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Match Reports

Cheltenham V Halifax

16 April 2016

Match Reports

Cheltenham V Halifax

16 April 2016


Cheltenham Town have been promoted back to the Football League as Champions.

Two goals from the league's top goal scorer Dan Holman were enough to see off Halifax Town 2-0 at a packed World of Smile Stadium.

As Forest Green lost 2-1 against Woking at the New Lawn, Cheltenham are now nine points clear with two games to go and can't be stopped.

This Cheltenham Town team knew exactly what was required of them; better Forest Green result and they would go up mathematically, even if they matched their Gloucestershire neighbour's result then they would virtually be up.

The opening five minutes brought few chances with the Robins looking to settle the nerves in what was a crucial game for Gary Johnson's side.
Richard Peniket was lucky to escape a caution after catching Rob Dickie late. However, the resulting free-kick 25 yards out was over hit and proved no threat to Sam Johnson in the Halifax Town goal.

The excitement built pre-match by the Cheltenham fans dwindled as news filtered round the ground that Keiffer Moore had just put Forest Green Rovers ahead against Woking.  

It was ex-Woking striker Dan Holman that got the fans off their feet in the 20th minute when his close range shot was parried behind for a corner after good link-up play from James Dayton and Amari Morgan-Smith.

Three minutes later and Cheltenham took the lead they were craving, the ball broke free to Dan Holman just outside the box and he fired in a curling shot past Johnson. Thankfully that goal perked up the home fans and the chants came aplenty.

Kingsley James almost got FA Trophy finalists Halifax back into it soon after, he was left unmarked from a corner and his half-volley from 20 yards out went just wide of Flatt's goal.

Asa Hall then hit a fierce first time effort from 30 yards which again went just wide as Cheltenham started to pose more of a threat up front and pegged Halifax back into their own half.

Just after the half hour mark and John Busby pointed to the spot after handball from Hamza Bencherif. Dan Holman, in search of a second, stepped up and dispatched the penalty coolly past Johnson. The game as a contest looked over.

Captain Kyle Storer went into the book shortly after when he caught Scott McManus late.

Amari Morgan-Smith smartly latched onto Storer's free-kick just before the break but his first time shot went away for a corner.

Seconds before the break and Cameron Burgess could have made it 3-0, however his header from Dayton's corner was saved well by Sam Johnson.

At half-time, Cheltenham were in control.

Jack Munns, who bagged a hat-trick against Halifax in the reverse fixture earlier this season, replaced Kyle Storer at the break after the skipper looked to be playing with an injury in the first half.

Jake Hibbs almost headed into his own goal from Dayton's free-kick but luckily for him it went just over the bar.

Sam Johnson then pulled off a brilliant save from Amari Morgan-Smith from point blank range as he looked to keep Halifax in it.

George McLennan failed to deal with Josh MacDonald down the left wing, fortunately his direct cross evaded all attacking Halifax players.
Jake Hibbs' then hit a free kick from 30 yards out and luckily for Jon Flatt it went just inches over the bar. Former Cheltenham Town attacker Shaquille McDonald then replaced Richard Peniket shortly after.

After a great touch and run by James Dayton he played the ball into Dan Holman in search of a hat-trick but his shot was deflected away by Kevin Roberts six yards out.

Not long after, news came through that Woking had equalised against Forest Green sending the Cheltenham fans wild as that meant Cheltenham would be going up as Champions. Woking then went on to make it 2-1 in the dying minutes. 

In the remaining exchanges neither team carved out many chances with Cheltenham more than happy to control the game and claim their third league win in a row and potentially their most important.

After having to completely rebuild his team in the summer, Gary Johnson has been the architect of yet another promotion from the National League.

He was once dubbed the King of Latvia and after today he may well have the freedom of Cheltenhamshire too.

Cheltenham Town: Flatt, Barthram (Cranston 74'), Dickie, Parslow, Burgess, McLennan, Hall, Storer (C) (Munns 46'), Dayton (Waters 74'), Holman, Morgan-Smith

Subs not used: Kitscha (Gk), Rowe  

Halifax Town: Johnson, Bolton, McManus, James, Bencherif (Hughes 35'), Burrow, Peniket (McDonald 64'), Roberts, Hibbs, MacDonald, Wroe (C)
Subs not used: Porter (Gk), Hattersley, Fazlic,

Referee: Mr J Busby

Attendance: 5245 (102 Away)

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