REPORT: Cheltenham Town 6-1 Leicester City U21sCheltenham Town put on a dominant display to beat Leicester Under 21s 6-1 in the second round of the Checkatrade Trophy at the LCI Rail Stadium.
Diego De Girolamo scored two first half goals and Dan O’Shaughnessy also got his name on the scoresheet as The Robins went in 3-1 ahead at the break, with Bartosz Kapustka getting the reply for Leicester.
Gary Johnson’s men continued their strong showing in the second half with Billy Waters and Amari Morgan-Smith getting one each, and De Girolamo also scored his third to ensure he got to take home the match ball on his home debut.
The win means that Cheltenham go through to the third round of the competition, where they will face Bradford at home next Tuesday.
With five minutes on the clock The Robins thought they had taken the lead when Waters’ cross was turned in by a Leicester defender, but unfortunately Danny Wright was adjudged to be interfering with play when he was in an offside position so it was ruled out.
Just three minutes later, though, Cheltenham did take the lead when Jack Barthram’s cross-come-shot was turned in by De Girolamo from close range.
However, Leicester were level almost immediately as on the 10 minute mark Kapustka managed to turn inside the box and unleash a low shot past Calum Kitscha.
The away side grew into the game from that point and had a good spell of pressure, but they couldn’t create and clear-cut chances and they were made to pay for it.
With just over half an hour played, James Rowe’s corner was cleared to the edge of the box and O’Shaughnessy was there to hit a half volley under Ben Hamer in the Leicester goal.
Hamer had to be replaced shortly after by Max Bramley due to injury, and his first job was to pick the ball out of the back of the net when De Girolamo scored his second of the game with an exquisite chipped volley to make it 3-1.
It stayed that way until half time, and then after the interval it was The Robins who extended their lead even further to kill the game off.
On 65 minutes James Rowe let fly with a free kick from the edge of the box that was deflected into the path of Harry Pell, and his ball across the six yard box was guided in by Waters.
And the goals didn’t stop there either, as with 10 minutes to go Morgan-Smith smashed in a rebound from De Girolamo’s initial effort to make it 5-1.
De Girolamo wasn’t to be denied his hat-trick though as with just a few minutes to go Morgan-Smith returned the favour and set up the Bristol City loanee’s third goal of the night.
Cheltenham Town: C Kitscha, W Boyle, E Onariase, D O’Shaughnessy, J Cranston, J Bertram, J Rowe (J Munns, 73), H Pell (C), D De Girolamo, B Waters (A Morgan-Smith, 73), D Wright (J Dayton, 73).
Unused Subs: L Clayton, A Downes, D Parslow, K Storer.
Leicester City U21s: B Hamer (C) (M Bramley, 33), B Kapustka, C Kipre (K Mitchell, 60), M Miles, H Barnes, A Muskwe, H Choudhury, L Ndukwu, D Johnson, J Debayo (C Wood, 70), A Pascanu.
Unused Subs: J Knight, R Uche Rubio, D Watts.
Attendance: 1028 (77)