Report: Cheltenham Town 2-0 Macclesfield Town
Goals from Danny Wright and Harry Pell were enough for Cheltenham to beat Macclesfield 2-0 on Tuesday night and maintain their unbeaten run at home this season.
The Robins have now won five of their last six league games as they moved up to third in the league, six points behind leaders Forest Green Rovers.
After Saturday's win against Dover, manager Gary Johnson had made a point of wanting his side to win and lead games from the front and not come from behind like they have done several times this season.
The first half goals from Wright and Pell secured a comfortable win and an impressive performance for the Robins.
Having had to come from behind to win on several occasions already this season, Cheltenham started on the front foot. Two early corners from Kyle Storer proved no danger to Macclesfield, even though an unmarked Aaron Downes headed over the bar from the back post within the first four minutes.
And it was Downes again who started a dangerous-looking Cheltenham attack in the seventh minute. The captain sent recalled Lee Vaughan down the right hand side, whose deft touch let in Harry Pell to play a low cross to Billy Waters in the box, only to mistime his shot, and for Macclesfield to clear.
Joint-leading goalscorer Danny Wright could have easily grabbed his fourth goal of the season even earlier in the match, but his close range header went wide of Shwan Jalal's goal, after a good cross from Lee Vaughan evaded Macclesfield's defence.
Pell's opening goal was won that could have easily been avoided. On the 16th minute Macclesfield captain Danny Whitaker unnecessarily fouled Kyle Storer on the right wing, and it was Storer who sent in the resulting free-kick. His curling effort was headed home by Harry Pell in the centre of the box leaving Jalal with no chance as the Robins, inevitably, broke the deadlock.
Having gone behind early on, Macclesfield almost levelled just five minutes later against the run of play. After the Robins cleared an in-swinging Macclesfield corner, Danny Rowe hit a half volley from 20 yards out forcing Dillon Phillips to get low down to his right to palm the ball away.
And on the 36th minute, Cheltenham could have been two up. Lee Vaughan, who looked lively all of the first half, played a trademark low cross to Jack Barthram in the six-yard box only for Macclesfield to block and clear the close-range shot.
Just minutes before the half time whistle, Macclesfield's Paul Lewis launched into a poorly timed challenge on Harry Pell, completely missing the ball and receiving the first caution of the game. From the resulting free-kick, came a brilliantly–worked move straight off the training ground and into the Macclesfield goal to make it 2-0. Kyle Storer played a short diagonal ball into Billy Waters in the box and his one touch pass was finished by Danny Wright from close-range. At the break, Cheltenham were comfortably ahead as the score line suggested.
Into the second half and the visitors went close to pulling one back early on. It was Danny Rowe again who looked most dangerous for Macclesfield as his low shot from outside the box went just wide of Phillips in the Cheltenham goal.
The visitors definitely got more of a grasp of the game in the second half as Lewis Holroyd fired in a shot just inside the box only for it to skew wide of the left hand post.
Not long after, Danny Wright could have grabbed his second and Cheltenham's third of the night. However Amari Morgan-Smith's through ball was bravely intercepted low down by Shwan Jalal in the Macclesfield goal, as Cheltenham started to re-assert their dominance on the game.
Defensively, Cheltenham looked solid too. Macclesfield's Chris Holroyd powerfully met Danny Whitaker's corner, and when the ball ricocheted off Amari Morgan-Smith, Kyle Storer was on the line to see the ball away.
The 65th minute saw the introduction of James Rowe and Jack Munns off the Robins bench, taking the place of Billy Waters and goal scorer Harry Pell respectively. It was Rowe who looked most likely to score out of the two of them but his long range shot flew over the bar, over the Prestbury Road end and out of the ground.
As the game edged towards the last ten minutes, Macclesfield's Kristian Dennis fired a weak low shot from outside the box with Dillon Phillips wondering if he'll ever have an easier save to make.
Back from his three game-ban, George McLennan returned to Cheltenham action from the bench taking the place of striker Danny Wright in the 80th minuteas Gary Johnson's tactics suggested he wanted to see out the game comfortably.
The last 10 minutes is normally the period Cheltenham start to attack and work their way back from behind, but against Macclesfield they were defensively sound and as the game petered out, Cheltenham strolled towards the final whistle.
Macclesfield now go into their weekend's game against Forest Green Rovers on the back of two losses whilst Cheltenham go to Woking with two wins from their last two games.
Cheltenham Town: Phillips, Barthram, Downes, Parslow, Dickie, Vaughan, Pell (Munns 65), Storer, Waters (Rowe 65), Wright (McLennan 80'), Morgan-Smith
Subs not used: Kitscha, Hall
Macclesfield Town: Jalal, Halls, Byrne, Pilkington, Lewis, Holroyd, Rowe (Sampson 62), Dennis, Diagne (Fitzpatrick 57), Whitehead (Bailey-Jones), Whitaker
Subs not used: Branagan, Cowan
Attendance: 1962 (57 Away)