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Match Reports

Report and reaction: Robins 2-2 Reading

29 December 2023

Match Reports

Report and reaction: Robins 2-2 Reading

29 December 2023

Cheltenham Town and Reading played out an entertaining 2-2 draw at the Completely-Suzuki Stadium.

A fast start from the hosts surprised the visitors with Liam Sercombe and an own goal putting Darrell Clarke’s men into a well-deserved 2-0 lead.

However, after David Button’s resilience in goal, Reading hit back twice in as many minutes before half-time to level proceedings.

“We are disappointed we didn’t win the game,” said Clarke post-match

“We had a mad five-minute spell at the end of the first half in a game we were in full control.

“Seven points out of the three games and to be on 20 points at the halfway mark of the season has given us a decent building block to attack the second half of the season.”

The Robins flew out of the blocks with Rob Street the architect as a couple of his cut backs fizzed across the six yard box before Curtis Thompson seeing a volley sail narrowly over too.

Pressure continued to be piled on from the hosts with Street’s cross this time finding Sercombe whose volley was brilliantly tipped over by Button.

Reading’s number one continued to thwart the Robins as his big right hand denied George Lloyd as he raced through on goal and then his left hand clawed away Lewis Freestone’s downward header.

Finally, the pressure told on the 29th minute as a brilliant team move saw Street play Sean Long in behind before he picked out Sercombe in the middle who executed a precise finish into the far corner.

One soon became two but in comical fashion as Button rushed off his line to deny Freestone again but then Amadou Mbengue cleared the ball into his goalkeeper and it rebounded into the open net.

Completely against the run of play the Royals hauled themselves level before the break with a pair of headers from Jeriel Dorsett and Paul Mukairu from two Lewis Wing crosses.

However, after the first half frenzy, the second started slowly with both sides fighting for the upper hand.

A brave piece of defending from Tom Bradbury denied Harvey Knibbs the opportunity to put the visitors ahead before Luke Southwood was called into action twice to deny Wing and Knibbs.

The Robins were next to go close when substitute Nathan Butler-Oyedeji spun in behind and cut inside before his curling effort drifted wide of the far post.

With time almost up, Oli Hammond’s effort from outside the box dribbled agonisingly wide for the hosts after taking a deflection.

CHELTENHAM TOWN (3-4-1-2): Southwood; Smith, Bradbury, Freestone; Long (c), Pett, Thompson (Bonds 61), B. Williams (Ferry 61); Sercombe (Hammond 77); Street (Keena 45), Lloyd (Butler-Oyedeji 77). Subs not used: Pardington (Gk), Horton

READING (4-2-3-1): Button; Mbengue (Bindon 62), Holmes, Abbey, Dorsett; Wing, Craig (Savage 86); Azeez, Knibbs, Mukairu (Elliott 76); Smith. Subs not used: Pereira (Gk), Mola, Ehibhatiomhan, Vickers

REFEREE: S Tallis

ATTENDANCE: 5,941 (1,516 from Reading)


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