First half goals from Sam Deering and Matt Richards earn the Robins victory in the Golden Valley derby.Two first half goals secured victory for the Robins against Gloucester City in the Golden Valley derby.
Sam Deering opened the scoring within five minutes of the kick off. Keith Lowe and Jamie Cureton linked up well and enabled Deering to put the finishing touch to an excellent passage of play. Summer signing Matt Richards doubled the lead inside 20 minutes with n unstoppable left footed strike.
Joe Parker pulled a goal back for the visitors mid-way through the second half, but it wasn't enough to avoid defeat in the Robins third pre-season friendly.
The Robins starting 11 included three of Mark Yates' six summer signings. Jamie Cureton started the fixture looking for his third goal in successive games at the top of the field. Matt Richards joins Town's skin head midfield alongside Jason Taylor and Russ Penn whilst Troy Brown slots into central defence alongside the ever-present Steve Elliott.
Former Robin Ashley Vincent and loan signing Craig Braham-Barrett were on lookers from the bench as the match kicked off, only having signed for Cheltenham in the last seven days. Terry Gornell also featured on the team sheet but didn't make it onto the field of play.
First year proffessionals, Joe Hanks and Ed Williams didn't feature after playing for the Youth Team this morning in a 3-1 win against Notts County. However, youth team player Zack Kowica started on the bench for the Robins.
Gloucester City handed former Cheltenham Town trialist James Bittner an opportunity in goal this weekend following his release from Hereford. Left back Sam Rawlings was also a scholar with the Cheltenham Town academy.
It didn't take long for the match to spark into life as Sam Deering opened the scoring inside five minutes.
Keith Lowe started the move on the right side of midfield before finding Jamie Cureton in the 18-yard box. His neat lay-off fell kindly to Deering whose shot into the bottom left corner of goal got the better of Bittner diving to his right. The opening goal is the second of Deering's pre-season campaign.
Jamie Cureton's movement in attack earnt him two efforts on goal shortly after. His first attempt on goal was a seemingly un-threating scooped volley that was fumbled by Bittner in the Gloucester goal who quickly redeemed himself. His second chance was dragged well wide after being found in space on the right side of the box.
The Robins doubled their lead inside 20 minutes.
Matt Richards picked up the ball just left of centre, 25-yards from goal and unleashed a goalbound left footed stike that left the keeper with no chance.
Mark Yates' men were excellent at retaining possession and his diamond 4-4-2 formation enabled fluid passing amongst the whole side.
Full backs Billy Jones and Keith Lowe were pressing high up the field, at times looking more like wingers than defenders. The diamond midfield swapped roles seamlessly and Harrison and Cureton were working well together, generating space and playing the offside trap, running around the Gloucester back line.
Cureton was denied twice in succession midway through the first half. His double effort on the edge of the six yard box was twice blocked by Weir before deflecting out of play for a corner.
Matt Groves came closest for Gloucester in the first half as he blasted a shot just wide of goal with 10 minutes remaining. Cureton was in action again as the half came to a close, he latched onto Steve Elliott's long ball to head marginally wide, only to be flagged offside anyway.
Cureton continued his involvement in attack as he tee'd up Byron Harrison in the centre of the box. However the Robins striker was unable to divert his shot anywhere other than straight at James Bittner.
Mark Yates introduced wholesale changes on the hour mark for the Robins. As of the 62nd minute, following 7 substitutions, this is how the team lined up;
Roberts (GK); Jombati, O'Donnell, Lowe, Braham-Barrett; McGlashan, Deering, Taylor, Kotwica; Harrison, Vincent.
Following the raft of changes, the Robins struggled to find the fluidity they possesed in ambundance in the first half.
A free kick conceded by Macclesfield loanee Braham Barrett started the move that led to Gloucester's first and only goal. The home side failed to deal with the cross into the box, substitute Connor Roberts was unable to hold onto Joe Parker's initial shot and the striker was able to pounce on the rebound a poach a goal back for the visitors.
New signing Ashley Vincent almost scored on his return to the Abbey Business Stadium. He was played through on goal and forced a strong save by Bittner to deny Vincent the chance to reinstate a two goal lead.
McGlashan was becoming more and more involved as the game came to a close, he was eventually able to find youth team player Zack Kotwica on the penalty spot whose right footed shot was well saved by Bittner diving low to his right hand side.
Kotwica was denied once again on the stroke of full time. He found space on the left side of the box and fired a shot seemingly goal bound, only to be denied by a finger tip save from Bittner.
Next up for Cheltenham Town is Coventry City on Tuesday night. Please remember the kick-off for that fixture is 7pm.