Andy Williams netted his third and fourth goals of the summer as Cheltenham Town beat Championship side Coventry City 2-0 in their latest pre-season test at the Jonny-Rocks Stadium.
This was the second of back-to-back home pre-season friendlies against second tier opposition for Cheltenham following last weekend’s visit of Birmingham City – in what was an impressive all-round showing from the Robins.
"The few weeks of pre-season has been really physical so it's starting to ramp up now," boss Michael Duff said after the match.
"So far we've shown the lads are unbelievably fit so the next two weeks will involve a lot of tactical and technical work.
"The plan is to get the lads to the start of the season in a certain position so today was another step in the right direction. It was a good day"
Chris Hussey lined-up in midfield alongside Liam Sercombe and trialist Dylan Barkers, with Duff taking another look at Vince Harper, who started at left-wing-back.
A mistimed interception gave Cheltenham the first opening of the game as Alfie May threaded a neat pass into Sean Long on the right, but his cutback was blocked for a corner by Coventry’s one starting trialist.
More sloppy play in the Sky Blues midfield then allowed Sercombe to run into space in a three v three situation, carrying the ball all the way into the penalty area and unleashing a shot that Simon Moore saved well with his legs in what was a positive start from Duff’s charges.
The League One side took a well-deserved lead on 22 minutes as May chased a long ball on the right flank and crossed for Williams to tap in via a small deflection in front of the Hazlewoods Stand, which was housing away fans for first time since March 2020.
Coventry academy graduate Jordan Shipley’s shot was the only attempt on target that Owen Evans faced in the opening 45 minutes as the hosts continued to keep their defensive shape well.
Mark Robins rang the changes for the visitors with four subs on 55 minutes and that lifted their performance, with summer signing Martin Waghorn spinning and forcing Evans into a fine save low down to his right.
The experienced forward then tried an audacious scorpion kick in attempting to lob Evans, only to see it drop harmlessly wide as Ellis Chapman came on for Harper to make his first appearance of pre-season for Cheltenham.
At the other end, Sercombe played a through ball into the path of May but despite dribbling around goalkeeper Moore, his shot hit the side netting in the hosts’ best opening of the second period.
The impressive Sercombe twisted and turned on the edge of the penalty area before striking a low effort wide following a deflection as the Robins pushed for a second – while a minute later Evans parried Waghorn’s strike from a tight angle.
Welsh stopper Evans continued to impress, first making a one on one save to deny Viktor Gyokeres an equaliser and then holding Waghorn’s back heel after the Swede crossed from the left.
After two more off target attempts from the Sky Blues, Williams kept his composure to register a brace following Chapman’s powerful volley, coolly slotting home the rebound at the Speedy Skips End.
Cheltenham Town will complete their pre-season schedule with a trip to Hereford on Tuesday night before hosting League Two Walsall next Saturday at 3pm.
ROBINS (3-5-2): Evans (Gk), Long (Horton 46), Hussey, Raglan, Freestone, Sercombe, May, Williams, Boyle ©, Harper (Chapman 62), Barkers.
Subs not used: Flinders (Gk), Aldridge, Armitage, Taylor, Miles.
COVENTRY CITY (3-4-3): Moore (Gk), O’Hare (Bapga 62), Trialist (Allen 55), Sheaf (Gyokores 55), Pask (McFadzean 25), Walker (Jones 55), Reid, Dabo (Dacosta 46), Shipley (Waghorn 55), Drysdale (Rowe 74), Hamer (Howley 81).
Subs not used: Wilson (Gk)
Attendance: 1,174 (away tbc)