Cheltenham Town 1-0 Bolton Wanderers
Cheltenham Town beat League One Bolton Wanderers 1-0 in the final group game of The Checkatrade Trophy on a wet and windy night at The LCI Rail Stadium.
After an even, yet goalless, first half, Bolton were the better side after the break but couldn’t get through a fantastically solid Robins defence.
With the game looking like it was going to be decided by a penalty shootout, Amari Morgan-Smith was fouled inside the box and scored the resulting spot kick.
The result means that Cheltenham go through to the knockout stages of the competition and pocket £10,000 in prize money.
The Robins named a strong line-up in Gary’s trusted 5-3-2 formation, with Jack Munns, Jack Barthram and Calum Kitscha coming into the side after missing out on Saturday.
Billy Waters had Cheltenham’s first chance on six minutes when he chased down a Bolton defender and found himself in space on the left hand side of the box, but his low shot went just wide of the near post.
Three minutes later the ball sat up nicely for Jordan Cranston around 30 yards out, and the wing-back hit a thunderous strike that was fantastically tipped wide by Ben Alnwick.
Quarter of an hour in Bolton had their first clear chance as Chris Taylor attempted a diving header from a whipped cross, but it went tamely into the hands of Kitscha.
With 30 minutes on the clock Cranston gave the ball away as Bolton broke with pace, and even though Taylor played a fantastic cross-field pass to Jamie Proctor, his dangerous ball into the box was cleverly diverted over the bar by Daniel Parslow.
There wasn’t much to choose between the sides as it remained goalless when Premier League referee Kevin Friend blew for half time.
Six minutes after the break James Henry found space on the left hand side for Bolton, and his cross went straight to the head of Keshi Anderson at the back post, but his poor attempt was caught by Kitscha when he should have done better.
The Trotters were having a lot of the ball at the start of the second half but Cheltenham’s solid shape was forcing the away side into long range efforts, such as David Wheater’s just before the hour mark.
The Robins were breaking with pace when they did get the ball, though, as just a few minutes later James Dayton got into the box and Alnwick had to be alert to keep his shot out.
But it was Bolton who were having the better chances and looking as if they would open the scoring, as Proctor and Henry both went close within the space of 60 seconds.
With 10 minutes to go there was a flurry of substitutions as Bolton made three changes and Cheltenham made two, including the return of Dan Holman.
And just when it looked like the game was going to go to penalties, substitute Morgan-Smith was brought down inside the box by Alnwick in added time.
And the striker dusted himself down to step up and smash it straight down the middle to send Cheltenham into the knockout stages of The Checkatrade Trophy.
Cheltenham Town: C Kitscha, A Downes (C), D Parslow, D O’Shaughnessy, J Cranston, R Dickie, H Pell, J Munns (D Whitehead, 88), J Dayton, D Wright (D Holman, 79), B Waters (A Morgan-Smith, 79).
Unused Subs: J Barthram, A Cooper, J Lymn, K Arthur.
Bolton Wanderers: B Alnwick, L Buxton, D Moxey, J Vela, C Taylor, J Proctor, K Anderson, L Trotter, L Wilson, J Henry, D Wheater (C).
Subs: J Turner, D Dervite, Z Clough, M Clayton, A Taylor, S Ameobi, A Perry.