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Match Reports

Cheltenham v. Hartlepool, 14.12.13

14 December 2013

Full Time: Robins 2, Hartlepool 2

Hartlepool came back from a two goal deficit to deny Cheltenham Town all three points at the Abbey Business Stadium.

Jonathan Franks was introduced to the starting lineup by Pools manager Colin Cooper and his second half brace cancelled out goals from Jermaine McGlashan and Kemar Roofe.

McGlashan opened the scoring inside four minutes as he capitalised on a defensive error to slot home from a narrow angle and Roofe's looping header doubled the Robins lead before half time.

But Cheltenham struggled in the second half as the Pools changed formation and tightened up further. 

The visitors coped better in deteriorating conditions and Flinders assist, helped on by the wind enabled Franks to slot home his first goal of the afternoon. 

His second goal from 20-yards out found the back of the net with a helping hand from the upright.

Jamie Cureton was introduced in the latter stages as the Robins hoped for an equaliser but three minutes of additional time wasn't enough for either side to score a vital winner and earn all three points.

The draw extends the Robins unbeaten league run to eight games, having not lost in the league since the middle of October.

Mark Yates was able to name an unchanged side to the one that earned all three-points against Morecambe last weekend.

There were no injury concerns for the Robins boss despite a sickness bug that affected the training ground earlier this week. 

Pools manager Colin Cooper made three changes to his starting eleven as Franks, Holden and Sweeney were deployed in a new 3-5-2 formation.

Cooper made the bold decision to leave out Pools top scorer Luke James. The striker starts on the bench, as the visiting side attempted to tighten up at the back following three games without a win.

However, Hartlepool looked vulnerable on the flanks as McGlashan and Roofe both looked to expose holes in the visiting defence.

The Robins capitalised on their early pressure as Jermaine McGlashan opened the scoring inside four minutes.

Operating as a striker, McGlashan took advantage of a defensive mishap as Scott Flinders failed to claim a long ball over the top of the Pools back line. He slotted into an open net from the narrowest of angles.  

Scott Brown was in fine form to deny Monkhouse following the restart. His header looked destined for the bottom corner of Brown's net after Jonathan Franks' cross but the ever present keeper was down quickly to his left to claw the ball away from goal.

Yates' men continued to find themselves in dangerous positions as they looked to exploit the space behind Pools' wing backs. 

The visitors struggled to cope but Christian Burgess was performing admirably in defence to cut out crosses on numerous occasions. 

Where Pools looked poor in defence, the formation meant they looked dangerous in attack and were able to create plenty of space with an extra man in attack going forward.

Franks would have hoped to test the keeper from 25-yards out as space opened in front of him but the striker could only drag his strike wide.

The visitors grew as the game progressed and Brown was on hand to deny Monkhouse again as the striker headed straight at Yates' first choice shot stopper.

The Robins were able to stifle the Pools pressure with 10 minutes remaining of the half.

David Noble was heavily involved in neat, patient and intricate passing that led to Cheltenham's second goal. He was instrumental during the phase of play and it was his cross that found Roofe 10 yards from goal. His header looped over flinders to double the Robins lead.

It was the West Brom loanee's first goal in a ruby shirt and the first goal of his senior career.

McGlashan continued to try and find gaps in the Pools defence as the half came to a close but was often denied at the last opportunity following neat footwork and excellent agility to find space amongst the visiting defence.

And on the brink of half time, the visiting fans rose to their fee at Jonathan Franks rifled into the back of the net. 

The referee quickly silenced the visitors celebrations as the linesman raised his flag above his head to indicate a Simon Walton foul on Craig Braham-Barrett.

Half Time: Cheltenham Town 2-0 Hartlepool United

Cheltenham struggled with the conditions as they attacked into the wind in the second half.

Hartlepool utilised the wind as the found their way back into the game eight minutes after half time. 

Scott Flinders lengthy, wind assisted, kick from hands, outfoxed Sido Jombati and fell to the feet of Jonathan Franks who slotted past Brown in the Cheltenham net with ease. 

When Yates' men kept the ball on the floor they looked a much better side. But those phases of play were few and far between. 

Cheltenham were reliant on scrappy half chances and defensive errors.

Taylor shot high and wide of the far post from edge of 18-yards, Harrison fired into the side netting from the floor and McGlashan outpaced his defender to round Flinders as he looked to take advantage of a poor clearance but couldn't repeat the narrow angled strike that gave the Robins the lead early in the first half.

A determined Hartlepool looked much better in possession and levelled the game with 20 minutes remaining.

Jonathan Franks found space 20-yards from goal, surrounded by ruby shirts and was able to get away a shot. His effort beat Brown and left Robins fans with their hearts in their throats as his strike hit the post before trickling over the line. 

The visitors promptly began searching for another as centre back Christian Burgess had Scott Brown scrambling towards his far post with an ambitious overhead kick.

Like many matches at  the Abbey Business Stadium, this fixture looked set for a last gasp winner.

Yates replaced Richards with Cureton in anticipation of a goalscoring opportunity however three minutes of additional time were not sufficient to produce a winner from either side.

Full Time: Cheltenham Town 2-2 Hartlepool United

Cheltenham Town FC (4-4-2 Diamond): S. Brown, Jombati, Elliott, T. Brown, Braham-Barrett; Noble, Taylor, Roofe (Penn '46), Richards (Cureton '83); McGlashan, Harrison. 

Subs not used: Deering, Gornell, Roberts (GK), Goldson, Ajala.

Hartlepool United FC (3-5-2): Flinders; Duckworth, Baldwin, Burgess; Austin, Holden (Compton '46), Walton, Dolan, Sweeney (Poole '65); Monkhouse, Franks.

Subs not used: Rafferty (GK), Collins, Walker, Compton, Poole, Rodney, James.

Referee: Mr. Steven Rushton

Attendance: 2491 (155 Visiting Supporters)

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