A Cheltenham Town reserve XI has beaten Newport County 4-1 this afternoon.
A Robins reserve side produced a good team performance to beat Newport County 4-1 this afternoon.
Neil Howarth took charge of a Cheltenham side mixed with experience and youth talent against a Newport side also including a number of first team faces in a match that provided plenty of entertainment for visiting spectators. New loan signing Michael Ihiekwe started in the middle of defence alongside trialist Ben Brown with Sam Deering, Terry Gornell and Ashley Vincent providing the first team experience.
The game started out on an even footing although Cheltenham had the better of the early chances. Twice Terry Gornell came close in the opening stages with headers from a Sam Deering corner but both times he missed by narrow margins much to his frustration. Newport County weren't enjoying much possession but they looked strong on the counter attack and twice they came close to opening the scoring only for efforts from their midfield to fly wide of their mark. Balls forward to Newport striker Holloway seemed in vain at times as Wolves loanee Michael Ihiekwe patrolled the backline well with numerous thumping headers to deny the visitors and it wasn't long before the Robins had opened the scoring themselves.
A ball struck forward into the path of Ashley Vincent on 29 minutes was brought down well by the winger and his poked effort found it's way past Jamie Stephens in goal before trickling over the line for 1-0. A strong save from Connor Roberts denied Aaron Hughes a goal for Newport and kept his side ahead in the scoreline but the Robins had a superb chance to double their lead before the break when Vincent broke past his marker and delivered a delightful ball across the face of goal but Gornell's header was wide of goal. The striker had another chance to score moments before the break but Newport keeper Stephens made a superb save at his near post to deny the flicked effort of Gornell.
Half Time: Cheltenham Reserves 1-0 Newport Reserves
A host of changes for Newport at the break certainly disrupted the flow of this game in the second half but you could sense Newport were closing in on an equaliser with good efforts from a trialist introduced in place of Ryan Burge. Connor Roberts had denied the trialist at the first attempt with a superb diving save but a low cross from the left wing provided the Newport attacker with a superb opportunity and he slammed the ball in from close range to level the scoreline on 55 minutes.
That goal failed to hand Newport control in this game however and Cheltenham Town began to edge their way back in control with several good movements around the Newport area. The Robins snatched back their lead midway through the half after a corner caused a scramble inside the area before Joe Hanks slid in to push the ball into the back of the net for 2-1. It was no more than what the Cheltenham reserves deserved and they could have stretched their lead further had Jesse Victory not cleared the ball off the line following good link up play between Harry Williams and Zack Kotwica but still they pushed on.
Ashley Vincent was making a nuisance of himself down the right wing as the second half ticked by with several dangerous crosses into the box but it was the double substitution of Adam Powell and Bobbie Dale that spurred the Robins on in the latter stages of the game. Gornell and Deering had been removed but the fresh legs of Powell and Dale changed the dynamic of this game with the Robins now pushing hard for a third goal. That goal came courtesy of a James Bowen cross that found Ashley Vincent unmarked in a central position and his low volley into the back of the net all but won the game for Cheltenham. Just a minute later though and Cheltenham were pushing on again this time down the right wing. The cross was delivered with Zack Kotwica flicking the ball on into the path of Adam Powell who made no mistake in smashing the ball beyond the Newport goalkeeper for 4-1 and the win.
Full Time: Cheltenham Reserves 4-1 Newport Reserves
Cheltenham Reserves: Roberts (GK); Keightley, Brown, Ihiekwe, Bowen; Hanks, Deering, Williams; Kotwica, Gornell, Vincent
Subs used: Powell & Dale.