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Cheltenham Town 2-1 Ipswich Town - Match Report
Tuesday, 17th Aug 2021 21:55

Cheltenham came from a goal behind at half-time to beat Town 2-1 at the Jonny-Rocks Stadium, their first ever victory over the Blues. Matt Penney’s brilliant first goal for the club gave Town the lead on nine and Macauley Bonne had a golden chance to make it should 2-0 during a dominant spell following the goal. However, Cheltenham were the better side in the second half and goals from Callum Wright and Will Boyle sealed a first League One win of the season for the Robins.

Vaclav Hladky was in goal with Janoi Donacien keeping his place but moving to right-back with Kane Vincent-Young dropping to the bench, one of three players who started on Saturday dropping to sub along with Louie Barry and Armando Dobra.

Penney was at left-back with Luke Woolfenden alongside one-time Robins loanee Cameron Burgess, making his Blues debut, at the heart of backline.

Skipper Lee Evans was again alongside Rekeem Harper in central midfield with Scott Fraser on the left, full debutant Kyle Edwards on the right and Macauley Bonne, making his first league start for the Blues, joining Joe Pigott up front.

Yesterday’s 16th new signing of the summer, Tom Carroll and, for the first time since joining the club on loan from Middlesbrough, Hayden Coulson were among the subs.

Cheltenham made three changes from the team which lost 3-1 at home to Wycombe on Saturday with club captain and long-throw expert Ben Tozer, Conor Thomas and Kyle Vassell, making his first start for the club, coming in for Matty Blair, Ellis Chapman and Alfie May, who dropped to the bench.

Prior to the game getting under way both teams and staff took a knee to applause from both sets of fans.

The home side should have gone in front in only the second minute. Hladky gave away a cheap throw on the right after a miscommunication with Woolfenden.

Tozer hurled into the area, the keeper failed to claim and Wright volleyed over at the far post with the ball having arrived quickly and at an awkward height. Nevertheless, it was a lucky escape for the Blues.

Town went ahead with their first serious attack of the game in the ninth minute. Edwards brought the ball forward and across the edge of the area from the left before feeding Fraser to his right.

The former MK Dons man worked himself space at a tight angle and hit a shot which was blocked by Sean Long in front of the line. The ball found its way out to Penney on the left from where the left-back slammed a superb powerful strike which keeper Owen Evans was only able to palm into the roof of the net.

Not only was it Penney’s first goal for the Blues, but his first in English football, having only previously netted in senior football for German side St Pauli, with whom he spent time on loan.

It should have been 2-0 in the 12th minute. Bonne lifted a ball which had been played down the middle and flicked on by Pigott over keeper Evans and it looked a formality that he would add the final touch with his head from just in front of the line. However, the on-loan QPR man misjudged the bounce, missed his header then scuffed the ball off the outside of the post and wide.

But despite the miss, which will get plenty of repeat viewings, Town kept up the pressure. Harper hit a deflected shot wide from the edge of the box, then on 14 Edwards scraped an effort past keeper Evans’s right post from 20 yards. Four minutes later, Blues skipper Evans curled a free-kick wide.

The Robins just about weathered Town’s post-goal pressure and won a couple of throws on the left which Tozer flung into the box, Burgess heading away the first and Hladky claiming the second with more confidence, although requiring treatment for a blow to the ear in the aftermath.

On 28 Town captain Evans was yellow-carded for a foul on Vassell as the home side countered after a Blues attack had broken down. A minute later, Wright joined him in the book for a foul on Edwards as the former West Brom man burst away on the halfway line.

The game had become a more even affair but on 35 Pigott curled a shot well wide from distance.

Cheltenham probably should have levelled in the 39th minute when the ball flicked off Charlie Raglan’s head and well wide from eight yards when he really should at least have hit the target from Liam Sercombe’s right-wing cross following a short corner.

Vassell headed wide at the far post from a left-sided Chris Hussey ball into the box in the final scheduled minute of the half, Penney and Burgess, who had had a dominant first half for the Blues at the back, having made it difficult for the former Rotherham man to get in a clean effort. The Town goalscorer required treatment following the incident but was OK to carry on.

Cheltenham were finishing the half the stronger of the two sides, but in the fourth minute of injury time Edwards made another blistering run forward before feeding Pigott to his left, However, the AFC Wimbledon man shot into the side-netting.

That was the last action of a half which really should have ended with the scoreline 2-0 to Town, like the midway point in all four of the previous games between the sides.

The Blues could well have put the game to bed in the spell after Penney’s brilliant goal, not least via Bonne’s missed opportunity. Edwards, pacy, tricky and deft of touch, had been unplayable in that period of the game.

However, Cheltenham will feel they should have scored before that through Wright and had another very good opportunity through Raglan and had ended the half on top.

Three minutes after the restart, Evans flicked a header wide from a Fraser cross from the right.

Town dominated the early stages of the half, stroking it around confidently, albeit without creating another opportunity.

On 56, a Robins free-kick routine from the right taken by Hussey flashed across the face of goal but without anyone there to add a final touch.

Cheltenham got back on top as the game reached the hour mark and on 62 they levelled. Burgess headed away a Tozer long throw from the right, rising highest among a tightly-bunched pack of players, but the ball was subsequently sent back into the box from the left by Boyle and Wright headed into the roof of the net.

Thomas was booked for pulling back Edwards as he broke forward on halfway, then on 66 the home side swapped Vassell and Andy Williams for Alfie May and George Lloyd.

Cheltenham continued to look the better side and the most likely scorer of the game’s third goal. On 72 Wright hit a well-struck shot which Hladky dived away to his right to save.

Three minutes later, Edwards, who had been quieter since the break, brilliantly turned away from his man and burst into the area before hitting a shot which deflected behind.

Town, who aside from Edwards’s chance hadn’t threatened since the early stages of the half, switched Pigott for Kayden Jackson in the 75th minute.

Two minutes later, Burgess, who had enjoyed a very assured debut at the heart of the defence, made a vital interception as Lloyd broke away towards goal. On 80 Cheltenham manager Michael Duff was booked for taking his complaints regarding a foul too far.

But the Robins boss will have forgotten all about that moments later when his side took the lead.

Town failed to deal with yet another long Tozer throw from the left, the ball ran loose and Boyle slammed it into the corner of the net.

Cheltenham, visibly growing in confidence, kept up the pressure with Tozer’s long throws remaining their main weapon. On 85, following one from the left which had been cleared, sub Ellis Chapman crossed from the left and Hladky tipped Boyle’s header over the bar.

Barry replaced Bonne in the 86th minute as the Blues desperately looked for an equaliser, something which wasn’t looking particularly likely. Carroll was introduced for his debut three minutes later but was unable to influence the game before referee Peter Wright brought the afternoon to a close to cheers from the home fans.

As on Saturday, Town really should have had the match won having been so dominant for a spell in the first half.

However, despite the Blues starting the second half strongly, Cheltenham were on top for the most part after the break with Tozer’s long throws always a threat and on the balance of the second 45 minutes they deserved to take the points.

Town once again showed signs of the team they want to be, with Burgess impressive at centre-half on his debut and Edwards putting in a very exciting display in the first half if much quieter in the second, but again mistakes, on this occasion at both ends, let them down.

Following back-to-back defeats in their first two away games, the Blues now face the MK Dons and AFC Wimbledon in successive games at Portman Road.

Cheltenham: Evans, Long, Hussey, Tozer (c), Raglan, Thomas, Sercombe, Vassell (May 66), Williams (Lloyd 66), Boyle, Wright (Chapman 85). Unused: Freestone, Blair, Perry, Flinders.

Town: Hladky, Donacien, Woolfenden, Burgess, Penney, Harper, Evans (c), Fraser, Bonne, Edwards, Pigott (Jackson 77). Unused: Holy, Vincent-Young, Coulson, Carroll, Dobra, Barry. Referee: Peter Wright (Merseyside). Att: 4,746 (Town: 995).

Photo: Pagepix

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BobbyPetta11 added 21:55 - Aug 17
I’m having memories of when Paul Hurst signed all those wonderful players

Yes they need time to click however 4 games played and we not a win is very worrying

muhrensleftfoot added 21:56 - Aug 17
So we've got 1 point from 3 games against Burton Morecambe and Cheltenham in division 3  Oh we were also knocked out of the League Cup by Newport. Please please convince me things can't get worse for the team I first watched live in 1967

BangaloreBlues added 21:56 - Aug 17
Dear oh dear oh dear.

TonyHumesIpswich added 21:57 - Aug 17
Excellent 20 mins in the first half but overall Cheltenham deserved the win. We sat back and gave them far too much respect in the second half. I'm staying positive, but woeful start to the season.

fallguy1234 added 21:57 - Aug 17
What an absolute joke. Why are we making substitutes in the 89th minute - like honestly what did cook expect by doing that? Also, bringing off one of our tallest players when Ben Tozer is pinging in balls for a deadwood player in Kayden Jackson who I honestly think I’m better than. Also, why are we playing 4-2–3-1 every single game, surely you adjust the team to whoever you’re playing? I was really positive at the start of the season but I’m now I’m starting to get sick of tired of just pure rubbish.

confederateblue added 21:57 - Aug 17
Quality performance from the boys, they played their hearts out, but Cheltenham just had that extra bit of quality. Sad to hear some of our so called ‘fans’ calling for Cook to be sacked only three games in. Great to see our lads fitness shining through though, they’ve abviousoy been put through their paces on the training ground!

bringonbrazil added 21:57 - Aug 17
Edwards looks quality. Rest look like League 1/2/Sunday league. Early days.

Sospiri added 21:58 - Aug 17
Wonder how long Cook has got to get it right?

ChrisR added 21:58 - Aug 17
P C Played 20 Won 4 !
Lost to Newport , Burton and Cheltenham , must be worst ever run against small clubs.
Can not even defend against predictable long throws tonight.
Does P C or his ex Wigan cronies have any clue at all ?
Its beyond belief , shocking record with 2 different sides.

Norwichbeater added 21:58 - Aug 17
4 wins in 20 games is not a good stat. I still struggle with him telling all players that they would be replaced after his second game last season when we had all to play for. Terrible management skills whatever profession you are in. Let’s hope things change quickly because he won’t have unlimited time

multiplescoregasms added 21:58 - Aug 17
Same old same old. We juts love passing it along the back 4 and getting nowhere. I give him until the end of September.

BossMan added 21:58 - Aug 17
That was a long way to come for a lot of goofball. Where are our goals going to come from ?

brendenward35 added 21:59 - Aug 17
Think many have mentiom Richardson being the brains of PC teams and they are probably right as PC really doesn't have a clue. Subs were shocking think his losing the plot

BlueRuin69 added 21:59 - Aug 17
Can we be critical now?....oh good
Morecambe, Newport, Burton, Cheltenham a quadran of footballs elite.
Awful 2nd half, done in by long throws......Jackson on?
So many injuries..
Playing the leagues best number 10 on the wing...
Soft touch....
No shots in second half, awful miss by Bonne....COOK OUT!

dirtydingusmagee added 21:59 - Aug 17
FFS i know people say players need to gel ,but im sorry we should have got something from these matches, IT IS NOT GOOD , Harder games to come .

threescousers added 21:59 - Aug 17
" Eh! Eh! Alright! Alright! Calm down! Calm down!"

BontchoBontcho added 21:59 - Aug 17
Cheltenham was a one trick pony tonight and ITFC couldn't figure it out. Over run and out fought in midfield. Yes, we need patience, yes the team needs time to gel....but that was poor...and concerning.

delias_cheesy_flaps added 22:00 - Aug 17
Edwards class, didn’t get the ball to him enough second half.

Burgess looks solid and assured in defence.

Bonne…why didn’t he just head the ball in? It would have been a different game altogether!

More annoyingly is how we keep passing the ball backwards to the defenders when we're in the final third of the pitch?

Baffling substitutions both in personnel and timing, pressure will be on PC come Saturday for a result.

Wickwar_Blue added 22:00 - Aug 17
I give Cook 6 games. 4 wins or he’s gone. This is a results business and our start is completely unacceptable

GatesofDelirium added 22:00 - Aug 17
Oh dear. No doubting which manager provided the better half-time talk.

ringwoodblue added 22:00 - Aug 17
New faces galore but same old Ipswich.

Not much further we can fall before things have to improve.

grinch added 22:00 - Aug 17
second half very poor and no plan b cook should change players earlier Burgess looked assured and Donacien was OK at RB the central midfielders were outplayed Some hope but still lack a back bone. The first goal came from a wolf punt up field his passing is poor but at least Burgess was keeping him awake

TimmyH added 22:00 - Aug 17
If somebody a few years back was to say to me in the future Ipswich won't be beating clubs like Morecambe, Newport and Cheltenham I would have thought they were joking but that's the reality currently.

A poor 2nd half where Cheltenham we're clearly up for it more and we were completely put out of our stride. The more we keep failing to win against 'minnows' in this league the more it will undoubtedly knock any confidence this new group of players have which could be detrimental further down the line. One positive like the look of Edwards.

Really disappointing!

BrandestonBlue added 22:01 - Aug 17
New team - Same old story - players who think they are better than they are - you need players prepared to put their selves on the line to get out of this league

MICKEY added 22:01 - Aug 17
I am one of the few Ipswich supporters living in Northern Ireland supported Ipswich for 50 years. Paul Cook needs to sort this out or he will have to go. I hope the owners have a Plan B. Very worrying the lack of goals we have scored.

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