MATCH REPORT: CHELTENHAM TOWN 0, STEVENAGE 0
Stevenage picked up a point and a clean sheet with a goalless draw at Cheltenham Town this evening.
A much improved display from Saturday saw Boro control large parts of the game and battle well, going close through Jack King, Charlie Lee, Tyler Walker and Dale Gorman. Both ‘keepers made decent saves however as the breakthrough eluded both sides.
Darren Sarll made four changes following Saturday’s home defeat with Ben Kennedy, Dale Gorman, Henry Cowans and Ronnie Henry coming in for Andrew Fox, Luke Wilkinson, Michael Tonge and Jobi McAnuff, the latter of whom missed out entirely.
It was a good start to the game from Stevenage with the midfield trio of Gorman, Lee and Cowans working well in the centre of the pitch. Twice in 30 seconds around the five minute mark Boro won free-kicks in the Cheltenham half, with the second seeing the first chance of the game. Henry Cowans swung a great ball into the area but Jack King’s flicked header went over, not under the bar.
Two minutes later the hosts responded with a chance of their own. Boro failed to clear a bouncing ball in the box and Jones had to be alert to deny Billy Waters.
Boro continued to look bright and ask questions of the Cheltenham defence. On 17 minutes a long throw by Lee eventually fell to Walker who saw his shot deflect behind. Cowans’ set piece was met by a powerful Charlie Lee header but the ball was blocked on the line.
From that attack the Robins countered and went close themselves. Danny Wright collected a high pass and laid the ball into the path of Harry Pell who took aim from distance and forced Jones into a fine low save, with the resulting corner cleared.
There was a good energy about the game with both sides looking to play at a high tempo. With 27 minutes on the clock a nice ball over the top from Kennedy found Walker. The Forest loanee advanced into the box from the left channel and without any options to his right opted to shoot, but Griffiths saved.
If Cheltenham’s defence was just about standing firm against Boro, their midfield was having trouble regaining possession and two fouls on Dale Gorman in the space of a matter of minutes earned cautions for Wright and Dickie.
Late pressure for Stevenage saw another big throw from Lee and a couple of injury time corners, but the Robins stood firm as the teams went in level.
Five minutes into the second half Boro carved out their next chance. Ntlhe found Walker with a neat ball into the left-channel and he found Pett, who in turn found Gorman who blasted just over.
Asa Hall shot wide for the hosts on 55 minutes and then Boro had to stand firm and defend a couple of free-kicks around their box, as Cheltenham pushed forward.
With 14 minutes remaining Harry Pell forced Jones into a comfortable save from a free-kick, before late pressure from Stevenage saw the visitors win a number of free-kicks deep inside the Cheltenham half, with Ben Kennedy in the thick of the action.
On 81 minutes a long throw by Lee was nodded on and there was Kennedy with a shot on the turn, but he skewed his effort wide.
With seven minutes remaining a Henry Cowans free-kick was met by Ntlhe, but his header was flicked away by Griffiths with Cheltenham somehow clearing from the resulting bundle in the box.
Moments later Kennedy was again hauled down, this time to the right of the area. Cowans put in another decent delivery and Franks went close with a hook towards goal but the danger was cleared.
Both sides saw out four minutes of added time without further drama as the points were shared.
A decent performance, a first league clean sheet of the season and a point will be the plusses from tonight’s visit to Gloucestershire. Stevenage will now hope to go one better at Newport County on Saturday and find that elusive first league win on the road.
Cheltenham Town: Griffiths, Barthram (Dayton 70), Downes, Pell, Waters, Wright, Munns (Morgan-Smith 70), Hall, Cranston (Parslow 85), O'Shaughnessy, Dickie
Subs not used: Kitscha, Lymn, Suliman, Thomas
Stevenage: Jones, Henry, Franks, King, Ntlhe, Gorman (Tonge 80), Lee, Cowans, Pett, Walker (Hyde 85), Kennedy
Subs not used: Preston, Fox, Wilkinson, Liburd, Preston, McKirdy
Referee: Robert Jones
Attendance: 2,238 (76 away)