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Match Reports

Aldershot Town V Cheltenham Town

28 November 2015

Full-time: Aldershot Town 0, Robins 2

Half-way there, and Cheltenham Town sit pretty at the top of the Vanarama National League.

But the Robins were made to work for the points at Aldershot Town’s EBB Stadium to stretch their unbeaten league run to ten games.

All the damage was done in the first half when goals by Harry Pell and Jack Munns gave the Robins a perfect start inside the opening 27 minutes.

It was harsh on the home side, who more than matched Gary Johnson’s side throughout and it might have been closer were it not for Dillon Phillips' flying save to preserve their advantage at the interval.

Cheltenham had some fortune for the goals, both free-kicks, but they made it count to take control at the break.

Spirited Aldershot can count themselves unlucky not to take anything away from the game despite new boy Andrija Novakovich striking the woodwork on two occasions in the second half.

There was plenty of defending to do, but the manager will be equally pleased with a fifth clean sheet in six outings to stay a point clear at the top of the table tonight.

Ryan Jennings was handed his senior debut on the right of midfield, taking the injured Jack Barthram’s place in the side. Novakovich joined 16-year-old Luke Thomas on the bench, and he was given his chance in the second half when he replaced Danny Wright at half-time.

There was an early test for Dillon Phillips, who got down well to smother a low effort by Rhys Browne inside the opening 60 seconds.

But Cheltenham were in front as early as the 7th minute through Pell, who was handed the opportunity from 20 yards after some fantastic industry by Jennings on the edge of the box. It looked as if a move had broken down but he chased back to take the ball away from Jack Saville before being fouled by Jim Stevenson.
Pell did the rest - albeit with a deflection - to grab his sixth of the campaign to date. He was in the book five minutes later for a foul on Rhys Browne.

Cheltenham were let off the hook with 18 minutes on the clock when Dan Walker scooped one wide after some nimble work down the right by Browne.

Waters dragged a shot wide mid-way through the first half, racing onto McLennan’s cut back from the byline.

But Cheltenham doubled their lead in the 27th minute, again from a free-kick, after Browne had clattered into the back of McLennan down the left touchline.
Munns swung it in to the far post, floating one past a clutch of defenders and the hesitant Phil Smith, the Aldershot number one, to notch his seventh this term.

Walker could have pulled one back a moment later, looping an effort over Phillips from the edge of the box, but fortunately from a Cheltenham perspective it dropped wide of the target.

Browne was proving a real handful out on the right for the Shots and called Phillips into a wonderful diving stop 11 minutes before the interval.

Munns drew a comfortable save from Smith, and Waters slashed at a great opportunity for a third on the stroke of half-time.

Cheltenham had their fair share of defending to do after the break, but Aldershot couldn’t convert their bigger share of possession into the goals they needed to get back into the game.

Kyle Storer fired over in the opening exchanges of the second period, latching onto a poor punch by Smith at a corner.

At the other end, Phillips was down well to first prevent Sean McGinty, and then Stevenson from pulling one back.

Novakovich ’s first meaningful contribution arrived a minute shy of the hour-mark, twisting and turning away from a handful of Aldershot defenders before striking the bar with an angled effort. He later rattled the right post with a bending effort from the opposite channel.

Then substitute Danny Carr produced a carbon copy of the American's effort for the Shots with 18 minutes to play, also denied by the crossbar after escaping down the right.

Charlie Walker hooked a volley on target, but Phillips was equal to it, and the Cheltenham number one smothered Sam Hatton’s 20-yard free kick with five minutes to play. Then Omar Beckles tried his luck from distance, but his effort faded wide.
Cheltenham defended well to keep the Shots at bay and stay top as we turn for home in the 2015-16 season.

Smith; Alexander (c), Beckley, Saville, McGinty; Browne, Stevenson, Hatton, Richards (Harness 71); Brodie (C Walker 75), D Walker (Carr 54). Subs not used: Thomas, Akinyemi.

CHELTENHAM TOWN: Phillips; Dickie, Downes (c), Parslow, McLennan; Jennings, Storer, Pell, Munns (Hall 86); Waters (Rowe 79), Wright (Novakovich 46). Subs not used: Kitsch (Gk), Hall, Thomas, Novakovich.

REFEREE: R Whitton

ATTENDANCE: 1,493 (269 from Cheltenham) 

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