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Plenty of positives to take from another memorable campaign

By Gloucestershire Echo  |  Posted: May 07, 2013

Comments (7)

'SO NEAR yet so far' is the story of the season for Cheltenham Town, as the Robins fell magnanimously at the hands of Northampton in their League Two play-off semi-final.

After losing the first leg 1-0 at Northampton, many would have fancied Mark Yates' men in the second leg at Whaddon Road in front of almost 6,000 supporters.

However, his close friend and tennis partner Aidy Boothroyd was to serve up a 1-0 away win, ensuring that the Robins remain in League Two for a fifth successive season.

Defenders Steve Elliott and Michael Hector defended manfully against Adebayo Akinfenwa and the midfield passed the ball with noticeable fluidity.

On 15 minutes, the Robins had a route back into the tie, as Russell Penn was tripped and a penalty was awarded.

Marlon Pack's resulting penalty was saved by Cobblers goalkeeper Lee Nicholls, a sad way to end an impressive three seasons at Whaddon Road.

Nicholls ultimately made the difference for Northampton, denying Paul Benson, Darryl Duffy and a multitude of others.

It seemed inevitable that Northampton would have opportunities, and in truth they only needed to take one of them.

Luke Guttridge's sumptuous volley sparked delirium in the away end, giving Robins keeper Scott Brown no chance from 25 yards.

The second half saw Cheltenham defend irreproachably, but the problem, as it has been all season, was an inability to convert opportunities into goals.

After Kaid Mohamed's header came crashing back of the crossbar, it was evident that it wasn't going to our day.

It feels like an age ago that I was stood in Evesham's ground for our first pre-season friendly with fellow supporters, wondering what this season would bring.

Despite not achieving our ultimate goal of promotion, there are plenty of positives to take from what has been yet another memorable campaign for Cheltenham Town.

Finances continue to blossom, with four televised games this season providing invaluable income, and there have been moments to savour, including playing Everton in the FA Cup as well as defeating Martin Allen's Gillingham at Whaddon Road.

The problem throughout this season has been a lack of goals, with Mark Yates at times indecisive and unable to pick a 'best' XI.

Nevertheless, as supporters we have again seen a high-calibre squad, including arguably the best goalkeeper and midfielder in the division in Scott Brown and Marlon Pack.

Far from being fickle and impatient, as perceived by some, the general stoicism of our following is both a benefit and a curse.

With time for the dust to settle and a chance to reflect, we can all agree that it has been yet another fantastic season.

We have again exceeded the predictions of many, with many moments to treasure along the way.

If we keep the faith and trust in Mark Yates, there is no reason why we cannot make it third time lucky next season.

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7 comments

  • essexforever  |  May 08 2013, 8:14PM

    Excellent season for Cheltenham but always thought we were going to fall short of making League One. You can point to a lack of goals from the front men but I wonder if the wide men did themselves any justice. McGlashan and Mohammed should be getting on the score sheet more regularly and at least putting in decent crosses for the wide men to convert. In particular I don't believe McGlashan has managed to fulfil his potential. MY has done remarkably well in the transfer and loan market in the past so it will be interesting to see if he can sustain another promotion push for next season. However, I remember another Cheltenham manager who, like MY, always seemed to threaten promotion but without quite ever being able to make them that bit good enough to progress to the higher level. Anyone remember Lindsay Parsons?

  • ALChelt  |  May 08 2013, 1:45PM

    Thanks for pointing out my schoolboy error in spelling CTFC (I might add I was aware of it already,half asleep mode :-))however did you have to make your point 4 times. Interesting to see I have 3 negatives on my observations but why? I have only pointed to the facts! Sometimes the truth hurts,Yeatsy as done a fantastic job of putting Allens wrongs to rights which was no mean feat,but sometimes a manager can only do so much,even at the highest level this occurs on a regular basis,some people are better coache's or talent spotters than managers,I think Mark Yeates falls into this category,he will continue as our boss next season and hopefully have another tilt at promotion,but mistakes and Indecisiveness must be addressed,if we were lucky enough to go up next season he would be punished even more at every level he steps up to. Bring on the Pompy...and Newport of course.

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  • CTFC1887  |  May 08 2013, 10:46AM

    "with Mark Yates at times indecisive and unable to pick a 'best' XI" He doesn't contradict himself, he is merely highlighting one of Mark Yates' weaknesses this season. All managers have strong and weak points, but you can still trust in them. Yates' real challenge is a promotion push for a third successive season, which depends very much on how we utilises the transfer window - coincidentally, that's one of his strengths! P.S. Contradict not "contridict".

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  • CTFC1887  |  May 08 2013, 10:45AM

    "with Mark Yates at times indecisive and unable to pick a 'best' XI" He doesn't contradict himself, he is merely highlighting one of Mark Yates' weaknesses this season. All managers have strong and weak points, but you can still trust in them. Yates' real challenge is a promotion push for a third successive season, which depends very much on how we utilises the transfer window - coincidentally, that's one of his strengths! P.S. Contradict not "contridict".

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  • CTFC1887  |  May 08 2013, 10:43AM

    "with Mark Yates at times indecisive and unable to pick a 'best' XI" He doesn't contradict himself, he is merely highlighting one of Mark Yates' weaknesses this season. All managers have strong and weak points, but you can still trust in them. Yates' real challenge is a promotion push for a third successive season, which depends very much on how we utilises the transfer window - coincidentally, that's one of his strengths! P.S. Contradict not "contridict".

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  • CTFC1887  |  May 08 2013, 10:42AM

    "with Mark Yates at times indecisive and unable to pick a 'best' XI" He doesn't contradict himself, he is merely highlighting one of Mark Yates' weaknesses this season. All managers have strong and weak points, but you can still trust in them. Yates' real challenge is a promotion push for a third successive season, which depends very much on how we utilises the transfer window - coincidentally, that's one of his strengths! P.S. Contradict not "contridict".

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  • ALChelt  |  May 08 2013, 7:46AM

    You contridict yourself in this artical,you mentionM Y's indecisiveness then say we must trust in him for next season,Yeates was exactly the same last season,I am begining to doubt is ability to make the right decisions at the right time,this season as seen him have a go at fans for challenging his decisions or lack of,his faith in in Mohamed as cost him in games as most teams now know we can easily be breached down our left flank,with the fulback often being left high and dry.Very early in the season it was obvious we were struggling for a decent striker and this as also cost us dear,he eventually turned to Benson who although a recognised striker he as very little pace and needs others to provide him with chances in the box. I will agree there is still a good group of player left behind this season,if we keep carter I think he might flourish in place of Pack,a left sided midfield player is a must as is acouple of striker,yes we know they cost money but the rewards are great,and if I hear the old chestnut of "punching above our weight" again,if we are in the league set up then we compete,if we are not interested in trying to continue to progress then cut the bills drop out the league and fold. We are not little Cheltenham anymore we are an established very good club,thanks to Mr Baker and the backroom staff,they have made mistakes but they appear to have finally learnt from them,the question is can M Y start to learn from his. Yes it as been a fantastic season,to a point,and point is the operative word,draws or losses against several bottom 5 clubs have cost us,but roll on next season,I hope we do well again,but part of me feels we have missed the boat over the past two seasons and next year might be a different fight.

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