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Match Reports

REPORT: Crawley Town 3-5 Robins

24 March 2018

Five-star Cheltenham Town produced a stunning and ruthless attacking display as they put Crawley Town to the sword in Sky Bet League Two.

The Robins enjoyed an absolute dream first half in Sussex as the returning Harry Pell grabbed two early goals – one a long range stunner - before in-form striker Mo Eisa netted for the comfort of a 3-0 lead.

Eisa then netted his 20th league goal of the season just after the break - to equal Julian Alsop's club record in a Football League season.

Karlan Ahearne-Grant netted from close range for the hosts before Will Boyle hit back, rising highest to nod home a free header from a corner.

Eisa was inches from his second hat-trick of the season - rattling the post from range - before goals from Camara and Young gave the home side late hope.

Manager Gary Johnson made one change for the fixture as Pell replaced Joe Morrell, who was away after playing for Wales Under-21s. Jerell Sellars, Manny Onriase and Elijah Adebayo returned on the bench.

And the Robins were straight into their stride, almost taking the lead after less than five minutes when Kevin Dawson and Eisa combined to take the ball off Mark Randall but Dawson's rising shot fizzed over.

But less than 60 seconds later home defender Lewis Young was the next to be robbed of possession and Pell strode forward, took aim and unleashed a superb 25-yard strike that arrowed into the top corner.

Then, just minutes later, the away side went further ahead as Eisa raced away – after handball appeals were waved away - to break the offside trap and, after going around the goalkeeper, was taken down for a penalty by Josh Yorwerth.

Pell's spot kick was well saved by home stopper Glenn Morris low down to his left, but the midfielder remained calm to turn home the rebound into the net to cap a perfect opening 12 minutes.

Crawley looked to respond with a surging run from midfield freeing up room for Randall to try his luck, but Scott Flinders comfortably saved well to his left.

But it was Cheltenham who were playing all the neat and incisive football as Dawson, playing in the centre of the park, found midfield partner Winchester who almost rolled in a marauding Nigel Atangana.

Eisa was next to burst away down the right wing, after a lovely find from Jake Andrews, and he almost picked out Pell at the back post, only for Lewis Young to turn the ball over his own bar.

The Robins were repeatedly finding acres of space in the middle of the park as they patiently probed for openings.

Ilias Chatzitheodoris almost picked out Dawson with a drilled pass before Winchester crashed a shot over the bar after being played in by the threatening Eisa.

Crawley were rocking and went further behind when a superb cross field ball picked out Eisa who beat the offside trap, took the ball down and - after being pushed wide by Morris - took his time to fire home.

One minute from half-time it nearly got even worse for the Red Devils when Eisa cleverly rolled in Chatzitheodoris but his low shot was well saved by the over-worked Morris.

Two minutes after the restart, though, the home side imploded once again.

A high ball over the top was poorly headed home and Eisa nipped in, rounded the goalkeeper and slotted home from a tight angle for his 20th of the season in front of wild away celebrations.

Home forward Ahearne-Grant hit back, as he took advantage of some poor defending at the back post to stab the ball under Flinders.

But back roared the Robins and any hopes of a home comeback were ended when corner was met by an unmarked Boyle who headed home from six yards to restore the four-goal lead.

Eisa was then so close to his treble when he curled a shot against the upright from 18 yards out.

Johnson took the chance to make changes and gave young striker George Lloyd a run, as he came on after 67 minutes, alongside Brian Graham.

Crawley by now had thrown all caution to the wind and hit back once more, with Panutche Camara heading home from close range.

Graham almost scored a sixth when he cut inside the last man but was denied by a superb last ditch block from the hosts.

Young got another back for Crawley, turning the ball home from six yards out after Flinders just failed to hold onto a bobbling shot, but it was no more than a late consolation as the Robins held firm.

CRAWLEY: Morris (Gk), Young, McNerney, Yorwerth (Tajbakash 67), Evina (Roberts 61), Boldewijn, Smith, Bulman, Ahearne-Grant, Randall, Camara. Subs not used: Mersin (Gk), Sanoh, Payne, Lelan, Djalo.

ROBINS: Flinders (Gk), Grimes, Atangana, Pell, Dawson, Winchester (Graham 67), Boyle, Eisa, Moore, Chatzitheodoridis (Cranston 78), Andrews (Lloyd 67). Subs not used: Adebayo, Sellars, Lovett (Gk).

ATTENDANCE: 2,172 (155 away)

REFEREE: Chris Sarginson

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