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Match Reports

Report and reaction: Reading 1-0 Robins

15 August 2023

Match Reports

Report and reaction: Reading 1-0 Robins

15 August 2023

Cheltenham Town's first ever league encounter with former Premier League club Reading ended with a narrow defeat.

In the end it took an unfortunate own goal to split the sides at the Select Car Leasing Stadium.

Will Ferry was the unlucky man on his impressive first start of the season.

Neither team had scored a league goal coming into this one and it probably showed on the night, but Wade Elliott's side showed plenty of grit and determination to take the Royals all the way here.

Yes, they were indebted to a string of decent saves by Luke Southwood but at the other end there were some positive signs in attack, although that first goal of the season proved elusive.

There was never any doubt that this early run of games was going to present a stern test to Wade Elliott's men and it doesn't get any easier with this Saturday's visit to Fratton Park.

Despite the boss's frustration he was keen to focus on the positives after the match.

"I thought we were excellent in the second half and I was proud of that," Elliott said.

"The whole performance, really. I don't think there was a lot in it in the first half either. The players have left everything out there tonight.

"I just said to them in the dressing room, as tough as it is you just have to put yourself back on the line again. We can either feel sorry for ourselves or we can put ourselves on the line to go again."

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There were some encouraging glimpses in the opening 45 minutes but it was the promotion favourites who carried a single-goal lead into the break.

Cheltenham started well enough, probing the Reading defence but it was the former Royals number one Southwood who made the early saves, most notably to prevent Matty Carson scoring from distance.

With 33 minutes on the clock the home side scored the only goal of the game courtesy of Ferry's misfortune, inadvertently lifting Caylan Vicker's strike over the outstretched arms of his goalkeeper.

It could have been worse as half-time approached but Southwood was equal to Vickers' low effort from 12 yards while Kelvin Ehiubhatiomhan saw a deflected effort sail wide.

Elliott's side though were the more ambitious side after the break and created the better chances.

A purposeful run by Will Ferry down the left created a great chance for Rob Street seven minutes after the restart, but Nelson Abbey made a vital intervention.

He went even closer in the 65th minute, firing just wide from 20 yards.

Lewis Freestone then forced a sharp save from David Button after he met Long's long throw with a clever looping header.

The hosts were restricted to an angled effort by substitute Femi Azeez but Southwood pushed it away.

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READING (4-4-2): Button; Mbengue (Yiadom 61), Bindon, Abbey (c), Carson (McIntyre 61); Camara, Wing (Hutchinson 78), Savage, Knibbs (Azeez 61); Vickers, Ehiubhatiomhan (Tuma 78). Subs not used: Boyce-Clarke, Dean.

CHELTENHAM TOWN (3-5-2): Southwood; Long (c), Davies, Freestone; Smith (Thompson 70), Sercombe (Adulai 78), Hammond, Chapman (Goodwin 70), Ferry (Williams 78); Street, Keena. Subs not used: Harris (Gk), Bradbury, Adshead.

REFEREE: B Speedie

ATTENDANCE: 10,787 (584 Robins fans)


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