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Match Reports

Cheltenham Town vs Blackpool

29 October 2016

Full-time: Robins 2, Blackpool 2

Cheltenham Town stretched their unbeaten run to five league matches after this useful draw with Blackpool, despite taking the lead on two occasions at the LCI Rail Stadium.

Although they led on two occasions the Robins were indebted to a fine display of goalkeeping by Russell Griffiths, who produced a string a great saves to ensure a share of the points.

The visitors had already created a handful of good openings before James Dayton and Danny Pugh contrived to hand the Robins an unlikely 18th minute lead.

The Blackpool skipper seemed to apply the telling touch to the Cheltenham winger’s free-kick, not the the home faithful cared too much.

Kyle Vassell was Seasiders' outstanding performer and deservedly levelled the match on the stroke of half-time, however his defence let him down moments later to hand Danny Wright the chance to restore the lead deep into injury time.

But just 90 seconds after the restart, the striker added a magnificent second to square the match.

The Robins don’t have the best record against the Seasiders, picking up one win in six previous league encounters but on the balance of play this was a decent point.

Boss Gary Johnson made just one change to the side that came away from Grimsby with an impressive win last weekend.

Wright was suspended for the match at Blundell Park and came back into the team at the expense of Jack Munns, who dropped to the bench.

Harry Pell partnered Billy Waters in attack seven days ago but moved back into his more familiar midfield role between Kyle Storer and Dayton in a tried and trust 3-5-2 formation.

Blackpool were quick out of the blocks and created four great openings inside the first 12 minutes.

Griffiths was called into his first save of the game, a diving stop, only 15 seconds in when he leapt to his left to deny Jamille Matt from 12 yards.

Six minutes later Brad Potts went even closer, rounding the Cheltenham number one before blasting an effort against the bar.

Then Vassell watched a deflected free-kick drop a foot the wrong side of the right post with Griffiths rooted.

The Robins then defended manfully to prevent an alrighty goalmouth scramble leading to a goal, Parslow alone making two vital blocks.

Next there was a moment of controversy when Kyle Storer pumped one forward for Billy Waters to chase.

It looked a lost cause but the Seasiders’ goalkeeper Sam Slocombe senseless handled the ball outside the box, earning the first caution of the afternoon.

On that occasion he was lucky, with Cheltenham wasting the free-kick but moments later they took full advantage of more shoddy goalkeeping from another set piece.

Dayton swung in a ball from the right and skipper Pugh inadvertently steered the ball past his own goalkeeper to hand the Robins the lead with 18 minutes on the clock.

They settled into the game after the goal, stemming the flow of chances until Kelvin Mellor glanced a corner inches wide of the left upright 10 minutes before the break.

Vassell was then gifted a free header, meeting Colin Daniel’s inviting ball from the right with a decent enough header but Griffiths was equal to it.

Vassell had stood out for the visitors so it was no mistake when he squared the game on the stroke of half-time.

Potts turned defence into attack, breaking clear from a Robins corner before releasing the Blackpool striker down the right channel who made no mistake with a confident finish.

It was no more than his side deserved, but they switched off deep into injury time to allow Cheltenham to restore the lead through Danny Wright.

Cranston lifted a long diagonal ball from the left, Parslow flicked it on into the path of Wright who did the rest.

But the game was once again level only 90 seconds into the second half when Vassell produced the goal of the game, swapping passes with Daniel before letting rip from the 25 yards.

The Robins were thankful for another fine save from Griffiths 25 minutes from time to prevent Jamille Matt adding a third after the striker picked up Aaron Downes’ uncertain clearance.

Johnson switched his formation to 4-4-2 for the closing stages, sending on Amari Morgan-Smith (for Jack Barthram) and Jack Munns (Dayton) with the game finely balanced.

Harry Pell had a couple chances from distance, one well over and another brilliantly struck but saved as the game finished without incident and with honours even.

CHELTENHAM TOWN: Griffiths; Dickie; Downes (c), Parslow; Barthram (Morgan-Smith 67), Dayton (Munns 78), Storer, Pell, Cranston; Waters, Wright. Subs not used: Kitscha (Gk), Lymn, Whitehead, O’Shaughnessy, Suliman.

BLACKPOOL: Slocombe; Mellor, Aldred, Robertson, Taylor; Potts, Payne, Pugh (c), Daniel; Vassell, Matt (Gnanguillet 82). Subs not used: McAlister, Cullen, Nolan, Philliskirk, Boney (Gk), Cain.


ATTENDANCE: 3,162 (360 from Blackpool)

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