Cheltenham Town: Fan's view of Accrington with Peter Fielding
Despite Robbie Williams’ lyrical proclamation over tannoy system, Cheltenham Town’s performance against Accrington Stanley failed to “entertain” the travelling supporters. Maybe ‘Patience’ by Williams’ ‘Take That’ would have been a more astute choice, as the Robins slumped to yet another draw against an Accrington side fighting for survival.
An excellent 141 of us Cheltenham Town supporters populated the freezing away end at the Crown Ground, a terrace not only lacking atmosphere, but also a roof; leaving us completely susceptible to the steady flurry of snow. A distinctly non-League feel resonated from the stadium, with none of the locals who had a back-garden-view bothering to watch, and a bedraggled looking refreshment van owner informing us that his burgers were “100% beef”. In truth the Cheltenham performance was no more inspiring.
It was evident from early on that this was going to be a game that exemplified all of the familiar lower-league football stereotypes. Happy to ‘hoof’ the ball in the air, Mark Yates’ passing principals were forgotten in a turgid first half, as Marlon Pack stroked home a dubious penalty following an innocuous challenge on Jason Taylor. After Byron Harrison failed to double the Robins’ lead, former England international James Beattie inevitably equalised for Accrington from a corner - a distinct lack of marking was evident.
It was to the relief of our travelling contingent that ineffective wide-men Jermaine McGlashan and Kaid Mohamed were hauled off shortly after half time, replaced by Sam Deering and Darren Carter. Deering was a revelation playing behind front men Paul Benson and Byron Harrison, showing the determination and desire that fans love to see. It was no surprise when Accrington, who had already been thwarted by a number of impressive Scott Brown saves took the lead, thanks to a rasping drive from Beattie. With 20 minutes to go, Cheltenham made the result acceptable, courtesy of a Marlon Pack header. The relief from the 141 cold fans was clear.
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As the full time whistle sounded, the sardonic shout from one fan of “more draws than Ikea” summed up the mood, as Cheltenham again failed to impress. Teams are working out how to play against the Robins, and our inability to create goal-scoring chances (only 2 shots on target) is making it increasingly difficult to win games.
Far from being fickle and impatient as perceived by some, the general stoicism of our following is both a benefit and a curse. This acceptance of disappointing performances will not last for much longer, and with only 12 games remaining, Cheltenham Town must now fight to keep any sort of promotion hopes alive.
Come on you Robins!
OUT OF TEN
Scott Brown 7 - As usual the stand out man, producing some excellent saves to secure a point
Keith Lowe 6 - Guilty of some suspect marking for the opening Accrington goal
Steve Elliott 6 - Commanded the box well but also culpable for the opening goal
Michael Hector 6 - Took the ball out of defence well but was not as potent going forward.
Sido Jombati 6 - Could have made of use of the left wing more effectively
Jermaine McGlashan 5 - Failed to make any impact on the game, not helped by an early injury
Marlon Pack 7 - Having the impact of a new signing, Pack’s brace was thoroughly pleasing
Jason Taylor 6 - Gritty and vocally commanding, but didn’t show enough skill going forward, giving the ball away too often
Kaid Mohamed 5 - Also failed to make an impact, showing no spark on the wing
Phil Benson 6 - Flicked the ball on well, but failed to have any clear cut opportunities
Byron Harrison 6 - Harassed the Accrington defence but still hasn’t scored that illusive first goal for Cheltenham
Sam Deering 7 - Our smallest player had the biggest impact from the bench, making a strong case to start against Fleetwood
Darren Carter 6 - Almost scored an impressive volley, but is yet to justify his new contract
Shaun Harrad N/A