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Match Reports

Cheltenham v. Bristol Rovers, 5.3.13

5 February 2013

Full Time: Robins 1-1- Rovers

Bristol Rovers' last minute equaliser restricted the Robins to a single point from this evening's west country derby.

The home side took the lead on the brink of half time when Shaun Harrad fired home after Kaid Mohamed's deflected shot fell kindly to him.

But it was Bristol Rovers who will leave the ground the happier of the two-sides. Oliver Norburn scored one of the goals of the season from over 30 yards out with the final kick of the game to seal a point for the visitors.

Mark Yates's new signings that started against Torquay United on Saturday kept their place in the starting line-up as the Robins gaffer named an unchanged side for tonight's local derby. Connor Roberts is the only player missing from Saturday's squad as he joins up with the Welsh u21 squad and is replaced by Marlon Pack who trained with the side yesterday after his proposed move to Swindon Town fell through.

John Ward returned to Whaddon Road this evening for the first time as an opposing manager. John managed Cheltenham Town between November 2004 and October 2007 and led the Robins to promotion into league one in 2006. He has inspired a turn around in fortunes for Rovers, who are now out of the relegation zone and have won their last three games scoring eight goals in the process.

It was Bristol Rovers that started the half the brighter side as their wide-men Anyinsah and Woodards troubled the Cheltenham defence. Rovers fist chance fell to O'Toole, his shot just inside the box forced an excellent save from Brown who parried the ball away from danger diving to his left. 

Tom Parkes' continued their early dominance, turning a low Rovers corner goalwards only to be denied by the legs of the Robins' number one.

Cheltenham weathered the early storm from Rovers and their first opportunity came midway through the half. Lowe found Benson on the edge of the box with his back to goal, he looped the ball square to Harrad but he could only volley straight into the arms of Rovers keeper Mildenhall. The Robins pressure continued as Elliott got on the end of Mohamed's corner, his looping header forced a goal line clearance from Michael Smith.

The home side were the first to break the deadlock as Shaun Harrad's first time shot snuck just inside the post for his 10th goal of the season.

With half-time fast approaching, Mohamed received the ball on the edge of the 18-yard box, he took a touch inside and his left footed shot deflected into the path of Harrad who fired the Robins in front.

Half-time: Robins 1-0 Rovers

The opening to the second half almost mirrored the end of the first. Jason Taylor gained possesion just inside the Rovers half, advancing through the midfield he shrugged off challenges from the visiting defence but under pressure he couldn't manage to get his shot on target from 25-yards.

The Robins early pressure continued as McGlashan forced a point blank save from Steve Mildenhall. The winger struggled to control Mohamed's cross from the right but with the ball on the deck he turned to face goal and fired straight at the Rovers keeper.

However, Rovers were by no means out of it. Norburn's agile run ended on the edge of the Cheltenham 18-yard box as his squared pass tee'd up O'Toole who drilled his shot inches wide of Scott Brown's left upright.  O'Toole had a similar shot moments later but forced Scott Brown to get a hand to it second time round as he dived to his left.

The end of the half was an end to end affair. Elliot Richards volleyed a shot wide of goal from 20-yards before Keith Lowe headed a deeply crossed corner past the post. 

The home side again came close to doubling their advantage. Lowe's cross fell to the feet of Mohamed in front of goal but was pounced upon by Rovers keeper Steve Mildenhall. At the other end, Richards' received the ball from O'Toole but his flicked shot failed to test Scott Brown in the Robins goal.

Bristol Rovers emerged victorious on Friday night with a stoppage time goal and it was a last minute goal that earned the visitors a point tonight. 

Oliver Norburn received the ball 35-yards from goal and with the last kick of the game scored one of the goals of the season. His right footed strike from just over 30-yards crept under the crossbar past the arm of an outstretched Brown.

Full-time: Robins 1-1 Rovers

Cheltenham Town FC (4-4-2): Brown; Lowe, Hector, Elliott, Jombati; Mohamed (Deering ' 89), Penn, Taylor, McGlashan; Benson (Harrison ' 80), Harrad (Carter '73).

Subs not used: McCullough, Hanks, Pack, Duffy.

Bristol Rovers FC (4-5-1): Mildenhall; Smith, Parkes, McChrystal, Brown; Anyinsah (Hitchcock '78), Clucas (Richards '70), Norburn, O'Toole Woodards (Broghammer '54); Brunt.

Subs not used: Clarkson, E. Harrison, Gough, McDonald.

Attendance: 4,463 (1,416 away fans)

Referee: David Phillips

Star Man: Keith Lowe

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