellow was swiftly followed by another booking when Mohamed was adjudged to have fouled Ainsworth although the veteran winger looked suspiciously like he was heading down to ground already. Wycombe weren't out of the game despite Cheltenham's possession and Jo Kuffour was ensuring he wasn't lost in the memory of the Cheltenham defence with an ambitious 30 yard strike that could only strike the home fans in the stand behind the goal.
Wycombe had slowly got themselves back into this match but were yet to make a meaningful attack on goal and Cheltenham continued to control proceedings. Jermaine McGlashan was withdrawn on 69 minutes and replaced by Chris Zebroski probably due to the amount of decision he wasn't getting from the referee this afternoon. Jeff Goulding was the next substitute replacing Sam Deering in the attacking midfield role and that was quickly followed by a yellow card for Steve Elliott who 'took one for the team' bringing a Wycombe counter attack to a swift end. The Chairboys were getting more confident in the attack and Sido Jombati pulled off a necessary clearing header off his line on 77 minutes to deny another Wycombe goal. Shaun Harrad was replaced by Darryl Duffy on 78 minutes as Mark Yates continued to look for the deserved lead and three points.
Wycombe were having their best spell of the match towards the end of this game and surprise surprise it was because Ainsworth was having a stormer on the right wing but despite that Cheltenham kept searching and had Jeff Goulding made more of his 20 yard shot on 85 minutes then they may have been celebrating. That opportunity came and went however but the forward had another shot minutes after having outmuscled Leon Johnson but Bull made a terrific save to deny the Robins. There was one final opportunity for Cheltenham as the long ball dropped right in front of Zebroski but his effort on Bull's goal was wide and unfortunately it proved to be a missed chance. The final shot of the game was Jeff Goulding as the striker found the ball drop nicely to him from the corner but his effort was over the bar and wasted. Cheltenham had perhaps deserved the win from this game but they failed to make opportunities count and had to settle for a point this afternoon.
Full Time: Wycombe Wanderers 1-1 Cheltenham Town
Wycombe Wanderers FC (4-4-2): Bull (GK); Dunne, Doherty (C), Johnson, Parsons; Lewis, Spring (Ainsoworth 40), Kewley-Graham, Grant; Kuffour, Oli (Logan 21)
Subs not used: Ingram (GK), Foster, Basey, Winfield, Angol
Cheltenham Town FC (4-2-3-1): Brown (GK); Jombati, Lowe, Elliott, Jones; Carter, Pack; McGlashan (Zebroski 69), Deering (Goulding 74), Mohamed; Harrad (Duffy 78)
Subs not used: Roberts (GK), Andrew, Hooman, Penn, Graham
Referee: Mr. Darren Sheldrake
Attendance: 3,667 (TBC from Cheltenham)
Robins Star Man: Darren Carter - His first start and 90 minutes for the club but he dictated everything in midfield along with Marlon Pack.