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Match Reports

Report & highlights: Colchester United 0-2 Robins

29 February 2020

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Cheltenham Town produced a performance full of grit and determination to run out winners at fellow promotion hopefuls Colchester United.

A goal either side of the interval handed Michael Duff's side a fifth straight win, a result that took them up a place into fourth spot tonight.

It wasn't a game for the purists but once again the Robins showed all the qualities they'll need to mount a promotion push in the coming months.

If Alfie May's goal before the break was against the run of play then Chris Hussey's free-kick was more than merited for an outstanding second half showing that restricted Colchester to one wayward effort.

So are you daring to dream? 

Duff made three changes to his side, two of which were forced by injury. Conor Thomas and Jake Doyle-Hayes missed out with knocks and were replaced in midfield by Chris Clements and Max Sheaf while Luke Varney came in for Reuben Reid in attack.

Alex Addai travelled with the squad to Essex but suffered a knee problem ahead of the match and was replaced on the bench by Jonte Smith.

Colchester were in the ascendancy in the first half, adapting much better to a pitch – which was boggy in places – but it was the Robins that held the initiative at the interval because of May's goal.

Owen Evans made a smart early stop to prevent Ben Stevenson grabbing the opening goal with 13 minutes played after the Colchester midfielder had forced his way into a good position in the box.

Theo Robinson fashioned a shooting chance a few moments later but he pushed his effort needed more curl to test the Cheltenham number one.

It was keenly contested and perhaps it was no surprise to see Harry Pell flashed the first yellow card on 19 minutes for a typically robust challenge on Luke Varney. It was one of a string of niggly clashes which also saw May cautioned before the break.

But it was his first-half goal that everyone was talking about at the half-way point and it came against the run of play in the 39th minute.

The diminutive striker sprung the offside trap to race onto Clements' searching ball before beating Dean Gerken with a low effort that squirted under the Colchester goalkeeper.

Where Colchester edged the first period, the second belonged to Cheltenham.

Robinson did have another chance 10 minutes after the break, meeting Ryan Jackson's cross with a firm volley but it flew over the bar, but the Robins dug in and fought to restrict their hosts.

Duff made a couple of changes in the opening exchanges of the second period. Rohan Ince was pressed into action in midfield at the expense of Clements while Varney was withdrawn with what looked like a leg strain, with Smith going on in his place.

Gerken made his first real save of note 23 minutes from time to deny Sheaf, curling one from the edge of the box after a nice move down the left as Duff's side enjoyed their best spell of the game to frustrate the hosts.

And the pressure culminated with the second goal 11 minutes from time, Hussey finding the top corner with an inswinging free-kick from a tight angle down the right to send the 196 travelling fans into jubilation. They're starting to sense something special.

COLCHESTER UNITED (4-2-3-1): Gerken; Jackson, Sowunmi, Prosser, Bramall; Comley (Norris 69), Pell; Stevenson, Poku (Nouble 69), Harriott; Robinson. Subs not used: Ross (Gk), Senior, Eastman, Clampin, Gambin.

CHELTENHAM TOWN (3-5-2): Evans; Raglan, Tozer (c), Boyle; Long, Clements (Ince 58), Sheaf, Broom, Hussey; May (Nichols 87), Varney (Smith 61). Subs not used: Lovett (Gk), Reid, Debayo, Greaves.

REFEREE: S Purkiss

ATTENDANCE: 3,986 (196 from Cheltenham)


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