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Match Reports

REPORT: Robins 5-1 Port Vale

10 February 2018

Super Mo Eisa stole the show to net his first Football League hat-trick as Cheltenham Town thumped Port Vale to secure a first Sky Bet League Two victory since early January at the LCI Rail Stadium.

After a slow start to the game, Eisa was played through on the left-hand side of the six-yard-box by Sanmi Odelusi and the Sudan-born forward kept his cool to net his first after 13 minutes.

But Neil Aspin’s side were level ten minutes before half-time as Tom Pope stepped up to convert a penalty after Harry Pell made a clumsy challenge inside the penalty box.  

Just before the interval Eisa capitalised on an error by Vale goalkeeper Rob Lainton and scored his second of the game, and 16th of the season, despite having to beat two opposition players on the goal-line.

Elijah Adebayo then scored just five minutes after coming on in the second half, smashing into the bottom corner via a deflection off Lainton after a collision between two Vale players saw the Fulham loanee played clean through.

But nobody was taking the match-ball off of Eisa, who ran from right to left and curled in a sublime third before Will Boyle headed in a fifth to confirm Cheltenham’s biggest win of the season.

Johnson made one change to the team that drew at Grimsby Town last weekend as Odelusi came in to start his first game for the Robins after two substitute appearances for the injured Joe Morrell.

Morrell was missing his first game since the 11th of November as Cheltenham lined up in a 3-5-2 formation.

Having conceded early on in their last two games, Cheltenham started nervously as Port Vale forced an early corner when Tom Pope wrestled with Jamie Grimes.

Straight afterwards Brian Graham conceded a free-kick on the edge of the box which was eventually cleared as the home side looked to settle.

Pell’s wayward shot from 30-yards out was the only attempt in a quiet opening ten minutes, but with the first shot on target came the first goal three minutes later.

Graham flicked a long through pass on and Odelusi was alert to play the ball through to Eisa, who controlled and coolly slotted past former Robins loanee Lainton to score his 13th League Two goal of the season.

It was the first time Johnson’s side had taken the lead at home in four matches, as the front three of Graham, Odelusi and Eisa were combining well in Gloucestershire.

The Valiants continued to force set-pieces through corners and free-kicks but despite not testing Scott Finders in the Cheltenham goal, they were awarded a penalty after 35 minutes.

Pell made a clumsy challenge after a poor clearance and Tom Pope stepped up to net his 16th goal of the season, and third against Cheltenham, from the spot.

But Pell was to make amends when his long ball over the top was misjudged by Lainton and Eisa quickly controlled on his chest and fired past two Vale defenders on the line to score his fourth goal in three home games.

Michael Tonge curled a free-kick just wide moments later but it was the hosts who went into half-time ahead.

The visitors were constantly trying to cross the ball into the Cheltenham box, looking for the prolific Pope, but the home defence were dealing with his physical presence well.

Pope then fired a powerful half-volley from a tight angle into the arms of Flinders as Vale searched for another equaliser.

Both teams made double substitutions just after an hour and Adebayo, who replaced Graham, smashed in his second Cheltenham goal and first at the LCI Rail Stadium when a fortunate deflection fell at his feet just inside the six-yard-box.

With a two-goal cushion, Cheltenham were starting to enjoy themselves, as Will Boyle nearly added a fourth with a diving header that clipped the crossbar, but it was ruled out for offside anyway.

Jake Andrews was then subbed on for his debut after signing on loan from Bristol City but it was Eisa’s day and he completed his first ever EFL hat-trick after Pell charged down a clearance and Eisa rounded two players before curling in a sublime fourth for Cheltenham.

Boyle then capped off a perfect day for the Robins, powering in a header at the far post following Kevin Dawson’s corner as Cheltenham won for the first time at the LCI Rail Stadium in two months in style.

CHELTENHAM TOWN: Flinders (Gk), Grimes, Pell, Dawson, Winchester, Boyle, Eisa, Graham (Adebayo 62), Rodon, Odelusi (Atangana 62), Chatzitheodoridis (Andrews 77). Subs not used: Sellars, Bower, Lovett (Gk), Onariase.

PORT VALE: Lainton (Gk), Raglan, Kay (Howe 75), Pugh, Pope, Worrall, Forrester (Wilson 64), Gibbons, Smith, Tonge (Whitfield 64), Hannant. Subs not used: Harness, Montano, Boot (Gk), Howkins.

REFEREE: Brett Huxtable

ATTENDANCE: 2731 (355 from Port Vale)

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