Report: Cheltenham 1-1 Eastleigh
Cheltenham Town let a one goal lead slip as they drew 1-1 with fellow promotion candidates Eastleigh.
Jack Munns had put the Robins in front in the first half with a well worked move, but substitute Ross Lafayette equalised in the second half for the Spitfires.
The Robins had dominated much of the first half but were forced to defend in all of the second half.
Eastleigh's relentless second half pressure finally paid off when Lafayette tied the game up with a header into the bottom corner.
In the Robins and Eastleigh's first ever match up Cheltenham's line up remained unchanged for the fifth game in succession with Tuesday night's goal scorers Asa Hall and Billy Waters both starting from the bench.
It was the Robins who had the first clear chance of the game, Jack Munns' looping cross from the left hand side was headed wide by an on rushing Danny Wright, luckily for Wright his blushes had been spared as he had been ruled offside.
Continuing his fine run of form, Dillon Phillips pulled off a great save in the 12th minute. Eastleigh's Jack Midson cut into the box from the right hand side looking to bend a shot around Phillips- only for the on-loan Charlton man to palm the ball away low to his right from close range.
Rob Dickie fired in a long range shot from outside the box as he went on the hunt for his second goal of the season, only for Ross Flitney in the Eastleigh goal to hold on to the rising shot comfortably.
On the 20th minute a brilliant Cheltenham move broke the deadlock. Harry Pell played a sumptuous driven ball to the right wing finding Jack Barthram, he cooly played it across the face of goal to an on-rushing Jack Munns who fired it past Flitney from close range for his fifth of the season.
As Forest Green were losing when the Robins scored- Jack Munns' goal took Cheltenham Town top of the league.
Again, Cheltenham had their stopper to thank for keeping the score at 1-0. After a needlessly conceded free-kick 25 yards out, Lee Cook whipped in a shot destine for the net, only for Phillips to claw it away from his top left corner.
Munns could have easily doubled his tally for the day and doubled the score too. Danny Wright found himself down the right hand side, played in a low cross to an unmarked Munns but the midfielder skied his shot over Flitney's goal.
At the break, Cheltenham looked on course to end a winless run at home stretching back to the 15th of September.
With, now permanent, boss Chris Todd's half-time talk ringing in their ears, Eastleigh were still struggling to get back into the game. The Spitfires offered very little up front in the first half, possibly due to the suspension of leading scorer James Constable.
With 10 minutes gone in the second half, Todd introduced Matty Fanimo from the bench and it was the wide player who went close within seconds from coming on. The ball fell to him in the six yard box but his close range shot was saved again by the legs of Dillon Phillips.
And it was Fanimo again who almost grabbed the equaliser for the visitors. Yemi Odubade played the ball in from the right to Fanimo in front of goal but Jack Barthram managed to apply enough pressure that the substitute fired wide.
Eastleigh continued to pepper Phillips' goal with chances as the second half continued, Yemi Odubade headed Matty Fanimo's cross over the bar as the two began to look like a dangerous combination for the visitors.
It was Odubade again who almost got the visitors on level terms but his point blank shot went straight at Dillon Phillips.
In the 77th minute, Eastleigh's relentless pressure finally paid off. Jai Reason crossed in from the left hand side and his ball was met by the head of substitute Ross Lafayette who headed low into Phillips' goal. It was Lafayette's second goal of the week having also come off the bench to score against Forest Green in midweek.
Eastleigh could have easily taken the lead just seven minutes later- killing off any chance of Cheltenham victory. Yemi Odubade's cross from the left was met in the centre by Andy Drury but his goal bound header was pushed over the bar by Dillon Phillips.
The visitors should have scored and won the game with minutes remaining. Substitute Lafayette headed a ball across the face of goal to an unmarked Jamie Turley, but in a chance harder to miss than score, the centre half headed the ball over the bar.
With Cheltenham having to hold on in most of the second half, Gary Johnson's side must have been happy to hear the full-time whistle.
CTFC: Phillips, Barthram (Vaughan 85'), Downes (c), Dickie, Parslow, McLennan, Storer, Pell, Munns (Rowe 80'), Wright, Morgan-Smith (Waters 70')
Subs not used: Lovett, Hall
Eastleigh: Flitney, Partington, Evans, Turley, Odubade, Reason, Midson (Lafayette 74'), Strevens (c), Cook (Fanimo 56'), Drury, Harding
Subs not used: Noice, Green, Payne
Referee: Mr S Bennett
Attendance: 2802 (401 Away)