Full-time: Robins 4, Boreham Wood 1
Cheltenham Town extended their lead at the top of the Vanarama National League to three points with this comfortable victory over Boreham Wood at the World of Smile Stadium.
It was a welcome return to table topping form after the setback at Braintree Town last week, and very timely with important games at Wrexham (on Monday night) and Grimsby Town (on Friday) coming down the track.
Danny Wright bagged a brace, both his goals coming from the spot to take his season tally to 23 in all competitions.
They sandwiched by a beauty from Dan Holman, his 11th goal for the club since arriving in January.
He went on to put the seal on victory with a late goal after former Robin Danny Haynes had reduced arrears with a stunning free-kick from fully 30 yards.
The prolific pair have now supplied 21 of the last 22 goals for Gary Johnson, with Asa Hall’s late strike at Barrow the anomaly.
The match had been delayed by 15 minutes, so news of Forest Green Rovers’ draw with Aldershot had filtered through long before the final whistle.
Six games to go then, and a massive week in the title race. This win couldn’t have come at a better time.
Johnson made four changes for this one.
Out went full backs Jack Barthram and George McLennan, replaced by Rob Dickie and Jordan Cranston.
The Reading loanee returned to the club after that astonishing afternoon against Chelmsford City in December, where he scored three before injuring his ankle to rule him out for several months.
Meanwhile into a revamped midfield came Harry Pell and James Dayton, for James Rowe and Jack Munns, but they made an uncertain start.
The Hertfordshire side may have had their preparations disrupted by the traffic, but they were bright in the opening exchanges and forced Jon Flatt and Dan Parslow into vital blocks.
Danny Haynes, last term’s former loanee and looked dangerous down the left. There was a let off after 10 minutes when he rolled one across the face of goal, but his team mates hadn’t read his intentions.
Dayton then called James Russell, the Boreham Wood goalkeeper, into his first stop of the afternoon with a quarter of an hour played when he cut in from the left and hit a ferocious angled strike.
But the Robins were in front with 17 minutes on the clock, Wright adding his 19th league goal from the spot.
It was a harsh penalty, Scott Doe adjudged to have tripped Dan Holman who was attacking down the inside left channel, but the striker cooly dispatched the spot-kick.
Luke Howell and Pell exchanged wild efforts, and Kyle Storer volleyed over with the interval approaching.
Then Holman doubled the lead, bringing down a diagonal ball on the right before cutting inside Scott Doe and unleashing an unstoppable shot into the top right corner to bring his tally for the season to 11.
Cameron Burgess was a whisker away from making it three moments after the restart, meeting Storer’s free-kick with a powerful header, but it flew inches over.
Wright doubled his account six minutes after the break, once again from 12 yards, after Pell was brought down by Doe down the right channel. The left back had no complaints after conceding his second of the afternoon.
Wright stepped up and choose the same side, lifting this one over Russell’s hand to add the afternoon’s third goal.
The Robins were totally dominant at this point, and the Hertfordshire side had virtually thrown in the towel.
Asa Hall hit the left upright from 20 yards, and Wright was denied a hat trick by Russell who got down well to push away the striker’s shot on the turn.
It was one way traffic, but a clumsy challenge 27 minutes from time handed Haynes the chance his arm from fully 30 yards, and he beat Flatt with an outstanding effort into the top right-hand corner.
Amari Morgan-Smith replaced Wright for the final 15 minutes, and drew a smart stop from Russell while Pell fizzed a free-kick over the angle of the frame from 25 yards.
He later hoisted one over the bar from the edge of the box, but it didn't matter.
The Robins were home and hosed a long time before that, but Holman stepped up to add his second
Cranston found Morgan-Smith, threading it through to the striker who provided the clinical finish to round off a good afternoon at the World of Smile Stadium.
CHELTENHAM TOWN (4-4-2): Flatt; Dickie, Parslow, Burgess, Cranston; Dayton (Munns 75), Pell, Storer (c), Hall (Rowe 68); Holman, Wright (Morgan-Smith 75). Subs not used: McLennan, Lovett (Gk)
BOREHAM WOOD (4-4-2): Russell; Devera, Doe, Stephens, Woodards; Shakes, Kamdjo, Clifford (c), Haynes; Howell, White (Lucas 74). Subs not used: Nunn, Reynolds, Sam-Yorke, Morais.
REFEREE: R Whitton
ATTENDANCE: 3,242 (55 from Boreham Wood)