Cheltenham Town: Beating Rotherham is Evans sent for Mark Yates
Cheltenham Town 3 Rotherham 0
THIS was undoubtedly one of Cheltenham Town's best all-round performances of the season and it may well have been the most satisfying for boss Mark Yates.
His team dismantled an expensively assembled Rotherham United team, managed by his old touchline nemesis Steve Evans.
It put them right back in the hunt for a top-three place and the manner of the victory will have provided a major injection of confidence and belief for what promises to be a tense but hugely exciting run-in for the Robins.
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Yates recalled wide men Jermaine McGlashan and Kaid Mohamed, along with right-back Sido Jombati after the previous week's disappointment against Burton Albion.
All three players shone, with Mohamed claiming a hat-trick of assists and McGlashan opening the scoring with a superb volley.
McGlashan had been forced to settle for four successive substitute appearances, but he seized his starting opportunity with a sparkling performance.
He knows his end product must improve as he strives for greater consistency, but when he is on song he is a nightmare for full-backs and he gave Rotherham's Liam Ridehalgh a torrid afternoon.
With Jason Taylor omitted, as part of a gentlemen's agreement between Yates and Evans following his switch from Rotherham to Cheltenham in January, Russ Penn moved inside to join Marlon Pack in the centre of midfield, with Sam Deering ahead of them.
Penn relished the wet conditions, putting in a succession crunching challenges and after an even opening 20 minutes, Cheltenham gradually exerted their authority.
Pack's shot hit the outside of the right post after good play from McGlashan and Paul Benson went close with a lob from an almost impossible angle after beating Andy Warrington to a through ball from Michael Hector.
Benson worked selflessly up front on his own, causing major problems for the visiting defence.
Penn's determination paved the way for the first goal in the 31st minute, with Cheltenham working the ball out to Kaid Mohamed on the left and his cross reached McGlashan at the far post.
He connected perfectly to direct it inside the bottom left corner, giving Warrington no chance and McGlashan his fourth – and best – goal of the campaign.
Pack made it 2-0 in the 41st minute, with Mohamed again the provider. The in-form midfielder carefully placed the ball inside the same corner with no great power but absolute precision for his fifth goal in eight matches.
Scott Brown was called into action seriously only once in the first half, turning over a shot from Lee Frecklington over the bar in the 14th minute.
Evans sent on Daniel Kearns at half-time, with David Noble making way and Daniel Nardiello pushed up front as 4-5-1 became 4-4-2, but a comeback was never on the cards.
Players that had done so much damage when the side's met at the New York Stadium in November when Rotherham won 4-2 were subdued and dealt with convincingly by Cheltenham's back four, with Hector outstanding alongside Steve Elliott at centre-half, putting a below-par display at Burton behind him.
Jombati, preferred to Keith Lowe at right-back, produced his best performance since undergoing double hernia surgery just before Cheltenham's visit to Rotherham, taking every opportunity to attack.
The introduction of Kayode Odejayi midway through the second period failed to provide a spark for the Millers, with Hector and Elliott in total control.
Ex-Robins striker Odejayi was given a warm welcome back from the home fans, who were in buoyant mood all afternoon.
They had one last goal to celebrate in the 84th minute, when Warrington flapped at a corner from Mohamed, giving Elliott the opportunity to lift the ball over a crowd of players and into the net.
Cheltenham Town: S Brown; S Jombati, M Hector, S Elliott, B Jones; J McGlashan (D Duffy 90), M Pack, S Deering, R Penn, K Mohamed (D Carter 88); P Benson (B Harrison 79). Subs not used: K Lowe, C Roberts, S Harrad, J Hanks.
Rotherham United: A Warrington; J Mullins, C Davis, C Morgan, L Ridehalgh; B Pringle (K Agard 80), D Noble (D Kearns 46), M O'Connor, L Frecklington; D Nardiello, A Revell (K Odejayi 57). Subs not used: S Shearer, D Tonge, D Rowe.
Referee: D Deadman.
Attendance: 3,241 (650 away).
Star man: Jermaine McGlashan.