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Match Reports

Report & highlights: Preston North End 4-1 Robins

21 September 2021

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A spirited second half display wasn't enough to prevent Cheltenham Town from exiting the Carabao Cup against higher level opposition at Preston North End.

Two goals down at the break, the introduction of striker Kyle Vassell off the bench and a change of shape sparked the Robins into life, and Vassell halved the deficit shortly after coming on.

Republic of Ireland international Sean Maguire and Dane Emil Riis made sure of Preston's place in the last 16 though when they scored late on to secure them safe passage.

It brings to an end Cheltenham's best ever performance in the competition, where wins over Bristol Rovers and Gillingham in earlier rounds confirmed a third round place for the first time.

The match failed to get going from the start, and it wasn't until Greg Cunningham and Maguire directed efforts on goal, with the latter bringing a save from Owen Evans, was there to be any attacking action.

Preston's two chances were just a warm up for their opening goal shortly after. Andrew Hughes was the scorer, rising highest in the box to head in a corner.

They made it 2-0 on 37 minutes. Joe Rafferty got on the end of Cunningham's ball to continue their control of the tie.

Alfie May forced a rare shot on the Preston goal in response, though it was charged down, while at the other end Cunningham got on the end of a fantastic forward pass but saw his attempt saved by Evans.

In the early stages of the second half Cheltenham changed their shape to a 4-3-3, leading to the introduction of Vassell as a substitute, and the Northern Ireland international halved the deficit within two minutes of coming on when he smashed in emphatically.

Vassell saw a couple of half chances go close as he looked to equalise, while Maguire at the other end was kept out by Evans, with his header from a Ben Whiteman corner also narrowly going over.

His persistence in front of goal would eventually tell however when as the game entered its final ten minutes, Maguire turned well in the box and slipped the ball in to restore Preston's two goal advantage.

There was a fourth goal to come in the depths of stoppage time. Riis slotted for the home side to confirm their place in the last 16.

PRESTON: D Rudd, G Cunningham, B Whiteman, L Lindsay (S Van Den Berg 31), A McCann, J Storey, J Rafferty, A Hughes, E Riis, C Wickham (S Maguire 7), B Potts (A Browne 80)

Subs not used: D Iversen, A O'Reilly, J Earl, J Rodwell-Grant

ROBINS: O Evans, G Horton, L Freestone, M Pollock, M Blair (E Bonds 78), C Hussey, C Thomas (C Raglan 78), D Barkers, T Perry, A May, A Williams (K Vassell 54)

Subs not used: S Flinders, S Long, W Armitage

Referee: D Whitestone

Attendance: 6,561 (218 Robins)

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