Full Time: Robins 2-1 TorquayAfter the excitement of transfer deadline day Cheltenham hosted Torquay with a chance to do business on the pitch and they certainly did just that, showing their talent and capabilities.
This afternoon gave debut starts for Michael Hector, Jason Taylor and Paul Benson as Mark Yates made three changes to the side which drew against Rochdale. Billy Jones is currently out with a light thigh injury so Sido Jombati moved to the left hand side of defence, with Lowe moving to right-back. Hector partnered Elliott in the centre of defence after Bennett's departure, while Taylor played alongside Penn and Benson supported Harrad up front in a 4-4-2 formation.
There was a chill in the air but with the sun shining, it was perfect conditions for football and Cheltenham settled early in front of their own fans with the new boys quickly finding their feet.
Benson, on loan from Swindon Town, nearly assisted Harrad after only two minutes. Mohamed headed the ball towards the back post after a McGlashan cross and he found Benson unmarked. His slow shot, probably going in, was poked over the line by Harrad who was unfortunately offside.
Cheltenham were certainly up for this game, linking well and passing the ball around nicely. Twelve minutes in and Poke was forced into a decent save in the Torquay goal. Mohamed picked the ball back up on the left after his initial corner, and ran inside towards the edge of the box. With many anticipating the shot, he passed to Hector at the back post, who from a tight angle, turned and shot but the keeper used his legs to deny the Robins from taking an early lead.
Minutes later and Mohamed could have had another assist. In the absence of Jones, he whipped in a fine free kick which fell to the head of Lowe, but he headed narrowly wide of the far post. Torquay, who beat Exeter 1-0 earlier in the week, weren't without their presence though and Howe forced a good diving save by Brown from a tight angle, and Jombati cleared before a Gulls player had the chance to follow up.
Torquay captain Lee Mansell then volleyed wide after Steve Elliott's attempted hoofed clearance but the strike needed better technique. Torquay then thought they had a penalty, appealing for handball by Hector who blocked Damon Lathrope's flick on but their appeals were turned down by referee Carl Berry.
But for all of Cheltenham's great football they always looked likely to score. Mohamed's delightful corner just after the half hour mark found Keith Lowe in the box again, who this time found no trouble in powering a header into the back of the net, the defender now with five goals for the season. It was in fact Lowe's third goal against Devon opposition this season, having scored twice against Exeter in October.
It was a really good first half for the Robins and Mohamed in particular who could have added to the scoreline. With Cheltenham on the front-foot he went on a nice run and tried a 20-yard effort but the keeper saved comfortably and with little pressure from Torquay, the Robins looked comfortable as the half came to a close.
Half-time: Cheltenham Town 1-0 Torquay United
The Robins came out in the second half as they ended the first and almost doubled their lead immediately when Harrad flicked the ball on beyond the far post, but two minutes following that the striker finally found the target. McGlashan took the ball down the right hand side and passed to Harrad who, after a nice turn, fired into the goal to put the Robins 2-0 ahead as the hosts took full control.
Cheltenham continued to pile on the pressure and tried their luck from range. Firstly Harrad forced Poke to parry with a 20-yard strike, who then could have turned provider when Mohamed headed his cross wide. Taylor unleashed a strong shot shortly after which Poke turned excellently onto the bar.
Mohamed was still desperately trying to add to the scoring but his long range free kick went just wide of Poke's right hand post, and substitute Darryl Duffy poked the ball wide when one-on-one.
Torquay, though quiet for most of the game, grabbed a late goal of their own. A tame shot by Howe was saved by Brown, but the keeper was unable to hold onto the ball and it span across the line, but even with the five minutes added time, the Robins held on to secure the points and can be proud of their play this afternoon.
Full-time: Cheltenham Town 2-1 Torquay United
Cheltenham Town FC (4-4-2): Brown (GK); Lowe, Hector, Elliott, Jombati; McGlashan, Taylor, Penn, Mohamed (Carter 83); Benson (Harrison 77), Harrad (Duffy 77)
Subs not used: Roberts (GK), McCullough, Hanks, Deering
Torquay United FC (4-2-3-1):Poke (GK); Oastler (Cruise 76), Saah, Downes, Nicholson; Lathrope, Mansell; Bodin, Jarvis, Craig (Macklin 66); Howe
Subs not used: Rice (GK), MacDonald, Easton, Stevens, Yeoman
Attendance: 2961 (389 Torquay)
Referee: Carl Berry
Star Man: Kaid Mohamed