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Match Reports

Hartlepool Vs Cheltenham

7 November 2015

Full-time: Hartlepool 1, Robins 0

Cheltenham Town were dumped out of the FA Cup by League Two's Hartlepool United, but not without a fight.
It was a curious match in which the Robins dominated possession and created the lion’s share of chances, but were made to pay for their lack of profligacy in front of goal.
In the end a goal against the run of play on the stroke of half-time by Kudus Oyenuga settled this first round encounter at Victoria Park.
This was another test of just how far this promising young side have come since the summer against the side that pipped them to safety in April, and they did everything but score on a dank afternoon in the North East.
The home side have only won here twice all season while Gary Johnson’s side had only tasted defeat on two occasions, and they played with real confidence.
Unfortunately, they couldn’t unlock the well-drilled Pools defence.
It was harsh, especially on the 107 fans who made the long trip home scratching their heads as to how their team didn't win this one.
There were no changes to the side that came through last Friday’s impressive win in Grimsby.
Only two of the 17-man squad were at the club in last term’s 2-0 defeat here - Lee Vaughan and Asa Hall - and both were named as substitutes. That result sparked Pools' revival, and the rest is history.
Youth team striker Alex Dinsmore joined the duo the bench, with the manager able to name seven replacements.
There were also only two survivors in blue and white from that ill-fated match at the start of the year, and their starting 11 featured two former Robins from last season’s disastrous campaign.
Trevor Carson was just about the only player that emerged with any credit and switched to blue and white stripes in the summer, while former loanee Jake Gray made an impressive debut for Pools in central midfield. 
The Crystal Palace man created the first chance of the game with 14 minutes played when he burst through the middle before pulling a low effort wide of the target.
At the other end Matthew Bates stretched to deny Billy Waters an early goal.
But by and large the first 45 minutes were pretty attritional with few chances to report.
Hartlepool lost their skipper, Billy Paynter, through injury five minutes from the break and was replaced but ex-trialist Rakish Bingham in attack, who went on to cause plenty of problems for Aaron Downes.
Shortly afterwards there were glimpses of goal for Kudus Oyenuga and Harry Pell, who exchanged half-chances in the final moments of a seemingly goalless first half.
But Dillon Phillips was beaten in the first minute of first half injury time when the home side produced the unlikely opener.
There was an element of luck about the move, started by Nicky Featherstone down the middle.
The midfielder was met by Storer, and the ball reached Bingham who helped it into the path of Oyenuga and he beat Phillips from the inside channel.
The Cheltenham number one got a hand to it, but it found the back of the net for what proved to be the winner.
The Robins enjoyed a lot of possession but didn’t use the wide areas to good effect, and were quite narrow in attack until Johnson shuffled his pack.
Winger James Dayton replaced Jack Barthram nine minutes after the break and brought some natural width to their forward play, and the former Oldham Athletic and Kilmarnock wide man produced a great chance almost immediately for Waters, but the striker headed over from a golden position in the middle.
Hartlepool produced a fine move of their own down the left to unpick the Cheltenham defence when Oyenuga and Bingham combined to open it up for Scott Fenwick two yards from goal, but the striker couldn’t reach it at full stretch.
Rhys Oates and Harry Pell both missed chances before the manager made his second move, replacing Jack Munns with Asa Hall and pushed Pell into attack.
The tall midfielder was found by another fine delivery by Dayton, but headed wide of the left upright while Hall fired over from distance.
Next Lee Vaughan, the final substitute replacing McLennan, won a free-kick down the right and Hall swung it in, but Pell got too much on his header.
Waters drove one wide, but Carson wasn’t called into a save of note until 12 minutes from time when he was called into a fine block to deny Dayton and then Pell, although the flag had been raised for the second attempt - not that the Northern Irishman had seen it.
He then dropped to save from Danny Wright three minutes from time, and Storer saw an effort deflected wide in injury time.
And there was a late chance for Pell, who dived to meet Dayton’s looping cross while Vaughan struck the bar with the last kick of the match, but it dropped on the line and scooped to safety.

HARTLEPOOL UNITED (4-4-2): Carson; Duckworth, Bates, Jackson, Carroll; Oates, Featherstone, Gray, Oyenuga (Banton 71); Fenwick, Paynter (c) (Bingham 40). Subs not used: Bartlett, Walker, Woods, Jones, Smith.

CHELTENHAM TOWN (3-5-2): Phillips; Dickie, Downes (c), Parslow; Barthram (Dayton, 54), Pell, Storer, Munns (Hall 62), McLennan (Vaughan 71); Wright, Waters. Subs not used: Rowe, Lovett (Gk), Thomas, Dinsmore.

REFEREE: E Ilderdon

ATTENDANCE: 2,287 (107 from Cheltenham)

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