Cheltenham Town: Fan's view of Burton defeat with Peter Fielding
Fan's view of Cheltenham Town's 3-1 defeat at Burton Albion with Peter Fielding:
Cheltenham Town supporters will not be drinking to their team’s performance against Burton Albion, as Mark Yates’ men succumbed to a 3-1 defeat against the Brewers. After victories against AFC Wimbledon and Chesterfield, optimism was high going into the game, but following an abject performance, Robins fans will be left with a heavy football-induced hangover.
The Robins started the game at the Pirelli Stadium well, controlling possession without creating any meaningful opportunities on goal. Former Brewer Russell Penn suitably riled his former employers, whilst recent revelation Sam Deering scurried around the pitch linking play between the midfield and lone-striker Paul Benson.
With their first chance of the game, Albion took the lead on 22 minutes. After a penalty area scramble, Alex MacDonald capitalised on Cheltenham’s defensive lack of cohesion, as his shot was deflected past helpless ‘keeper Scott Brown. The Cheltenham back four, rattled by this needless goal, lost composure as young defender Michael Hector began to struggle against a potent Burton strike force. Frustration from Robins fans and players alike was intensified 4 minutes later, as impressive Burton winger Robbie Weir doubled the host’s lead, emphatically heading into the top corner after an unmarked run. Cheltenham’s morose, uninspiring football was punished with a 2-0 half-time deficit, as the referee put the Robins fans out of their ordeal.
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Mark Yates gambled, replacing gritty midfielders Russell Penn and Jason Taylor with explosive winger Jermaine McGlashan and striker Byron Harrison. Although this change of formation to 4-4-2 was supported by many, the decision to haul-off Penn instead of ineffective midfielder Darren Carter was questioned. It took Robbie Weir a mere 3 second half minutes to double his tally and effectively end the game, scoring Albion’s third with another header - the Cheltenham defence left red-faced again. Defender Ian Sharps could almost have made it four, nodding a firm header just past Scott Brown’s far post.
As the second half progressed, Cheltenham began to make a small resurgence into the game, with extended spells of possession, but again no clear-cut opportunities as a smoke-bomb was subsequently released. Hidden for a few minutes behind the blue smoke-screen provided by the Cheltenham fans, the Robins underwent a minor transformation. As the haze cleared, the Robins began to show more intent, with Burton ‘keeper Stuart Tomlinson ignoring persistent steroid-related goading to save magnificently from McGlashan at close range and then Deering from distance. In the 92nd minute, Cheltenham’s persistence paid off, as Byron Harrison scored his first goal in ruby, heading home substitute Kaid Mohamed’s corner. Sardonic cries of “We’re going to win 6-5” proved to be nothing more than wishful thinking.
Very few positives came out of the game, although the notable contribution of Byron Harrison provided encouragement. The Cheltenham Town defence were exposed to be vulnerable by a Burton side who did not have to leave first gear, while the midfield could not provide the spark required to score goals. After defeat against the Brewers, it is key that Yates’ men ‘sober up’ and produce a big response against Rotherham United.
Come on you Robins!
Scott Brown - 6 - Helpless for all three Burton goals, but made some good saves to prevent the score line from descending into embarrassment.
Keith Lowe - 5 - Struggled against impressive Burton winger Jacques Maghoma and picked up a knock.
Michael Hector - 5 - A bad day in the office for the rookie defender who lost his composure after the Burton opener. All part of his footballing learning curve.
Steve Elliott - 5 - Also struggled against Burton’s potent strike-force and unfortunately culpable for at least one of the goals.
Billy Jones - 5 - The Robins missed Jones’ impressive set-pieces, as the winger tries to regain full match fitness.
Marlon Pack - 6 - One of the better performers in a poor Robins performance, Pack showed good technical ability and desire in the centre of midfield.
Jason Taylor - 5 - Failing to make an impact on the game, whilst having an on-going spat with an opposition player, Taylor was hauled off at half time.
Darren Carter - 4 - In my opinion, Carter was very fortunate to start the game, let alone finish it. The midfielder made no notable contribution to the game.
Russell Penn - 6 - Nicely hassled the Burton Albion players and fans. Our captain can count himself incredibly unlucky to have been substituted instead of Carter.
Sam Deering - 6 - ‘Big Sam’ made himself busy, running down both wings and supplying balls into the box. Struggled at times against Burton’s physicality.
Paul Benson - 5 - Similar to the Chesterfield game, Benson was isolated up front, forced to chase lost causes. Played much better in a front-two with Byron Harrison.
Jermaine McGlashan - 6 - Added sporadic moments of excitement on the right wing, but did not get enough of the ball to make a real impact.
Byron Harrison - 7 - Really impressive performance from our new-signing who showed great ability both in the air and with his feet. Byron has made his case to start against Rotherham next Saturday.
Kaid Mohamed - 6 -Wasn’t on the field for long, but produced the delivery for Harrison’s late goal.