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Mangos 2, Robins XI 1

18 April 2013

A young Robins side were knocked out of the County Cup at the hands of Mangotsfield United.

A goal in each half sealed a place in the Final of the Gloucestershire Senior Challenge Cup for the home side. 

Dave Stone scored the opener for the home side on the half hour in a first half that offered few clear cut chances for either side.

The Robins drew level quarter of an hour after the restart courtesy of an own goal from Mangos defender Ryan Bennett and the game looked to be destined for penalties.

That was until Lee Marshall scored the winning goal, 10 minutes from time, that earned Mangotsfield United a Cup Final fixture against either Bristol Rovers or Cinderford Town.

Russell Milton fielded a young Robins side away from home at Cossham Street, midfielder Joe Hanks was the only player with first team experience named in the squad that travelled.

The Robins started brightly with an early shot for Joe Hanks and Zack Kotwica making a bright run into the Mangos 18-yard box.

Kotwica caused the home side problems once again after 20 minutes, he picked up the ball in midfield and ran at the Mangotsfield back line before unleashing a right footed shot that forced a strong save from former Gloucester City keeper Kevin Sawyer diving to his left.

The home side came into the game well after a good start from Cheltenham. The youthful visitors were solid in defence limiting Mangotsfield to half chances and two shots off target from long range.

However, they took the lead just after the half hour. Ryan Bath looped a pass over the Robins back-line into the path of Mangos striker Dave Stone who remained composed to chip the ball over an on-rushing Harvey Rovers in the Cheltenham goal.

They continued to apply the pressure up until half time as Harvey Rivers was called into action to twice deny striker Stone.

Half Time > Mangotsfield United 1 - 0 Cheltenham Town

The Robins almost levelled immediately after the restart, Harry Williams looped a right footed shot at goal from 20-yards out that floated just over the Mangos crossbar.

James Bowen was involved shortly after. The left back, who normally plays on the wing, got forward to force a solid save from Sawyer with a decent attempt on goal.

The Robins equalised just after the hour mark, a quickly taken throw was crossed into the box by Zack Kotwica. Ryan Bennett miscued his header past Sawyer in the Mangotsfield goal and into his own net.

The game looked to be destined for penalties but the scores weren't level for long as the home side regained the lead through Lee Marshall. Shaun Lamb's shot was cleared off the line by Joe Hanks but as the young Cheltenham side struggled to clear their lines and the ball bounced around the Robins 18-yard box, Marshall was on hand to roll the ball into the back of the net from 12 yards out.

Zach Kirkpatrick-Jones should have levelled the game for the second time with eight minutes remaining. Bobby Dale's low cross fell kindly to the winger but he was unable to place his shot either side of the keeper and it was easy for the former Gloucester City shot-stopper Sawyer to collect.

Dave Stone almost doubled his tally for the evening as the game drew to a close, one-on-one with the keeper his shot beat Rivers but couldn't find it's way into the goal as it slammed against the Robins upright.

The game ended with chances for both sides. With a minute remaining, Joe Hanks broke through the home sides defence but will have been disappointed not to have beaten the Mangos keeper from a one-on-one position. Harry Williams was able to follow up the chance well but his effort was blocked clear by the home defence.

Full Time > Mangotsfield United 2 - 1 Cheltenham Town

Youth Team Manager Russell Milton was disappointed with the result after the game but was pleased with his teams performance.

"I thought we did really well, the boys stood up to the test. We should have won the game.

"We gifted them two goals, the only times they were in our box was when they scored. I can't remember Harvey [Rivers] ever having to make a save."

"Their keeper has made a great save from [Joe] Hanksy right at the end.

"It was good for them to play a different way, the games not always about pretty football. The pitch wasn't the best, the ball was bouncing all over the place, it was windy and they stood up to it and did all I asked."

Mangotsfield United XI: Sawyer, Hiroli, Lamb, Marshall, Bennett, Tooze, Monelle (Thorne '73), Dunn (c), Bath, Stone,  Parinello

Mangotsfield United Subs: Duharty, Arndale, Hunt, Walker.

Cheltenham Town XI: Rivers, Keightley, Hamilton, Gonzalo, Bowen; Kirkpatrick-Jones, H. Williams, Hanks, E. Williams, Kotwica; Dale.

Cheltenham Town Subs: Whitehead, Powell.

Attendance: 68

Referee: Lee Sheridan

Assistant Referees: Oliver Spender, Edward Watson, Paul Huntley.

Star Player: Zack Kotwica

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