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In Focus: Grecians v. Robins

19 April 2013

Fan and columnist Murry Toms looks ahead to another big weekend in Devon.

What a difference a week makes.

Michael Hector's goal 23 minutes from time delivered the most satisfying result of the campaign against the champions-elect to atone for the horror show in Plymouth.

It brought the feel good factor back to the Abbey Business Stadium and pulled Cheltenham to within two points of third place with two games to play, starting at Exeter City tomorrow.

The Grecians have been edged out of the play-off zone following last weekend's 2-2 draw at AFC Wimbledon, thanks in large part to a splendid brace by Jamie Reid.

But just a point now separates boss Paul Tisdale's side from a top seven spot going into tomorrow's encounter at St James' Park.

If they are to press home their promotion credentials they'll first need to bely a disappointing home record of just seven wins all season.

Only Southend United and bottom club Aldershot Town have won fewer games on their own turf.

And only the basement club have a higher number of home defeats (12) than the Devon side's total of nine, a statistic that has undermined their campaign since August.

They come into this one on the back of two successive home defeats, by Dagenham and Redbridge (0-1) and Rochdale (1-2), in a run of five matches without a win.

Secondly they need to overturn a miserable run of seven league defeats in seven matches against Cheltenham Town stretching back to Boxing Day in 1999.

It has been 11 years since the Robins' last trip to Exeter, when Mark Yates opened the scoring in a 2-0 win en route to play-off success at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium.

The most recent meeting resulted in the widest margin of victory of all, when a goal by Lawson D'Ath and Keith Lowe's brace handed Yates' side a comfortable victory at the end of October.

But this weekend the stats will count for nothing with so much at stake for both clubs.

Cheltenham have been prone to bouts of travel sickness this term, most recently in Devon only a fortnight ago.

Winless in six matches on the road, Yates and his players will be backed by almost a thousand noisy supporters looking to export the Abbey Business Stadium's winning formula down the M5.

We're set for another terrific afternoon.

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