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Cheltenham Town: A Dagger in the heart to hopes of going up?

By Gloucestershire Echo  |  Posted: February 11, 2013

  • STUCK IN: Skipper Russ Penn and Keith Lowe tackle former Robin Medy Elito

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IF CHELTENHAM Town turn in many more performances like this between now and the end of the season they will not win promotion, it is as simple as that.

They were outfought and outplayed by Dagenham and Redbridge, who thoroughly deserved their first Football League victory over the Robins.

It could have been worse had it not been for another outstanding performance from Scott Brown.

The goalkeeper made his second penalty save of the season, but it was even better than the one he made against Barnet at Whaddon Road in November.

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He made several other fine stops, but he could do nothing about Luke Howell's 58th minute winner.

Having picked an almost unchanged team for the last three matches in a 4-4-2 formation, boss Mark Yates is likely to revert back to three central midfielders at Southend United tomorrow night.

Among those pressing for starts will be Marlon Pack and Byron Harrison, who both made positive impressions after joining the action in the second half at Dagenham.

Pack made his first appearance since almost joining Swindon Town on transfer deadline day and he immediately showed why it would be a major bonus is Yates could retain his services until the end of the season at least.

Harrison caused Dagenham more problems than Paul Benson and Shaun Harrad managed, but in the front pair's defence, the service to them was not particularly helpful.

All too often Cheltenham resorted to hopeful punts and central defenders Scott Doe and Luke Wilkinson were well on top in the physical battle.

Former Daggers hero Benson, who was given a warm welcome back by the home fans, struggled to make an impact and nothing he tried came off, but it was not through lack of trying.

Wide men Jermaine McGlashan and Kaid Mohamed were kept particularly quiet and the only time Chris Lewington was called into action was in the fourth minute.

He parried a shot from Harrad and from then on he was largely untroubled, in stark contrast to last season when he conceded twice and was sent off before half-time in Cheltenham's 5-0 triumph.

Brown made the first of his excellent interventions in the 33rd minute after the impressive Matt Saunders crosses for Ben Strevens, who directed a firm header towards the bottom left corner, but Brown reacted quickly to reach and turn it to safety.

Dagenham put together the best move of the half three minutes later when Strevens' flick found Saunders and he set up Sam Williams, but the final shot was wide of the near post.

Michael Hector once again looked good in the first half, but he was prone to the odd lapse in concentration, which is exactly why Reading have sent him out to gain experience.

When he brings the ball out it is a useful weapon for Cheltenham and he is certainly more comfortable in possession than your average League Two defender.

But he must know when to keep things simple and one attempt to be too pretty cost Cheltenham eight minutes into the second half.

His pass to Jason Taylor put the midfielder under immediate pressure from Abu Ogogo, who was a major presence in the middle of the pitch for Dagenham.

Taylor should have done better, but he lost out and Williams had a shooting chance, instead opting to tee up Howell, who calmly curled the ball past Brown from near the penalty spot.

Two minutes later Harrison went down in the penalty area, but nothing was given and in the 68th minute Dagenham had a spot kick of their own.

Saunders picked up the ball at speed and ran at a static Steve Elliott, who unceremoniously brought him down and there could be no complaints about referee Darren Drysdale's decision.

Williams stepped up and sent his penalty towards the bottom left corner, but Brown made a terrific stop to keep Cheltenham in the game.

He made another one-on-one block from Williams in the 73rd minute as Dagenham looked the more likely scorers of a second goal.

Elliott made two brave blocks in quick succession from Oluwafemi Ilesanmi and Strevens and Cheltenham did mount a late push, showing more cohesion in the last five minutes than they had in the previous 85.

Benson lifted an effort onto the roof of the net and Brown went forward for a late corner, reaching a second cross after Billy Jones' initial delivery had been half cleared.

It almost fell for Harrison, but Lewington was not called into action and the final whistle blew on a performance far from acceptable for a team with aspirations of League One football next year.

Dagenham and Redbridge: C Lewington; G Hoyte, S Doe, L Wilkinson, O Ilesanmi; M Saunders, A Ogogo, L Howell, M Elito; B Strevens, S Williams (B Woodall 82). Subs not used: J Seabright, J Reed, K Maher, J Caprice, B Bingham, G Gracco.

Cheltenham Town: S Brown; K Lowe, M Hector, S Elliott, B Jones; J McGlashan (D Carter 53), J Taylor, R Penn (M Pack 79), K Mohamed; S Harrad (B Harrison 53), P Benson. Subs not used: C Roberts, S Deering, D Duffy, S Jombati.

Referee: D Drysdale.

Attendance: 1,526 (186 away).

Star Man: Scott Brown.

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  • ambleside  |  February 11 2013, 3:26PM

    how many times as MY admitted he picked the wrong team this season,its becoming embarrasing!jones in for sido,i agree with.but to leave the midfield with no creative player as it was againist rovers was unforgivable.surely he must notice he's picked the wrong team during the 1st half,why not changed itafter 45mins.why leave it going nowhere for another wasted 15mins?taylor is only a poor version of penn, don't see how you can pla both togther.i know mo is MY favourite player,but surely he can see that he's lost all form & confidence.you can't afford to carry him through every game.i think MY lost the plot,he can't make a right decision to save his life.even with such a strong squad,he's clueless how to get the best out of it.teams from higher leagues coming in for MY? dream on!

  • CheltRobin  |  February 11 2013, 9:39AM

    "The players need a kick up the backside after a performance like that. Listened to commentary, Chelt were playing hoof ball from the 1st minute - why? Who told them to do that? The manager? I would doubt it, Chelt have plenty of players who can pass the ball around and through teams, but at the mo, with pitches in boggy conditions, the players (especially away from home recently), seem to be resorting to long ball tactics as soon as a few passes go astray. McG is also getting far more attention and cover from away teams this season - but he should be realising this now and be changing his game to allow for this. Maybe MY should switch McG and Mo over for a few matches, this would throw the oppo into a bit on confusion (hopefully not our players too!), but would mean that Mo could attack down the wing WITHOUT cutting in almost every time he attacks. The new players will take time to gel, and we do have potentially a very strong attacking team waiting to emerge. But if the wingers are not involved in the match and the delivery into the strikers is poor or not there at all, then we aren't gonna be scoring - simples. A very poor performance from Chelt, deserved to lose, only Brown could come out with any credit (another brilliant penalty save). Chelt will have have to up their game ten-fold if they are to get anything at Southend. We have the players to do it, but we need to start playing as a cohesive team and quickly!!"

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  • ALChelt  |  February 11 2013, 7:41AM

    if the report is to belived it is pretty obvious M Y stuck to the tactics of the past two home games "LONG BALL" We were lucky against Rovers to get the point because they wanted to keep the ball on the deck and play football,where as I think M Y is pressing the panic button and resorting to the way Cotterill got us up,trouble is the past few seasons things have changed,far more good football is played and if pack is still with us put him in the side from the start. M Y already knows we cant play 4 4 2 away from home we just aint good enough for that, Penn Pack Roberts midle three,in this you have two battlers and leave Pack futher forward to ping the passes about,Mcglashen also deserves regular starts because he ties up two men every week,then M Y as to look for who he plays wide left...back to the loan market. But the fights been there the last two games but something defo is not right,maybe M Y as hit the wall again and he as gone as far as he can !

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