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Official Blog, 19.12.13

19 December 2013

Robins fan Will Edden discusses a frustrating weekend for Cheltenham fans in this week's official blog.

Frustration was the word on most Robins supporters lips on Saturday evening. 

Like fourteen stone strikers rolling around on the floor when they've been breathed on, referees that casually wave play on after a defenders just juggled the ball out of the six yard box, and stewards that tell you to sit down as you innocently stand up to go to the toilet – giving away a 2-0 half time lead is frustrating and infuriating.

At half time on Saturday I made the cardinal sin of assuring my mate that this game was 'in the bag'. Myself and a couple of thousand other Cheltenham fans then looked on in horror as a rogue gust blew a long goal kick through our windswept defence to allow Jonathan Franks to apply a simple finish. From that moment on it felt almost inevitable that we'd surrender the three points to make it a textbook game of two halves. Mark Yates said that ''we didn't play the conditions'', but the injury to Kemar Roofe was the turning point in my opinion. The withdrawal of the loan striker saw us lose the initiative and we couldn't rediscover the sparkle that had seen us produce one of our best first half displays of the season.

Despite the obvious frustration yet another draw brings, we should still look at the positives. The point against Hartlepool extends our unbeaten run to nine games – six draws and three victories. Clearly the smart money at the moment is on us to draw – but the diamond formation, or the seasonal Christmas tree that some had us lining up in – is making us hard to beat and the first half performance on Saturday shows that we have the firepower to make things happen. The addition of Jermaine McGlashan to the strike force has given our attack a new edge. Our front trio of McGlashan, Byron Harrison and Kemar Roofe showed speed, power and movement and we looked as dangerous as I've seen us in a long time. With Terry Gornell and Jamie Cureton to call on we look like we finally have a potent front line that could cause problems for any League Two defence.

If we can build on the positives week by week then a Christmas charge up the League Two table isn't unthinkable, but interestingly, you could argue that our current position of 13th is about par. Paul Baker revealed this week that Cheltenham Town have the 12th highest playing budget in League Two. Surely this shows that we have no divine right to be competing in the play-offs every season – and perhaps the management here get a hard time considering the job they've done over the past couple of years. 

Some may accuse me of wearing 'rose-tinted' glasses but at this level of football you have to be realistic. There's no guarantee of success in football, and for a team with the 12th highest playing budget in the league and that had the 15th highest average home attendance last season, sitting comfortably in mid-table is no disgrace.

Obviously we want to be better than mid-table, and with this seasons League Two table closer than ever, any team putting a run together has half a chance. There are four important games over the festive period starting with Fleetwood this coming Saturday. We thumped Wycombe 4-0 on Boxing Day 2012 and that's the sort of convincing home win we've been crying out for this season. Hopefully the team will finally get some back to back wins to give us something to cheer about and if we can finish 2013 in the manner that we started it, we can look forward to 2014 with quiet optimism!

To read more from the Official Blog writers Will Edden and Matt Pegg, click here or head to the official blog link under the 'News' tab above.

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