D3D4 Cheltenham Town Correspondent Luke Saunders takes five learning points from the Robins match at Huish Park…
Cheltenham Town should have won in hindsight
When Freddie Hinds broke away from the Yeovil defence to go one on one with Artur Krysiak in the 90th minute, the travelling Robins fans thought that they would see their team win on the road for the first time since February.
But as the Bristol City loanee hit the side netting, the resulting sigh of disbelief summed up what could have been for a Cheltenham side who deserved nothing less than all three points.
Gary Johnson’s team carried on from their encouraging display in the 1-0 defeat against Stevenage the previous week and comfortably enjoyed more possession than their hosts.
Five of the 10 shots Cheltenham had on goal were on target but a lack of clinical edge meant that they failed to score for a second week in a row, prompting Johnson to reflect on what he believed was “two points dropped” in Somerset.
The draw moves the Robins up to 21st place but ahead of another away trip on Tuesday, they really should have emerged victorious.
A change in shape hints at a change in fortune for the Robins
There was just one change to the starting 11 as Jamie Grimes replaced Will Boyle in defence but a small tactical alteration saw Cheltenham line up 4-3-3 instead of 4-4-2 at Huish Park.
It immediately became apparent that the tweak in system suited the visitors. Harry Pell impressed in a more central role that he is renowned for thriving in, dictating play alongside Kyle Storer and the lively Joe Morrell, who shone on his second appearance for the club.
Pell’s driving runs reminded supporters of what the 25-year-old is capable of having struggled to make an impact out wide in recent matches. The extra man in the middle also aided Cheltenham in having more of the ball.
The interchangeable front line made a few positive runs as the pace of Eisa, Hinds, Jaanai Gordon and former Yeovil winger Kevin Dawson had the Glovers’ backline retreating but after Danny Wright was replaced early on all that was missing was a target man for the wide men to pick out.
Nonetheless there were plenty of positives to take into what is sure to be a tougher test at Newport on Tuesday, and the return of Jerell Sellars will give the squad another lift.
Both sides earned an unexpected clean sheet
For two teams who have shipped nearly 30 goals between them during their first five League Two matches, a 0-0 draw was the last result anyone would have expected.
But a second clean sheet of the campaign for both of the south western clubs provides optimism that their defensive woes are steadily improving, especially for Cheltenham.
Goalkeeper Scott Flinders did not have a serious save to make and was not troubled until midway through the second half when Otis Khan had Yeovil’s one and only attempt on target.
Fullbacks Jordan Cranston and Carl Winchester were superb, Cranston especially continued to prove his doubters wrong with another fine display on the left flank.
Jamie Grimes and Taylor Moore dealt with 99% of what they were faced with and stifled all five of the attacking players that Darren Way used in an attempt to try and break through the stubborn Cheltenham back four.
Even though Gary Johnson’s side could not score, the gaffer will surely be pleased with how well his side shut his former club out.
The Glovers have a safe pair of hands between the sticks
Yeovil goalkeeper Artur Krysiak was deservedly awarded with the man of the match accolade after making a string of fine saves on a sunny afternoon in Somerset.
At times the Polish stopper almost single handily kept his team in the match.
The 28-year-old denied Cranston who surged forward and unleashed a rasping shot that was pushed over, before parrying a long range effort from Jaanai Gordon in what was an even busier second half for the former Exeter City number one.
Krysiak then pulled off a superb double save to block Eisa when the Sudan-born striker raced in to the six yard box unchallenged, then tipping Gordon’s rebound over the bar with the ball destined for the top corner.
Clearly the arrival of a new goalkeeping coach had benefitted his display.
There was plenty of action off the pitch too
It was an afternoon of frustration for Cheltenham striker Danny Wright.
The much travelled forward missed two great opportunities to give his side the lead, heading wide early on before squandering a great chance when Mohamed Eisa hit the post.
The 32-year-old was substituted half way through the first half and appeared to smash a hole into the dugout in anger. Despite the damage this shows the passion of a someone who is eager to make an impact in what could be his final Football League season.
Rest assured Wright’s professionalism will shine through and he will come back stronger for the Robins.
There was an altercation in the stands too as a noise complaint from Yeovil supporters prompted stewards to remove the visiting Cheltenham fans’ drum, despite the fact permission had been given to use it.
All credit must be given to the 220 away fans who continued to make most of the noise despite having their instrument removed.
words Luke Saunders D3D4 Cheltenham Town Correspondent