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Match Reports

Report and reaction: Robins 3-2 Port Vale

17 February 2024

Match Reports

Report and reaction: Robins 3-2 Port Vale

17 February 2024

The Robins twice came from behind to defeat Port Vale 3-2 at the Completely-Suzuki Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Two goals in four second half minutes from Jack Shepherd and Will Ferry after Matty Taylor’s first half strike inspired Town to a third consecutive win.

Nathan Smith had put the visitors ahead before a Curtis Davies own goal gave them the lead for the second time in the clash.

“I enjoyed a lot about our performance today,” said manager Darrell Clarke post-match.

“To come from behind twice in the game was testament to the character of the group.

“It’s in a strong place at the minute and we’ve had a really fantastic week.”

The Valiants started on the front foot with Ethan Chislett seeing one effort blocked by the head of Davies and Luke Southwood rushing out to deny him six minutes later.

Sandwiched between those two chances, Liam Sercombe whipped a free-kick to the back post but Lewis Freestone was unable to keep his header below the upright.

The Robins began to assert themselves as the half ticked on with Davies on the spin shooting wide after the ball fell at his feet before his stooping downwards header was superbly held by Connor Ripley.

However, the deadlock was broken by the visitors on the 25th minute with Smith rising highest from a Conor Grant corner to head past Southwood at full stretch.

After a short lull, Town were back on the front foot with a delightful Liam Kinsella cross being met by Freestone but Kacper Lopata hooked the ball off the line.

Moments later George Lloyd’s pressing was rewarded as he charged down Ripley’s clearance before the keeper responded by spreading himself to deny the number 19’s shot.

With half-time beckoning the Robins hauled themselves level through some creativity via a set piece. A clever one-two between Taylor and Tom Pett from the free-kick set up the opportunity for the striker to bend one into the bottom corner.

Pressure continued into the second half from the hosts with Kinsella’s shot from the edge of the box rolling wide and Taylor seeing an effort deflected over.

11 minutes later, against the run of the play, the Valiants went ahead for the second time. Chislett found space down the Robins’ right before his shot across goal was saved by the fingertips of Southwood before Davies inadvertently steered the ball into his own net.

The response was immediate from the Robins with Shepherd picking up on the second ball from a corner and subsequently guiding one on the half-volley into the far corner.

Four minutes later the turnaround was completed with Ferry first getting in behind Gavin Massey before leaving him on the floor and firing past Ripley.

The Valiants went forward searching for a late equaliser and goalscorer Shepherd was central to keeping the Robins ahead as he hooked away Chislett’s chipped cross to round off a memorable week for Town.

CHELTENHAM TOWN (3-5-2): Southwood; Davies, Shepherd, Freestone; Long (c), Sercombe (Bonds 74), Pett, Kinsella, Ferry; Lloyd (Nuttall 90), Taylor (Keena 74). Subs not used: Pardington (Gk), Sloggett, Harrop, Thomas.

PORT VALE (3-4-1-2): Ripley; Lopata, Smith (c), Jones (Walters 87); Massey, Lowe, Ojo (Weir 66), Grant (Mighten 82); Chislett; Loft, Wilson (Dipepa 66). Subs not used: Leutwiler (Gk), Sang, Debrah

REFEREE: S Purkiss

ATTENDANCE: 5,600 (826 from Port Vale)

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