Full-time: Robins 2, Tranmere Rovers 0Rarely has Ken Dodd sounded so good.
Without a home win since mid-October, Whaddon Road’s traditional celebration song, Happiness, was dusted off for a welcome return to the PA system after this much-needed win against fellow strugglers Tranmere Rovers.
The afternoon got off to the perfect start, Shaun Harrad forcing defender Danny Holmes to turn the ball into his own net as early as the seventh minute.
Troy Brown added a second after the interval and played his part in the side’s first clean sheet in 27 matches, an unwelcome record stretching back to the match at Morecambe in the first week of September.
As a result the Robins climbed out of the bottom two to go level with their visitors tonight.
And to cap it all, the ground was filled by over 3,000 noisy supporters, adding a splash of colour to proceedings with free scarves and bang bang sticks.
There’s plenty to do but there was a buzz of real optimism around the ground, and you sense a corner has been finally turned ahead of the longest trip north to Carlisle United on Tuesday evening.
Milton’s trio of experienced signings went straight into the starting line-up at the expense of Joe Hanks, Jordan Wynter and Denny Johnstone and they made an instant impact here.
In Pablo Mills the Robins had an enforcer to protect the central defenders while Harrad was lively up front. Matt Sparrow made his influence felt in midfield, where the Scunthorpe loanee made a real difference.
They made an electric start, laying siege to the Tranmere goal in the opening exchanges.
The breakthrough came after seven minutes, Harrad escaping down the right before driving one across goal which picked up a decisive deflection off Danny Holmes on it’s way through to goal.
There had been a fine save moments before, Trevor Carson denying Kayode Odejayi with a fine reaction save to shut out Rovers.
Other than that Cheltenham looked solid at the back, and forced their opponents into a number of errors with some good work without possession of the ball.
The new spine of the team laid the foundation for a refreshing performance.
Tranmere had their chances, and former Robin Jennison Myrie-Williams fired over from 20 yards but the Merseysiders grew frustrated as the match progressed and collected a couple of yellow cards as their frustration boiled over in the form of reckless challenges.
Eliot Richards went close approaching the interval, reaching Carson’s long clearance with a good header but Owain Fon Williams, in goal, held it.
There was a hairy moment after the game resumed when Jordan Hugill rounded Carson only to come up against Matt Taylor, clearing off his own line.
Cheltenham though doubled their lead with 61 minutes on the clock through Brown who notched his first goal in ten months.
Matt Richards lifted a deep, angled cross to the far post with his left post and the central defender rose highest to meet it, beating Fon Williams with a powerful header from six yards.
Rovers had two chances from set pieces to pull one back, first Lee Molyneux blasted a well positioned free-kick into the defensive wall before Max Power clipped the bar with an effort from the left touchline.
Nine minutes from time, Hugill drew a smart stop by Carson from 12 yards and Vaughan was called into a desperate goal line clearance to turn away Laird’s cross under his own crossbar.
It epitomised the team's spirit on the day, and they fully deserved their win
CHELTENHAM TOWN (4-5-1): Carson; Vaughan, Brown, Taylor (c), Braham-Barrett; Burns (Berry 88), Sparrow (Hanks 90), Mills, M Richards, E Richards; Harrad (Johnstone 79). Subs not used: Kotwica, Wynter, Renolds (Gk), Manset.
TRANMERE ROVERS (4-4-2): Fon Williams; Holmes, Dugdale, Ihiekwe, Molyneux (Kirby 78); Myrie-Williams, Jennings (c), Power, Donnelly (Laird 63); Hugill, Odejayi (Hume 63). Subs not used: Ridehalgh, Koumas, Pilling (Gk), McGahey.
REFEREE: M Bull
ATTENDANCE: 3,070 (353 from Tranmere)