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Full Time: Robins 1, Bristol Rovers 0

15 July 2014

Robins defeat Bristol Rovers under the floodlights here at Whaddon Road this evening.

Cheltenham Town recorded their first win of pre-season with a 1-0 victory at home to Conference side Bristol Rovers.
A second half effort from Byron Harrison was enough to lift the home support of their seats and seal a win for the Robins. In truth, Cheltenham had plenty of chances to win this one and were largely comfortable throughout the game with Bristol Rovers chances few and far between.
Up next is Leamington away from home on Friday night and another chance for the Robins to stretch their legs but Mark Yates will be hoping there are no more injuries following three in this fixture alone.
The start of this game saw both teams start proceedings at a quick pace but Bristol Rovers were the quickest out of the blocks and several searching balls had to be seeked out by the Robins backline.
The first chance of the game however fell to Robins right-back Lee Vaughan after he linked up well with Harrison on the edge of the area but his shot was just over Mildenhall's crossbar.
The former Kidderminster defender was having a positive game and he continued his impressive form in pre-season with a searching pass into the area which found Asa Hall but the central midfielder's effort was dragged just wide of the far post. Despite Rovers' energetic start it was clear that Mark Yates' side were starting to win the midfield battle.
Another close opportunity for the Robins came from a short corner but Matt Richards could only watch on as his thunderous drive towards the top corner was deflected inches over the bar.
It wasn't all positive for Cheltenham in the first half with Steve Elliott having to be withdrawn with a suspected hamstring injury and he was quickly replaced by trialist Jack Deaman. Cheltenham continued to control possession for much of the half however but they were struck with another injury blow 40 minutes into the match with the industrious Terry Gornell  being caught on the top of his foot by an outstretched Rovers boot. He was ordered straight down the tunnel and was replaced by Omari Sterling-James.
Chances for Rovers' Ollie Clarke and the substitute Sterling-James followed but both teams went in at half-time deadlocked.
The second half very much carried on in the same manner that the first had finished and Cheltenham were looking increasingly stronger. From the whistle Sterling-James had proved his pace by running onto the end of a long ball but Mildenhall was quickly off his line to clutch the ball in his grasp. Andy Haworth also provided much of the threat in the opening stages of this half with a shot blocked by McChrystal and a driven effort parried well by Mildenhall.
A long range effort from Lee Vaughan after 55 minutes did little but threaten the trees behind the Prestbury Road terrace but Rovers could have found themselves in front just after the hour mark with a long range effort of their own but Trevor Carson was equal to Matty Taylor's strike.
Another narrow miss from Haworth soon followed but it was on the 73rd minute that Cheltenham finally grabbed a deserved lead. Substitute Zack Kotwica played a neat pass back into the path of Harrison and last season's top goalscorer produced a magnificent finish curling into the top corner to make it 1-0.
A late strike from Joe Hanks clipped off the top of the crossbar but it finished as a 1-0 win for the Robins in a game where they were rarely threatened and deserving of victory.

CHELTENHAM TOWN (4-4-2): Carson (GK); Vaughan (c), Brown, Elliott (Deaman 23), Black (Braham-Barrett 61); Haworth (Kotwica 72), Hall (Hanks 83), Taylor, Richards; Harrison, Gornell (Sterling-James 40)

SUBS NOT USED: McNamara (GK), Williams

BRISTOL ROVERS (3-5-2): Mildenhall (GK), Higgins (Mitchell 65), Brown, Lockyer, McChrystal (c), Parkes, Mansell, Clarke (Gosling 51), Harrison (White 51), Taylor, Sinclair (Ward-Baptiste 89)

SUBS NOT USED: Preston, Lucas, Greenslade, Thomas

ATTENDANCE: 762 (239 from Bristol Rovers)

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