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Full-time: Cheltenham 0-3 Accrington

1 September 2012

Robins suffer first defeat of the season at the Abbey Business Stadium

Cheltenham Town surrendered their unbeaten start to the season to Accrington Stanley following this below-par display at the Abbey Business Stadium. 

All the damage was done in the first half, leaking two sloppy goals before the break to leave Mark Yates' side with everything to do in the second.

Accrington Stanley's uncompromising brand of counter-attacking football served them well and they went on to put this one out of sight within 80 seconds of the restart.

Cheltenham were quite simply well below their best in every department here, producing a meek performance which was at odds to their encouraging displays of late.

Plenty then for the manager to ponder on as he prepares for next weekend's tricky trip to Wycombe Wanderers.

Yates made one change to the side which defeated Aldershot Town seven days ago, handing Kaid Mohamed his first start of the campaign at the expense of Jeff Goulding.

The striker, who started at the EBB Stadium last weekend, joined Darren Carter, Darryl Duffy and Alan Bennett on the substitutes' bench.

The switch resulted in a change of formation, with the winger pressed into action on the left wing to supply the strike pairing of Chris Zebroski and Shaud Harrad.

The latter claimed his third goal in as many games in a lone role against the Shots but operated ahead of a midfield four on a fine, late summer's afternoon in Gloucestershire.

Cheltenham made the worse possible start, conceding as early as the fourth minute after a catstrophic error by Harry Hooman.

Lee Molyneux lumped a long ball over the top but under little pressure, the centre half made a hash of his clearance allowing Padraig Amond to charge in on goal.

Scott Brown dashed to narrow the angle but the Irish striker took full advantage, slotting the ball under the goalkeeper to hand his side the early lead.

Romuald Boco tried his luck from 20 yards five minutes later, but Brown was equal to it.

Harrod hooked wide Cheltenham's first chance of the afternoon with 13 minutes on the clock, but they struggled to find their feet after the early blow and it was the Lancashire side which created the next openings.

Will Hatfield drew a save from Brown with a dipping curler from the corner of the box, while Molyneux slammed one wide from distance.

At the other end Zebroski called Ian Dunbavin into a comfortable save from an angle 20 yards out.

Then Jombati threaded a ball into the path of Harrod, but the striker pulled his shot wide of the target.

There was an opening for Mohamed mid-way through the first half, but despite beating a couple of the defenders to make the area he was unable to get a shot away, the ball squirming into the air.

It fell nicely enough for McGlashan, but the winger's well-struck volley from 12 yards was kept out by Dunbavin's wonderful one-handed save.

Things though went from bad to worse 12 minutes before the break when George Miller doubled his side's advantage after a passage of poor defending by the home side.

Billy Jones failed to deal with a long ball forward, leaving Steve Elliott to concede a corner which Hatfield sent in from the left. 

The Cheltenham defence failed to clear their lines, allowing the Accrington front man to pick out Miller at the second attempt who drilled the ball through the conjested penalty area and past Brown from 16 yards.

Zebroski created a chance with half-time approaching, lifting one in from the left towards McGlashan who found Mohamed but the winger's shot was deflected into Dunbavin's midriff for a comfortable save.

Cheltenham left themselves with a mountain to climb only 80 seconds after the restart, shipping the third after creating a promising attack of their own.

Accrington quickly turned defence into attack, forcing another mistake from Hooman and the ball fell kindly to Hatfield, who released Boco down the right.

Again Brown raced off his line to shrink the target but pacey wideman applied a cool finish past Brown to leave Yates in dispair.

Miller was a coat of pain away from making it four a moment later, his drive fading wide at the last moment.

McGlashan fashioned his side's first opening of the second period with some trickery down the right to force an opening for Harrad but the striker couldn't find the target on the turn.

Yates made his first change with an hour played, swapping Mohamed with Duffy who summed up his side's performance with a lacklustre attempt to reach Harrad's delivery from the right a moment later.

The Scot then poked one wide with 65 minutes on the clock after Jones had swung in a corner from the left.

Next Zebroski and Duffy combined to tee up Harrad, but Dunbavin got down well to turn the low effort around for a corner.

Hatfield was presented with the opportunity to head home his side's fourth 15 minutes from time but Brown parried to safety.

The home faithful caught their first glimpse of Carter shortly afterwards, who replaced Russ Penn in midfield while Harrad made way for Sam Deering as Yates made his final changes.

But the substitutes failed to make an impression as a disappointing afternoon drew to a close.

CHELTENHAM TOWN (4-4-2): Brown; Jombati, Hooman, Elliott, Jones; McGlashan, Penn (Carter 76), Pack, Mohamed (Duffy 60); Zebroski, Harrad (Deering 76). Subs not used: Lowe, Goulding, Roberts (Gk), Bennett.

ACCRINGTON STANLEY (4-2-3-1): Dunbavin; Winnard, Nsiala, Murphy, Liddle; Joyce (c), Miller; Boco, Molyneux (Barnett 57); Hatfield, Amond (Sheppard 82).  Subs not used: Lindfield, Chippendale, Dicon, Gray, Dawber (Gk).

REFEREE: Tony Harrington

ATTENDANCE: 2,708 (55 from Accrington)

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