Cheltenham Town video: Robins end home discomfort with Oxford win
Cheltenham Town 2 Oxford United 1
A PAIR of picture book goals ended Cheltenham Town's home discomfort as they saw off the challenge of Oxford United at the Abbey Business Stadium.
Midfielder Darren Carter and leading scorer Shaun Harrad struck from 25 yards in either half as Mark Yates' side returned to winning ways and piled the misery on Oxford, who have now lost four in a row.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Sunday, June 30 2013
Carter's first goal for the club put the Robins ahead and settled the nerves after half an hour and Harrad drove in his fifth of the campaign on the hour: neatly timed goals in what was a tidy performance.
Skipper Alan Bennett made his first League Two start of the season, renewing his partnership with Steve Elliott for the first time since the play-off final defeat at Wembley last May.
After back-to-back home defeats with sloppy goals conceded, Bennett's presence helped Cheltenham rediscover their defensive solidity.
The only blot on the Irishman's copybook was the concession of an 80th minute penalty, converted by Peter Leven, but Cheltenham withstood some late pressure to register their first home League win over Oxford in a decade.
Both goalkeepers were called into action early on, making comfortable saves in the opening ten minutes.
Ryan Clarke fell on a shot by Sido Jombati and Scott Brown fielded a low drive from Jon-Paul Pittman.
Pittman picked up an injury taking another shot that was deflected wide for a corner and the Oxford forward was forced off and replaced by Alfie Potter in the 13th minute.
Brown had to react quickly to scoop away an effort from Adam Chapman and the opening exchanges were even, but Cheltenham improved as the half wore on.
Right-back Sido Jombati defended resolutely, also taking every opportunity to attack down the right flank and his 19th minute cross was glanced wide by Harrad.
But Cheltenham took the lead when Jermaine McGlashan reached the byline and chipped a cross which just evaded ex-Oxford loan forward Chris Zebroski.
Billy Jones touched the ball inside for Carter to drive a crisply-struck drive into the bottom corner from 25 yards.
It was his first League goal since March 4, 2008 when he scored in a 1-0 win for Preston North End against Leicester City in the Championship.
McGlashan's bright form continued and he was the subject of an agricultural challenge from Jake Wright near the corner of the penalty area in the final minute of the first half.
Wright was cautioned, but Carter's free-kick was cleared and it remained 1-0 to Cheltenham at the break.
Oxford went within a whisker of levelling the scores in the 49th minute after Steve Elliott tripped Potter on the edge of the box.
Chapman's free-kick bounced back off the base of the left post and straight to Tom Craddock who lifted his attempt high over the bar from a glorious position.
At the other end Harrad thumped one side and Marlon Pack connected well with a Harrad cross, but Clarke reacted well to beat away his header in the 51st minute.
Brown safely gathered a shot from Craddock as Oxford threatened, but Harrad's beauty doubled Cheltenham's advantage on the hour.
It was another long range strike that gave Clarke no chance, flying into the top left corner, showing the master poacher does not rely solely on close range strikes and penalties.
Almost immediately Brown made a smart save to deny Potter, touching his shot over the bar, but Oxford set up a grandstand finish when substitute Leven converted from a spot with ten minutes left after Bennett was adjudged to have impeded another Oxford replacement James Constable.
Chapman went close with an angled shot that just cleared the bar and Brown made an outstanding one-handed block from Deane Smalley as Cheltenham held on.
CHELTENHAM TOWN: S Brown; S Jombati, A Bennett, S Elliott, B Jones; J McGlashan (K Lowe 89), M Pack, S Deering (R Penn 66), D Carter, C Zebroski (K Mohamed 79); S Harrad. Subs not used: H Hooman, D Duffy, J Goulding, C Roberts.
OXFORD UNITED: R Clarke; D Batt, M Raynes, J Wright, T Capaldi; S Heslop (P Leven 66), L Cox, A Chapman; T Craddock (J Constable 66), D Smalley, J-P Pittman (A Potter 13).Subs not used: S Rigg, W Brown, L O'Brien, D Boateng.
REFEREE: A Madley.
ATTENDANCE: 3,037 (732 away).
STAR MAN: Sido Jombati.