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Match Reports

Report & highlights: Bristol Rovers 3-0 Robins

13 August 2019

Cheltenham Town's involvement in this season's Carabao Cup came to a disappointing end after being well beaten at Bristol Rovers this evening.

It was the first time that the Robins had fallen at the first hurdle in five years after a performance so at odds with the effervescent display against Scunthorpe United four days ago.

The result once again left boss Michael Duff bemoaning his side's inability to translate their home form into results away from the Jonny-Rocks Stadium, despite competing against a side from a level above.

In the end two Tyler Smith goals in 11 minutes either side of half-time put paid to the Robins' challenge. Jonson Clarke-Harris wrapped it up 23 minutes from time.

Next up, Morecambe away in League Two this Saturday and the manager will hope his side can rediscover the form that serves them so well back in Gloucestershire.

Duff rang the changes here, making five in total to the side that ran out convincing 4-1 winners at the weekend.

In came Jacob Greaves, Josh Debayo, Conor Thomas, Alex Addai and Luke Varney while young prospects Archie Brennan, Grant Horton and Tom Chamberlain were promoted to the bench. Tahvon Campbell was named among the substitutes.

Ollie Clarke made a decent start in the Bristol Rovers midfield and created a couple of early openings, forcing Scott Flinders into the first meaningful save of the contest with 20 minutes on the clock.

Kyle Bennett went close for the hosts 10 minutes later, exchanging passes with Jonson Clarke-Harris before lifting a deflected effort a foot over the bar. Then Flinders did well to gather a menacing Clarke-Harris cross shortly afterwards as the home side began to really impose themselves on the contest.

But eight minutes before the interval, the home side took the lead through Smith who was presented the easiest of finishes to hand his side a deserved lead after Flinders had parried a swerving long ranger into the midfielder's path.

Duff made a change at the break, swapping Addai for Campbell and matching Rovers for formation and it almost paid dividends when Greaves headed Ben Tozer's long throw narrowly over. It could have changed the complexion of the game.

However things went from bad to worse when Smith quickly added his second after racing on to a measured ball from Clarke before beating Flinders with a good finish on the angle.

Smith was denied a hatrick only six minutes later when Flinders pushed Liam Sercombe's well struck 20-yard strike into his path but on this occasion he was adjudged to be offside as he stroked home from close range.

He unselfishly created his side's third, setting up Clarke-Harris for a simple finish in the 67th minute before being withdrawn a minute later, ensuring the League One side progressed into the second round.

BRISTOL ROVERS (4-4-2): Jaakkola; Hare, Kilgour, Davies, Leahy; Clarke (c) (Rodman 76), Ogogo, Bennett, Sercombe; Clarke-Harris (Adeboyejo 66), Smith (Nichols 71). Subs not used: Van Stappershoef (Gk), Craig, Upson, Hoole.

CHELTENHAM TOWN (3-5-2): Flinders; Raglan, Tozer (c), Greaves; Long, Thomas (Lloyd 65), Clements, Doyle-Hayes, Debayo (Bowry 76); Addai (Campbell 46), Varney. Subs not used: Lovett (Gk), Brennan, Horton, Chamberlain.

REFEREE: M Salisbury

ATTENDANCE: 2,909 (Cheltenham tbc)


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