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Match Reports

Report & highlights: Robins 1-2 Morecambe

12 September 2020

Match Reports

Report & highlights: Robins 1-2 Morecambe

12 September 2020

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Cheltenham Town slipped to a disappointing defeat on the opening day of the 2020/21 EFL campaign, shipping two late goals to surrender a lead thanks to Alfie May's goal before the break.

Things looked so promising at the half-way point after May had capped an impressive first half display by opening his account midway through the opening 45 minutes.

But the introduction of former Robin striker Liam McAlinden turned the game upside down, handing the visitors the initiative with an effervescent display that led to Adam Phillips – from the spot – and Carlos Mendes Gomes handing their side a dramatic opening day victory.

The loss left Michael Duff frustrated after the final whistle.

"We were in total control until we scored the goal, and then came away from what we did.

"We didn't pass the once in the second half and the back three looked as if they'd never played together which we talked about at half-time.

"We didn't take responsibility to take the ball and went too long and the penalty compounded it. They were two really poor goals to concede."

Duff made one change to the side that defeated Peterborough in the Carabao Cup the previous Saturday.

In came Will Boyle for Lewis Freestone, who missed out with a foot injury. There were four debutants in the side in Josh Griffiths, Finn Azaz, Liam Sercombe and Andy Williams and two of them combined after nine minutes to fashion the first opening.

Azaz twisted and turned away from his marker to lift a ball to the back post, but Williams glanced his header wide.

Another, Griffiths, produced a smart reflex save to deny the visitors an equaliser with a deflected cross moments later.

The Robins broke the deadlock with 28 minutes play when May was quickest to react to Conor Thomas' cross, which came back off the bar. The ball bounced loose and the diminutive striker smashed it home to open his account for the season.

There was a let off for Ben Tozer approaching half-time, when he misjudged his header to allow Cole Stockton a chance, but the striker lifted his effort wide of the right post.

McAlinden came on at the break and really made a difference to Morecambe in attack. He went close to pulling his latest side level within minutes of the restart but he pulled his effort a foot wide of the right post. Next he curled one wide while there was a chance for Boyle, but Jake Turner saved.

The visitors were deservedly level with 12 minutes to play after Chris Clements had tangled with Phillips to concede a penalty. Phillips took responsibility himself, stepping up to beat Griffiths down the middle.

Carlos Medes Gomes was a whisker away from snatching a late win with a clever effort while late substitute Reuben Reid watched an angled effort roll agonisingly wide as the game entered injury time.

Morecambe completed the comeback deep into added on time after a counter attack spearheaded by McAlinden, teeing up Mendes Gomes 12 yards out who cooly picked his spot to hand the visitors all the points on the opening day.

CHELTENHAM TOWN (3-5-2): Griffiths; Raglan, Tozer (c), Boyle; Thomas, Azaz, Clements (Blair 81), Sercombe, Hussey; Williams (Reid 85), May (Addai 74). Subs not used: Bowry, Lloyd, Harris (Gk), Bonds.

MORECAMBE (3-5-2): Turner; Hendrie, Davis, Knight-Percival; Mellor, Pringle (Kenyon 82), Diagouraga, Phillips, Hendrie; Phillips (O'Sullivan 88), Stockton (McAlinden 46). Subs not used: Slew, Halstead (Gk), Cooney, Price.


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