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Full-time: Forest Green Rovers 2, Robins 2

23 September 2015

Full-time: Forest Green Rovers 2, Robins 2

In the end Cheltenham Town and Forest Green Rovers took away a point apiece from this absorbing Gloucestershire derby.
Dubbed 'El Glosico', it was the first meeting betwen the pair since 1999 and the occasion lived up to its billing as a battle between the county's, and division's top two sides.
Somehow despite defending for long periods of the first half they were top of the league at the break, thanks to Amari Morgan-Smith's injury time goal, his fourth of the campaign.
The game burst into life after the interval when David Pipe headed the home side level shortly after the break.
Harry Pell was culpable for the free-kick that led to the former Robin's equaliser, but atoned for the error with his second goal this term to restore the lead.
But Kurtis Guthrie dashed the Robins' hopes of usurping their neighbours at the summit of the Vanarama National League with a second leveller to take a share of the spoils, and maintain his side's three-point lead at the top.
So who went home the happier? Forest Green Rovers, marginally, who ended a run of two defeats on the bounce to stay top but Cheltenham will probably be satisfied with a point after a slow start at the New Lawn.
The two sides go at it again back at the World of Smile Stadium in November.
Johnson sent out an unchanged side, keeping faith with the 11 that came away from Woking with that narrow win at the weekend.
The home side came into this one on the back of two straight defeats and made three changes, naming a trio of former Robins in their ranks in Darren Jones, Darren Carter and Pipe.
There was plenty of posturing in the opening exchanges and Forest Green enjoyed most of the early possession although it took until the 25th minute for the first real chance to arrive, Elliott Frear's 20 yarder sailing well over.
Keanu Marsh-Brown went closer when his deflected effort flew past the left uprightshortly after the half-hour.
Dillon Phillips produced the best save of the first 45 minutes to deny Jones with a header, but the assistant referee had his flag raised.
It opened up for Aarran O'Connor down the right, five minutes before the break, but Phillips beat away his angled drive.
The Cheltenham number one was lucky a moment later when he mistimed a cross, but Frear planted his header wide.
It was attritional stuff, and both Carter and Aaron Downes went into the book for some poor challenges in a meaty midfield battle.
The Robins showed glimpses of adventure, but were largely restricted in attack until the stroke of half-time, when Danny Wright sprang the ball from Aarran Racine's control and set McLennan away down the left. The full back reached the byline and cut one back into the path of Morgan-Smith, who glanced the ball past Jonny Maxted to hand his side an ill-deserved lead at the break, not that the almost-900 noisy supporters housed in the away cared. Boy, did they celebrate it.
Danny Wright had an unlikely penalty shout waved away before the home side carved out the first chance of the second period, Parslow diverting Pipe's cross against his own bar.
It was a let off as Rovers ramped up the pressure, ultimately leading to the leveller with 63 minutes on the clock.
Harry Pell conceded a free-kick 35 yards from goal to give the home side the chance to swing it in, and to make matters worse, the midfielder was carded to collect a one-match suspension.
Marsh-Brown lifted it in and Pipe met it with a powerful header to beat Phillips to square the game.
Frear went closing to snatching a lead only moments later, but Phillips got down well to hold it.
Morgan-Smith forced a smart save from 20 yards in the 73rd minute, and Barthram wasted a good opportunity with the follow-up.
Pell did restore the lead 13 minutes from time when he picked up Munns' up and under into the box, took and touch and picked his spot from eight yards.
Unfortunately from a Cheltenham perspective it lasted only five minutes, Guthrie meeting Frear's cross from the left with a back post header to make sure the two sides shared the bragging rights.

FOREST GREEN ROVERS (4-4-2): Maxted; Bennett, Jones, Racine, Kelly; Marsh-Brown (Sam-Yorke 76), Pipe (Clough 90), Carter, Frear; Guthrie, O'Connor (Parkin 79). Subs not used: Eve (Gk), Bender.

CHELTENHAM TOWN (3-5-2): Phillips; Dickie, Downes (c), Parslow; Barthram, Pell, Storer, Munns, McLennan; Wright, Morgan-Smith. Subs not used: Kitscha (Gk), Waters, Hall, Rowe, Vaughan.



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