A fantastic team performance
A young Cheltenham Town side produced an outstanding performance and emerged 2-0 winners away at Newport County in the Central League.
The Robins' side, made up of all U18's players came up against a strong Exiles side, with the hosts' entire starting 11 consisting of first team squad members.
Newport were the dominant side in the first half and had several great chances to open the scoring. Ross Grimshaw in the Cheltenham net produced a number of great saves and the centre-back pairing of Ollie Hunt and Jamie Kilkenny battled away to keep the experienced Newport strikers out.
Despite having few chances of their own, the Robins defended as a unit and kept the score at 0-0 going into half-time.
After the break, Cheltenham managed to get a stronger foothold in the game and took the lead in the 53rd minute when captain Josh Thomas coolly slotted home a penalty. Thomas himself had helped to win the penalty, his surging run from inside his own half beat several Newport players before he squared the ball to James Hancocks who was brought down inside the box.
Newport pushed hard for an equaliser and were only kept out by Grimshaw and yet more fine saves.
Buoyed by the inspired performance of their keeper, Cheltenham pushed forward and deservedly doubled their lead in the 64th minute. 16 year old trialist Rhys Sarsen smashed the ball home from 10 yards after it had dropped to him, capping off a fine individual performance.
Newport dominated the rest of the match with their senior pros commanding possession and territory but the Robins held firm, throwing their bodies in the line of many shots to maintain the clean sheet and securing the win.
Ross Grimshaw, Owen Williams, Dom Thompson, Archie Brennan, Jamie Kilkenny, Ollie Hunt, George Llyod, Josh Thomas (c), Rhys Sarsen (68, Josh Bennai), Lee Llewelyn, James Hancocks (81, Ryan Davis)
Watch what Academy Manager Antoine Thompson and U18s Coach Pete Haynes had to say about their team's performance and the overall strength of the academy, on Robins TV here: