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Match Reports

Report: Cheltenham Town 4-1 Iron

10 August 2019

The Iron fell to a 4-1 defeat against Cheltenham Town at the Jonny-Rocks Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Lee Novak got off the mark for the season and had put the Iron in the driving seat after half-time, but the hosts hit back with four goals to turn the scoreline on its head.

Manager Paul Hurst opted to make one change from the opening day defeat against Swindon Town at the Sands Venue Stadium, with Kyle Wootton coming in for Adam Hammill. Meanwhile, there was a place on the substitute’s bench for 16-year-old first-year scholar Joey Dawson after impressing in recent weeks.

The game kicked off in blustery conditions and, despite a positive start from the Iron, it was Cheltenham who made the first promising attack down the right on four minutes, which culminated in Jake Eastwood getting down low to his right to gather a drive from Max Sheaf with striker Tahvon Campbell lurking for a tap-in.

United were also alert to a free-kick awarded to the hosts on the left channel for handball two minutes later, with the ball played short to the edge of the penalty area. Chris Hussey ran onto the ball, striking low and hard, but Yann Songo’o put his body on the line to block the effort.

Scunthorpe’s first effort of the game came following a good move which saw the ball sit up nicely for Matthew Lund 20-yards out, but his half-volley sailed over the bar for a goal kick, despite the midfielders protestations that it had taken a deflection.

The Robins had their best effort of the game to date after 10 minutes when Jake Doyle-Hayes opened out onto his right foot from 25-yards and looked to curl an effort towards the far corner. Eastwood threw himself across goal and saw the ball whistle wide of his left-hand post.

Moments after that chance, the Iron produced a fine move from a Kgosi Ntlhe throw on the left. Novak flicked the ball onto the advancing Alex Gilliead who drove forward and looked to work an opening. The ball eventually came out to Regan Slater who took the ball onto his left foot and looked to shoot as he was upended - but no foul was awarded by the referee as play continued.

On 13 minutes, the Iron were forced to defend a corner from the left, but they did it well. Butler won the header inside the six-yard box before Wootton got down low to head away from danger - a move which also saw him win a free-kick.

Three minutes later, Ryan Broom strode down the right and looked to fire in a cross, only for Ntlhe to be closely marshalling him and putting in a good challenge.

United began to take a foothold of the game and on 22 minutes Lund latched onto a loose ball, subsequently attempting to prod it into the path of Wootton inside the area but the route was blocked.

On 26 minutes, another chance presented itself to the Iron following an Ntlhe throw. Slater emerged with the ball and exchanged with Clarke and Gilliead, with the latter crossing for Novak. He knocked the ball down for Lund, who saw his left-footed drive blocked before further crosses into the penalty area were also dealt with by the hosts.

On the half-hour mark, the hosts produced a well-drilled set-piece as the corner was rolled short before being flicked around the corner into the area, with the powerful effort sent into the stand housing the travelling Iron contingent.

Five minutes later, the hosts took a quick free-kick on the right as the referee was setting up the defensive wall, with an in-swinging left-footed cross flicked on by Songo’o just enough to miscue Gavin Reilly’s effort as he came in at the back post, with the ball going out of play for a goal kick.

Seven minutes before the interval, Novak flicked a Jordan Clarke throw into the path of Slater. He moved the ball across the area before shifting to the edge whether Ntlhe controlled and powered an effort goalwards, only for his shot to get blocked.

On 41 minutes, Clarke won a defensive header which fell kindly for Gilliead. He drove forward with the ball for 50-yards before the Iron won a throw on the right hand side. Shortly after, the hosts came away with the ball, with Songo’o getting the game’s first yellow card following an accumulation of infringements.

With two minutes to go until half-time, Novak held the ball up neatly on half-way before sending a brilliant ball cross-field to Gilliead. He slipped in Slater but his check back into the area was cleared.

The last kick of the first-half could’ve yielded United’s first goal of the season with Ntlhe getting on the end of Slater’s free-kick, won by Lund, into the area. His prodded effort was brilliantly saved by goalkeeper Scott Flinders as both teams went into the interval all-square.

The hosts, having made an alteration at the interval, created the first move of the second half as substitute Joshua Debayo crossed in from the left which evaded the Iron defence. Broom picked up the ball at the back post before seeing his first effort blocked and his second fly over the bar.

A couple of minutes later, Sheaf stung the hands of Jake Eastwood as the United ‘keeper was forced to pluck a curling effort out of the air en route to goal, while Chris Clements drilled an effort across goal and wide in the next phase of play.

With the hosts piling on the pressure, Broom drew a superb stop from Eastwood as he found space at the back post to control the ball. With Butler rushing to close down the effort, Eastwood was at full stretch to push the ball over the crossbar for a corner.

On 50 minutes, it was Campbell who had the latest effort for the hosts, as he peeled away from his marker to connect powerfully to the header following a right-winged cross, sending his effort over.

Soon after it was Sheaf who hooked a left-footed effort over the bar from the edge of the area following a knockdown from his left which succeeded a cross from the right.

However, just two minutes later the Iron took the lead. Matthew Lund brilliantly slid in to win a loose ball 30-yards from goal which fell into the path of Novak. He was given time and space to control before using his composure to slot the ball across goal and into the far corner of the net.

Scunthorpe had their tails up from the opener and almost seized on another defensive lapse as Slater stole in and fed the ball to Lund. He controlled before firing over from 25-yards.

The hosts were also pressing to get back on terms, with Campbell feeding onto a through ball to draw another fine save from Eastwood as he narrowed the angle and blocked the effort. United looked to break from that move, with both Gilliead and Lund fouled on the right wing as the two Cheltenham players looked to thwart a promising attack.

Midway through the second half, the hosts had a penalty shout turned down as Clarke and Reilly both tangled as a right-winged free-kick came into the box. The referee was unmoved, awarding a goal kick.

The equaliser came just a minute later as Broom, who had threatened to score earlier in proceedings, cutting onto his left foot before curling a brilliant effort across goal and into the far corner of the net.

The Robins pressed for their second soon after with Eastwood forced to concede a corner with the ball loose in the penalty area. From the resultant, Butler headed away the initial danger before Charlie Raglan steamed in to power a header into the net from the follow-up cross.

73 minutes in, the hosts doubled their lead as second substitute for the hosts - Alex Addai - was played through, rolling the ball beyond Eastwood.

With ten minutes left on the clock, Ryan Colclough, who was on to replace Songo’o, won a corner on the right which was floated in searching for Butler, who headed off target.

Both teams made a further change each as the clock ticked toward 90, with the Iron pressing for their second with a minute left. Novak broke the lines from a through ball by Colclough before the latter won a corner on the right shortly after. The cross into the area was met by Butler, with Flinders making a fine save before Wootton hooked over the rebound.

With four minutes of added time signalled, the Iron won a free-kick on half way which was knocked down by Lund. The clearance found Addai who was hauled down by Clarke - the Iron player cautioned by the referee.

Inside the final minute, the hosts sealed their win from the penalty spot as Addai was hauled down by Clarke once more. Conor Thomas sent Eastwood the wrong way, rolling the ball to his right.

ROBINS: Flinders, Long, Hussey (Debayo, 45), Tozer, Raglan, Clements (Thomas, 87), Campbell (Addai, 69), Broom, Sheaf, Reilly, Doyle-Hayes.
ROBINS UNUSED SUBS: Lovett, Bowry, Lloyd, Greaves.

IRON: Eastwood, Clarke, Ntlhe, Lund, Songo’o (Colclough, 74), Butler, Wootton, Novak, Gilliead, McGahey, Slater (McAtee, 82).
IRON UNUSED SUBS: Watson, Horsfield, Hammill, McArdle, Dawson.

ATTENDANCE: 2,742 (292 away)

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