Report: Cheltenham 1-1 Leyton Orient
Cheltenham Town started life back in the English Football League with a 1-1 draw at home to Leyton Orient in a game of two halves. Substitute Billy Waters came off the bench to score and ensure the spoils were shared at the LCI Rail Stadium.
The Robins's season got off to a terrible start with Gavin Massey tapping home inside three minutes to send the 815 travelling fans wild. The goal came following good work from Semedo down the left and his cross found Massey unmarked 5 yards out.
Orient continued to dominate after the goal with Cheltenham struggling to get hold of the ball. Neither team created many clear chances but all of the play was in the Cheltenham half.
Slowly Gary Johnson's men grew into the game and felt they should have had a penalty when Amari Morgan-Smith was taken down inside the box as he went to shoot, referee Lee Probert waved away all protests.
Debutant Easah Suliman was booked in the 36th minute when he pulled back Harry Cornick in the centre circle but otherwise had a very steady first appearance for the Robins.
Cheltenham finished the half the stronger of the two sides but couldn't capitalise on a couple of half chances and went into the break 1-0 down.
Chances came for both sides at the start of the second half, goalkeeper Russell Griffiths, also making his first CTFC appearance produced a couple of smart saves to keep the score 1-0 and at the other end James Rowe and Dan Holman couldn't quite do enough to find an equaliser.
Gary Johnson brought on Billy Waters, Jack Barthram and Jordan Cranston in place of Rowe, Suliman and James Jennings to try and give his team a bit of emphasis.
It worked as Cheltenham took control of the match, chance after chance came but some last ditch defending and a brilliant save from Alex Cisak get Orient ahead.
The Robins finally had their goal in the 76th minute when Billy Waters produced a clever finish from 10 yards in front of his home fans who went absolutely ballistic!
Danny Whitehead had done excellently in the build up to set up Waters.
Both teams pushed hard to find a winner but on a boiling hot day, both sets of players tired and lacked the cutting edge. Cheltenham finished strongly but couldn't work another clear chance and the game ended 1-1.
A great effort from the National League Champions who overcame a poor start to earn their first point back in the EFL.