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Match Reports

Fleetwood v. Cheltenham, 26.2.13

26 February 2013

Full-time: Fleetwood Town 1, Robins 1

Cheltenham Town's first visit to Fleetwood Town's Highbury Stadium ended in stalemate on a bitterly cold evening on the Fylde Coast.
Mark Yates' side produced a performance full of verve and attacking intent to carry a well deserved advantage into the break courtesy of Marlon Pack.
The midfielder is enjoying a purple patch of late and provided a spectacular opener here, his fourth goal in a fortnight to hand his side a deserved lead at the interval.
However the Cod Army responded well in the second half and levelled the game through top scorer Junior Brown with a little over 20 minutes remaining.
Both sides had their chances to go on and claim the win they craved after disappointing results in recent weeks. 
But this was another frustrating result for Cheltenham after a much-improved display, the best in some time, to warm the hardy travelling support.
Boss Yates made four changes to the side that returned from Accrington with a point at the weekend.
In came Billy Jones, birthday boy Sam Deering, Russell Penn and Darren Carter in a revamped 4-4-1-1 formation.
Deering was deployed in front of a four-man midfield behind Benson, the lone striker, and it paid dividends with a fine first half performance.
Sido Jombati, Kaid Mohamed, Jermaine McGlashan and Byron Harrison dropped to the bench.
Former Robin Steven Gillespie joined the Fleetwood attack and played an advanced role on the left of a midfield five but was successfully restricted over 90 minutes.
Cheltenham made a positive start to the match and dominated the first half through a combination of slick passing and incisive movement.
At the other end, they defended resolutely to frustrate the home side who picked up two bookings inside the opening 10 minutes.
Deering, Keith Lowe and Jason Taylor all had early chances to break the deadlock before Pack struck in spectacular style with 24 minutes on the clock.
Keith Lowe sent in a searching throw from the right and when the home defence failed to clear their lines, the in-form midfielder was on hand to smash home a fantastic volley from 20 yards.
It was his sixth strike of the season, his 14th for the club and it was no less than his side deserved.
Jean Michel Fontaine should have pulled his side level five minutes later but he met Dean Howell's cross from the left with a wayward header.
Penn almost pulled off an astonishing goal from 40 yards with a little over half an hour played, but his dipping effort dropped the wrong side of the left upright.
Next Deering crowned a fine move down the left with a curling effort from the corner of the penalty area but Scott Davies, the Fleetwood goalkeeper, dived at full stretch to his left to push it wide. Lowe headed over from the subsequent flag-kick.
Scott Brown was called into his first meaningful save on the stroke of half-time to deny Gillespie when he escaped Jones down the Fleetwood right before shooting from the angle.
Fleetwood manager Graham Alexander made his first substitution of the evening, replacing Fontaine with Jon Parkin.
The home side reverted to a 4-4-2 formation for the second period, Gillespie joining the imposing former Hull City, Preston North End and Cardiff City front man in attack.
The new pairing went on to create the first real chance after the restart, Parkin showing his strength to fashion an decent opportunity for Gillespie 12 yards from goal but this time the Liverpudlian headed the chance against Steve Elliott before it was cleared to safety.
The switch of tactics had given the Cod Army a foothold in the game and they were back on terms in the 69th minute courtesy of Alexander's second substitution, top scorer Junior Brown.
It all came about after some sloppy play by Lowe, who cheaply surrendered possession to give Fleetwood the chance to break and ultimately force a corner.
Crowther sent it in from the left, and Brown powered a header past Brown to bring his total of goals for the campaign to eleven in all competitions.
Cheltenham were unlucky not to restore their lead a moment later after some good work by Deering had carved an opportunity for Benson, but Davies produced an instinctive save to thwart the striker from close range.
Taylor was presented with a shooting chance 12 minutes from time, but his well-struck effort from 16 yards flew inches over the bar.
The game was in the balance as it entered its final ten minutes when Yates sent on Jermaine McGlashan at the expense of Darren Carter, but neither side could find a winning goal.

FLEETWOOD TOWN (4-5-1): Davies; McLaughlin, Edwards, Atkinson (c), Howell; Crowther (Ball 79), Nicholson (Brown 60), McKenna, Barry, Gillespie; Fontaine (Parkin 46). Subs not used: Milligan, Matt, Charnock, Lucas (Gk).

CHELTENHAM TOWN (4-4-1-1): Brown; Jombati, Elliott, Hector, Jones; Pack, Taylor, Deering, Carter (McGlashan 86), Penn (c); Benson. Subs not used: Duffy, Roberts (Gk), Harrad, Jombati, Mohamed, Harrison.

REFEREE: Mr J Simpson


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