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Match Reports

REPORT: Coventry 2-1 Cheltenham

16 December 2017

Cheltenham Town were narrowly beaten by Coventry City in an entertaining Sky Bet League Two fixture at the Ricoh Arena.

Mo Eisa netted his eighth league goal of the season to equalise after Tom Bayliss gave the Sky Blues an early lead in the West Midlands, but Marc McNulty won it for the hosts in the second half.

Eisa had two close range efforts blocked by Coventry's long serving goalkeeper Lee Burge as both sides traded chance for chance in a breathless first half.

A similar pattern of play emerged during the second half and the Robins were indebted to keeper Scott Flinders as he made a brilliant close range save to parry away a McNulty header.

But City had the better of the second half chances and McNulty dinked in the winner with 15 minutes to go after being played clean through by Duckens Nazon.

Cheltenham manager Gary Johnson made two changes to the team that beat Crewe Alexandra last weekend, as Kyle Storer and Dan O'Shaughnessy came in for the injured Jerell Sellars and Taylor Moore.

A long injury list meant that the Robins could only name five substitutes including youth team player Will Dawes, who was on the bench for the first time.

It was a nightmare start for the visitors though as Bayliss opened the scoring after just two minutes as his long range shot deflected past a stranded Flinders and into the top corner.

Johnson's side nearly hit back straight away though as Eisa curled a free-kick onto the crossbar before breaking into the box and crossing low for Danny Wright, but the Robins striker couldn't quite get a touch inside the box.

The hosts were still a huge threat going forward as Max Biamou and Jordan Shipley both missed the target by inches in a frantic opening 10 minutes.

The action didn't stop there as the lively Eisa was played in on goal by Wright but Lee Burge blocked his effort as Cheltenham looked to make up for the early setback.

It really was end to end as McNulty then tried his luck with an effort that flew narrowly wide, and Eisa was then denied by Burge once more after neat play on the left hand side.

But the Sudanese forward finally found a way through after 35 minutes, steadying his feet and coolly finishing after taking a Kevin Dawson cross, giving the visitors a deserved equaliser going into half-time.

It took a little longer for the opportunities to start flowing after the interval, with Peter Vincenti blasting a shot high into the stands for Coventry and  Biamou heading wide.

Dawson tirelessly pursued a through ball before exchanging passes with Kyle Storer, but the Irishman failed to find the bottom corner as the Robins tried to get their noses in front for the first time.

Flinders then made a superb reaction save to push away McNulty's close range header after a Coventry corner wasn't fully cleared as Mark Robins' team started to take control.

But McNulty was not to be denied in the 75th minute though as he raced onto a clever cross-field pass by substitute Nazon and beat Flinders to give the Sky Blues the lead once more.

Carl Winchester flashed a cross across the face of goal but despite a scramble at the back post no Cheltenham player could get on the end of it as Coventry held on for three points.

COVENTRY CITY: Burge (GK), Jack Grimmer, Chris Stokes, Jordan Willis, Rod McDonald, Peter Vincenti, (Nazon 70), Michael Doyle (C), Max Biamou, Marc McNulty (Kelly-Evans 85) , Jordan Shipley, Tom Bayliss.

Subs not used: Liam O'Brien, Tom Davies, Stuart Beavon, Ryan Haynes, Ben Stevenson.

CHELTENHAM TOWN: Scott Flinders (GK), Jamie Grimes, Kyle Storer (C), Harry Pell, Kevin Dawson, Danny Wright (Atangana 75), Carl Winchester, Dan O'Shaughnessy, Will Boyle, Mohamed Eisa, Joe Morrell.

Subs not used: Rhys Lovett (GK), Adam Page, Matt Bower, Will Dawes.

REFEREE: David Webb

ATTENDANCE: 6,457 (537 from Cheltenham)

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