Goals from Andy Williams and a dubiously awarded first-half Tony Craig own goal handed Cheltenham a fourth successive win in all competitions as Crawley Town were defeated 2-0 at the Jonny-Rocks Stadium.
Cheltenham’s third win in their first four league ties has propelled the Robins up to fifth place in the League Two standings.
Loanee goalkeeper Joshua Griffiths has now kept five clean sheets in seven impressive appearances for the club he joined in August.
Cheltenham’s defensive unit were key at both ends as the Robins searched for the game’s opening goal in the first-half.
Chris Hussey was constantly making headway down the left channel all afternoon, but Crawley’s defensive shape wasn’t to be broken down by corner deliveries as Hussey won a succession of set-pieces for Cheltenham.
In fact, it was Ben Tozer’s customary long-throw that picked the Crawley lock on the half-hour mark. His throw-in towards a congested penalty box was flicked on by a mixture of Will Boyle but eventually Crawley defender Craig’s head as the ball looped over goalkeeper Glenn Morris.
A well earned advantage before the break wouldn’t deter the Robins searching for more goals as the in-form Tom Sang replaced Finn Azaz at the interval.
Sang’s energy offered the Robins a different attacking dimension but ultimately it was Matty Blair’s ingenuity to carve out another chance for the hosts that settled the tie five minutes into the second period.
Williams finished with aplomb as he received the ball in the Crawley penalty box - experienced goalkeeper Morris hadn’t a chance to deny Williams his second for the Robins this season.
Morris is highly thought of by the Crawley supporters, and he lined up behind a defence that included 35-year-old centre-back, Craig, a former teammate of Cheltenham’s Liam Sercombe for the past two seasons at Bristol Rovers.
Sercombe made 36 accurate passes in an impressive sixth outing of the season for a midfielder destined to be a key part to any success Cheltenham hope to enjoy come the end of the campaign.
Robins manager Michael Duff handed 20-year-old forward George Lloyd a third league start, despite Reuben Reid’s double against Plymouth in the EFL Trophy last week.
Lloyd was denied on several occasions by Morris, whose fingertip save prevented the youngster scoring the game’s first goal as hosts Cheltenham attacked from the off.
John Yems’ Crawley came into the encounter on a three match unbeaten run having picked up since their opening day league defeat at Port Vale.
Though the Red Devils were victims to the Robins’ sound defensive and attacking display - one that’ll encourage fans away from the Jonny-Rocks as the season unfolds.
Cheltenham will play hosts to Grimsby Town on Tuesday (kick-off: 7:45pm) after the fixture was re-scheduled following last month’s cancellation.
CHELTENHAM TOWN (3-5-2): J Griffiths (Gk); C Raglan, B Tozer, W Boyle; L Sercombe, F Azaz, C Thomas, C Hussey, M Blair; G Lloyd, A Williams.
Subs not used: M Harris (Gk), T Sang, E Bonds, L Freestone, C Clements, R Reid, A May.
CRAWLEY TOWN (4-4-2): G Morris (Gk); G Francombe, J Tunnicliffe, T Craig, J Doherty; D Bulman, J Hessenthaler, T Frost, T Allarakhia; T Nichols, A Nadesan.
Subs not used: T McGill (Gk), B Galach, S Matthews, J McNerney, J Powell, N Ferguson, A Davies.
Referee: Trevor Kettle
Assistants: Dean Treleaven, Mike Desborough. Fourth Official: Kevin Morris