Cambridge United 1 Cheltenham Town 2
In what proved to be a wonderful night at the Abbey Stadium, Mark Yates' Cheltenham Town showed that they were back with a bang, defeating Cambridge United with real determination to cement their place in the top half of SkyBet League Two.
With captain Matt Taylor missing, Yates called upon youngster Jack Deaman to deputise, while his decision to replace Eusebio Bancessi with midfielder Joe Hanks seemed sensible against a potent home attack.
The Robins, backed by 118 loyal supporters, started the game confidently, with their excellent attitude rewarded with an early lead. Matt Richards' dipping strike had the hardy travelling contingent on their feet, with his name ringing over the Cambridgeshire air.
The hosts always looked dangerous, though Deaman coped well alongside Steve Elliott and Troy Brown, however this resistance would not last, as Kwesi Appiah raced through to score an arguably deserved equaliser.
An appalling referee hampered the Robins' attempts to secure a real foothold on the game, with the evening's turning point arguably coming at half-time.
U's manager Richard Money made the silly mistake of calling Yates a "non-league manager" and his team a "non-league" one. Though both bosses were dismissed, the sour incident would only spur one side on.
Whipped into a frenzy, the Robins commenced the second-half with improved attacking intensity, as Jason Taylor provided a sublime through-ball for John Marquis, who having started in place of Byron Harrison, squared the perfect ball to Terry Gornell.
Though no one in the delirious away end knew who had the final touch, it frankly didn't matter, as Cheltenham took the lead and never looked back.
'Keeper and now interim captain Trevor Carson was solid as ever, while the defenders in front of him demonstrated passion in abundance.
Elliott was immense, Brown a man mountain, while Deaman, by the end of the game, had his name ringing over the frosty air.
As usual Richards and Taylor proved instrumental, with the commitment of wing-backs Lee Vaughan and Craig Braham-Barrett was thoroughly outstanding, as the home side were resisted on countless occasions.
In truth, the night was a dream in motion, as the passion of 118 red-and-white fans was matched by the eleven red-and-white players on the Abbey Stadium pitch.
Despite more bizarre refereeing and a painful six minutes of added times, the Robins always looked like holding on, with the full-time celebrations a moment to savour.
Yates once again proved his critics wrong, while Richard Money was left an embarrassed man. The Robins' performance was a delight to watch, with the win fully deserved both for Yates' hardworking players and loyal supporters. The Cheltenham Town show is back on the road!
Out of 10
Trevor Carson - 7 - Didn't have much to do, but captained the side well.
Troy Brown - 7 - A solid performance from the Welshman.
Jack Deaman - 8 - A magnificent performance from the younger.
Steve Elliott - 7 - Excellent as usual.
Lee Vaughan - 7 - Showed passion and defensive proficiency in equal measure.
Joe Hanks - 6 - No shortage of effort but at times anonymous.
Matt Richards - 8 - Instrumental for the Robins, scoring a wonderful goal.
Jason Taylor - 7 - Strong in midfield, showing tenacity in abundance.
Craig Braham-Barrett - 7 - A solid, yet unspectacular display.
John Marquis - 7 - A really bright display from the loanee who also produced an assist.
Terry Gornell - 7 - Another super performance, and deserves to be credited with the goal.
Omari Sterling-James - Not on long enough to rate,
Byron Harrison - Not on long enough to rate.