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Match Reports

Morecambe vs Cheltenham Town

17 December 2016

Full-time: Morecambe 1, Robins 2

Cheltenham Town scored a crucial win against ten-man Morecambe at the Globe Arena, their first in eight weeks to end a four-game losing streak.
It was a game they simply had to win but things didn't look too good as half-time approached when they trailed to an early Peter Murphy goal.
However the game's turning point arrived five minutes before the interval, handing Gary Johnson's side the lifeline they needed.
The Robins made the worst possible start and conceded with only six minutes on the clock when skipper Murphy bundled home from close range.
His side were already down to the bare bones in terms of personnel before this match and they lost three further players to injury here before the break.
And things got a lot worse for the Shrimps when Alex Kenyon was giving his marching orders for flicking out a leg towards Kyle Storer after landing awkwardly in midfield.
Boss Jim Bentley was also ordered down the tunnel moments later, sent off for dissent in the commotion afterwards but the decision looked a good one.
It proved to be a turning point and the Robins made the numerical advantage count after the break, creating a string of chances before bagging two goals in as many minutes 20 minutes from time.
In the end they were the only team in the bottom nine to win, making sure they won’t be bottom when they’re tucking into their Christmas dinner next weekend.
Cheltenham only had themselves to blame after leaking the first goal as early as the sixth minute.
Rhys Turner was given the freedom to surge through the middle before releasing a shot from 18 yards, forcing Russell Griffiths into a diving save.
Unfortunately for the Robins number one, he parried it into the path of Murphy who made no mistake from close range.
Cheltenham didn’t really get their attacking going before the interval apart for an effort from Billy Waters, who skewed a 40th minute effort wide of the left upright after some good play by Harry Pell down the right.
It was a niggly first half and it came to a head with half-time approaching when Kenyon landed awkwardly on his back in midfield.
The right midfielder, who had dropped back into defence following the first minute injury to Andrew Fleming, flicked a leg out at Kyle Storer as he arrived on the scene and was shown a red card.
The home crowd were incensed, as was boss Bentley who took his protest too far and was sent to the stand for the remainder of the game.
Cheltenham started the second half brightly, creating a couple of early chances through Pell and Waters from either side although neither test the goalkeeper, Barry Roche.
Next a couple of crosses caused some problems for Morecambe, but first Dan O’Shaughnessy and Danny Wright could force their headers home.
Both players made way shortly afterwards, replaced by Amari Morgan-Smith and Koby Arthur.
It was Morgan-Smith with the next chance, missing Pell’s wicked delivery from the right by a matter of inches with about 20 minutes to play.
The double switch certain had the desired effect and Cheltenham had turned it around with 20 minutes to play, grabbing two goals in as many minutes.
Waters bagged the first, moving to double figures for the season after poking home from close range following a scramble sparked by an attempted overhead kick by Morgan-Smith.
It got better only a minute later when Waters turned provider, cutting inside and lifting one in from the right for Pell to power a header home.
Pell almost added a third six minutes from time but his deflected effort from 25 yards was tipped over by Roche at full stretch and Arthur had a late chance to put the game to bed, but the Shrimps number one pulled off another fine save.

MORECAMBE (3-5-2): Roche; Winnard, Edwards, Wakefield (Fleming 5), McGowan, Kenyon, Murphy (c) (Molyneux 46), Rose, Conan; Mullin, Turner (Mabssanka 31). Subs not used: Nizic (Gk), Jordan.

CHELTENHAM TOWN (3-5-2): Griffiths; Parslow, Downes (c), O’Shaugnessy; Dickie, Pell, Storer, Munns (Barthram 72), Cranston; Wright (Morgan-Smith 59), Waters. Subs not used: Kitscha (Gk), Arthur, Rowe, Bower, Thomas. 

REFEREE: M Salisbury

ATTENDANCE: 1,291 (73 for Cheltenham) 

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