Milton's Robins slip to narrow defeatAfter a turbulent week, the feel-good factor has returned to Whaddon Road.
The players and supporters responded brilliantly to the club’s rallying call for togetherness, but it couldn’t prevent Cheltenham Town dropping into the bottom two for the first time this season.
Russell Milton had been made caretaker manager only 24 hours before, and was joined by Steve Elliott in the dugout and they came close to steering the Robins to a much-needed result.
But all the pre-match excitement evaporated within 17 minutes after goals by Danny Mayor and Danny Rose handed the Shakers a two-goal advantage.
The Robins stuck to their task and seven minutes later, Denny Johnstone reduced arrears with his first Football League goal.
They were positive throughout and came close to grabbing an equaliser, but in the end the promotion hopefuls held firm to see out the win.
This though was much better, and if they play like this in the four upcoming games against their relegation rivals they should pick up those important points.
Milton made three changes in his first team selection to the side that returned from Southend United empty-handed on Tuesday night.
Jordan Wynter picked up a dead leg in the defeat at Roots Hall, and didn’t make this one so Matt Richards was restored to the side.
Zack Kotwica came in on the left of four-man midfield, replacing Jake Gray, who returned to Crystal Palace in the week after a month at the club, while Lee Vaughan came in for Durrell Berry at right back.
Cheltenham were bright from the kick-off, but Trevor Carson was beaten by Mayor in his former side’s first attack of the game.
Kelvin Etutu brought it out of defence and rolled it into the path of Rose, who accelerated into the space between the midfield and defence before dispatching an angled finish from 18 yards.
Almost immediately Rose went close to making it two, firing into the side netting after Matt Richards had lost possession in midfield.
Then Joe Riley skipped past Richards and Kane Ferdinand, but blasted wide from 18 yards.
Bury doubled their lead with 17 minutes on the clock, breaking down the left through Andrew Tutte who whipped in a cross from the byline for Rose to chest it home at the near post.
At this point things looked bleak, but Milton’s new side pressed and harried the promotion hopefuls, and found a goal of their own mid-way through the first half.
Wes Burns won a challenge out on the right, and jumped to his feet to race onto the loose ball before finding Johnstone with a cross.
The Birmingham loanee’s first touch was poor, but his second took it past his marker which opened up the space to shoot past Nick Pope, the Bury number one, from the edge of the box.
Denny and Burns both fashioned chances of their own with the interval approaching.
Burns was a whisker away 10 minutes into the second half, bursting through the middle before missing the target by a letter of inches from 20 yards.
The game became attritional after that, and Milton pressed Omari Steering-James (for Kotwica), Joe Hanks (Ferdinand) and Mathieu Manset (Johnstone) in action to force a second goal.
CHELTENHAM TOWN (4-4-2): Carson; Vaughan, Taylor (c), Brown, Braham-Barrett; Burns, Richards, Ferdinand (Hanks 75), Kotwica (Sterling-James 61); Johnstone (Manset 80), Richards. Subs not used: Williams, Berry, Jones, Reynolds (Gk).
BURY (4-4-2): Pope; Riley, Cameron, McNulty, Hussey (Sedgwick 67); Adams, Etutu, Tutte, Mayor (Hope 83); Nardiello (c) (Jones 75), Rose. Subs not used: O’Brien, Lainton (Gk), Burgess.
REFEREE: C Breakspear
ATTENDANCE: 2,375 (213 from Bury)