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Match Reports

REPORT: Robins 1-1 Barnet

27 January 2018

Mo Eisa scored his 14th goal of the season as Cheltenham Town were held by Barnet in an entertaining Sky Bet League Two fixture at The LCI Rail Stadium.

The Bees were ahead after just two minutes when Ricardo Santos scrambled the ball over the line when meeting Ryan Watson’s corner, getting Graham Westley’s team off to the perfect start.

Eisa nearly had the Robins level on three separate occasions before half-time, coming close with two free-kicks and having a goal ruled out for offside but Cheltenham went into the break behind.

Gary Johnson brought on Brian Graham and Elijah Adebayo for the second-half and after dominating the play, Eisa smashed in the equaliser after 65 minutes when Adebayo knocked the ball down to him inside the six-yard-box.

Bottom-club Barnet grew back into the game but despite an end to end finish, neither side could find a winner in Gloucestershire.

Johnson made two changes to the team that started at Mansfield Town, as suspended pair Taylor Moore and Danny Wright dropped out of the team for Will Boyle and Jerell Sellars.

Harry Pell moved up front with Eisa in a 3-5-2 system for the Robins, both players started as strikers in a 2-0 victory at The Hive Stadium in December when the two sides last met.  

Barnet set about attacking straight from kick-off and had two shots from just outside the box as Ryan Watson’s attempt cannoned off John Akinde after 15 seconds.

But the visitors took a very early lead in the second minute as Watson’s corner was met by Santos, who squeezed the ball underneath Scott Flinders and over the line from just a couple of yards out.

Eisa nearly had the Robins level shortly after, curling a free-kick inches wide of Craig Ross’ goal after captain Carl Winchester was hacked down 30-yards-out.

Sellars was fouled in a similar position after 15 minutes and Eisa tried his luck again, forcing Ross to parry his dipping free-kick away, but despite good work from Joe Morrell afterwards, Pell couldn’t get a shot away.

Cheltenham were causing problems from set-pieces as Morrell’s lofted effort from the wide left position was dropped by Ross, but the Barnet goalkeeper quickly retained the ball.

Eisa then had the ball in the net after 29 minutes, but it was ruled out after Kevin Dawson flicked the ball over to him in an offside position.

At the other end, Flinders got down low to his right to make an important save, denying Shaquile Coulthirst’s well struck volley to keep the score at 1-0 with just over ten minutes until the interval.

Cheltenham were pushing hard for an equaliser and after a superb cross-field pass from Morrell, Pell powered past three players and put in a dangerous cross which was bravely headed behind by Richard Brindley.

Sellars then hit a powerful effort from just outside the penalty area, but Ross was equal to it once more as the Bees went into half-time with a slender lead.

Johnson made two substitutions ahead of the second-half as strikers Graham and Adebayo replaced Sellars and Manny Onariase.

Winchester sliced a volley wide as the hosts sought to get back into the game immediately after the break, Morrell then curled a shot into the arms of Ross in the 48th minute.

Dawson then whipped in a brilliant cross, but Ross’ punched clearance hit Adebayo on the back of the head and dropped agonisingly wide of the target.

Cheltenham were now completely dominating the play, but Barnet were inches away from doubling their lead after 58 minutes when Coulthirst shrugged off Ilias Chatzitheodoridis before pulling his shot wide.

But Eisa finally levelled the scores up when Dawson’s cross was brought down by Adebayo for the Sudan-born forward to volley into the back of the net.

Morrell’s chipped free-kick was hooked into the box by Eisa but Dawson sliced over the top as Cheltenham looked to complete the comeback.

Akinola then came close to restoring Barnet’s lead but his long-range effort deflected wide.

Both sides went in search of a winner with Dan Sweeney coming the closest for Barnet with a header and Adebayo tested Ross again in added time but neither side could win it late on.

CHELTENHAM TOWN: Flinders (Gk), Grimes, Pell, Dawson, Winchester, Boyle, Sellars (Adebayo 45), Eisa, Morrell, Onariase (Graham 45), Chatzitheodoridis (Atangana 75). Subs not used:Bower, Thomas, Lovett (Gk), Lloyd.

BARNET: Ross (Gk), Brindley, Santos, Watson, Weston (Vilhete 73), Akinde, Coulthirst, Taylor (Clough 52), Tutonda, Nicholls (Akinola 62), Sweeney. Subs not used:Campbell-Ryce, Bover, McKenzie-Lyle (Gk), Payne.

REFEREE: Lee Swabey (Kevin Johnson 36)

ATTENDANCE: 2609 (154 from Barnet)

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