Strong performance from the young Robins
Cheltenham Town Under-18's secured a first victory of their EFL Youth Alliance Merit League Two season against Northampton Town at Seasons Training Ground.
George Lloyd put in a man of the match display, scoring once and assisting James Hancocks twice as Cheltenham Town went into half time three goals to the good. Matt Bower was also on target for the young Robins, with the giant defender netting his first goal for the side.
It was a frantic start to the game at a blustery Seasons as returning Cheltenham goalkeeper Lewis Clayton got down well to save a deflected James Gillard shot. At the other end, Cheltenham Town's front men were applying plenty of pressure to the Northampton back line and that pressure paid off after just five minutes.
George Lloyd charged down Cobblers' goalkeeper Adam North's attempted clearance and James Hancocks was on hand to slot the ball into an empty net.
The visitors had their best chance to level in the 11th minute but Lewis Irwin could only head Gillard's dangerous free kick wide of the left hand post.
Cheltenham Town U18's were starting to dominate proceedings, using the wind and downhill slope to their advantage as both Matt Bower and George Lloyd came close from set pieces. But the second goal soon arrived and it was the same combination involved in the first that provided it.
Lloyd somehow managed to bring down a long ball inside the penalty box and the tricky striker once again squared the ball to Hancocks, who tapped home.
The floodgates were starting to open and Lloyd made it 3-0 when he rounded North before coolly finishing into the middle of the net, capping off an impressive first half performance.
After the interval, Northampton enjoyed their best spell of play and after Cheltenham failed to clear a corner Ben Toyland volleyed the visitors back into the game.
However it didn't take long for Cheltenham to re-establish their three goal lead as Matt Bower rose highest and powered a header into the roof of the net following a Lee Llewelyn corner. A first goal for Bower prompted ecstatic celebrations not just on the pitch but also in the Cheltenham Town dugout as the young Robins made it 4-1 in the 69th minute.
With the game effectively over as a contest, Antoine Thompson's side cruised to three points and sealed a first win of their new league season.
Cheltenham Town U18's team: Clayton, Handley, Davis, Kilkenny, Bower, Brennan, Llewelyn, Dawes, Horton, Lloyd, Hancocks. Subs: Grimshaw, Bennai, Scott, Clift, Gickes.
Watch Academy Boss Anotine Thompson's reaction to the win, on Robins TV here: