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12 September 2017 Venue Rodney Parade Attendance

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English Football League - League Two

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Match Previews

PREVIEW | Cheltenham Town next up at Rodney Parade

11 September 2017

The Robins currently occupy 21st place in the division, after one win, one draw and four defeats so far this campaign. That position also happens to be where they finished last campaign, when they accumulated 50 points, just two more than the Exiles. They will be looking to kick-start their current campaign at Rodney Parade, with their solitary league win coming back on 12th August.

Here, you can find out all the facts and statistics ahead of this League 2 encounter…


Previous league and cup results.

The Robins began the season with stoppage-time heartache as Morecambe fought back to claim a 2-1 win with a 93rd minute winner.

The side responded with their own 90th minute goal in their next match, on their way to shocking Oxford United in the Carabao Cup with a 4-3 victory. Danny Wright got the late goal, sending the tie to extra-time, before a Mo Eisa rocket from 30-yards saw them pull off the upset.

They kept the momentum going with a 1-0 home win over Crawley before suffering a 2-1 defeat to Swansea City U21’s in the CheckaTrade Trophy. A goal of the season contender did, however, come in the game for the Robins, Kyle Storer superbly scoring directly from a corner to open the scoring.

The Robins then went two games without getting a goal, as they suffered a 3-0 defeat at Carlisle, before exiting the Carabao Cup with a 2-0 home defeat to West Ham United.

They made up for their goal-drought in the next game, although three goals were not enough to stop league-leaders Exeter City winning 4-3.

A 1-0 defeat to Stevenage then came before a 0-0 draw at Yeovil Town in their last game saw the Robins move off the foot of the table ahead of their trip to Rodney Parade.


Summer transfer window

Gary Johnson had a massive overhaul of his playing staff over the summer, bringing in 13 additions and letting 14 players leave the club.

Of the arrivals, Janaai Gordon will be a familiar name to Exiles fans. The striker, who interestingly scored his only goal for County against Cheltenham with a 95th minute equaliser, penned an undisclosed contract length after impressing during pre-season.

They raided the non-league for a further four of the arrivals, Scott Flinders being one of the additions. The 31-year old goalkeeper has vast League 2 experience, having made over 250 appearances for Hartlepool United and 50 whilst with York City.

Of the departures, Billy Waters is the most notable. The striker was the club’s top scorer last season, in addition to winning the player of the year award, and moved to Northampton Town for an undisclosed fee, playing against County in pre-season.  

Another positive result for the Robins during the window was the news that Harry Pell remained with the club. Blackpool had a bid accepted for the 25-year old midfielder, but Pell decided to reject the advances of the League 1 club due to family commitments.



The Robins head to Rodney Parade in near perfect shape.

Summer signing Jordan Forster will, however, miss the game with an Achilles injury. He may also miss the reverse fixture at Whaddon Road on 30th December as the initial prognosis is that the defender will be out until early 2018.

Aaron Downes, currently a player-coach for the club, is also expected to miss the game with a knee injury picked up in pre-season.

Manager Gary Johnson made one change to his side for the Yeovil Town game on Saturday, with Will Boyle dropping to the bench after suffering a broken nose during the week, with the defender able to return for the visit to Rodney Parade.

That means a similar team could be named for our encounter. However, striker Danny Wright may miss out after being substituted just 23 minutes into the Yeovil game, after missing two clear-cut chances.


Team vs Yeovil Town (4-3-3):

Flinders; Winchester, Grimes, Moore, Cranston; Pell, Morrell (Sellars 70), Storer (c); Dawson, Eisa, Wright (Gordon 23).


One to watch – Mo Eisa

Age: 22

Position: Winger / Striker

Goals this season: 4

Previous clubs: Dartford, Greenwich Borough

Dubbed the next ‘Ian Wright,’ Mo Eisa has accustomed himself well to life in the Football League after joining the Robins over the summer.

The 22-year-old has drawn comparisons to Wright, who scored over 200 goals during his career, due to them both being scouted whilst at Greenwich Borough, who Eisa scored 57 goals for over the past two seasons.

Interestingly, the scout that recommended Eisa to Cheltenham this summer is also the same scout that recommended Wright to Crystal Palace back in 1985. So, who was the scout? John Griffin, who interestingly happens to be Cheltenham manager Gary Johnson’s uncle.

Since moving to the Robins, he has scored four goals already this campaign, two of which have come in League 2, with the others coming in the Carabao Cup.

His first goal came on debut with a strike at Morecambe before his double helped Cheltenham produce one of the shocks of the Carabao Cup first round, when they beat Oxford United 4-3 in extra time.

He took his tally to four goals in three games with his first home goal, in the 1-0 win over Crawley Town on 12th August.

The Robins have clearly been impressed by his performances so far this campaign, moving swiftly to tie down Eisa to an extended contract, with the winger committing himself to the club until the summer of 2020.


Manager – Gary Johnson

Johnson has been in charge at the Whaddon Road outfit since March 2015, leading the Robins to National League success the following year.

In doing so, he set his own piece of history, as Cheltenham became the first relegated club since 1989 to win the division and bounce straight back to League 2. He also became just the second manager to win multiple National League titles.

Currently, Johnson has managed 124 Cheltenham games, winning 41.9% of them.

Prior to being with the Robins, Johnson had his most successful managerial spells with Yeovil Town and Bristol City, managing over 200 games with both clubs.

In his first spell with Yeovil he won three competitions, the FA Trophy, Conference title and Division Three title. He added a League 1 title to that collection during his second stint.

He made Bristol City outsiders for promotion to the Premiership during his spell at Ashton Gate, although they suffered a 1-0 defeat to Hull City in the 2008 Play-off final.

His best winning percentage of any club came during his first spell with Yeovil when he won 52.5% of his 221 games.

He is also closing in on the Football League 1000 club, having managed over 900 games to date.


Previous meetings

Remarkably, the two teams have only met on six previous occasions. Those meetings have all come in League 2, with just one win each for both teams and the remaining four draws. A draw this time round can be found at 5/2 with SKY BET.

The first meeting came in the 2013/14 season, when both sides played out a 0-0 draw at Whaddon Road on 23rd November. Cheltenham secured their only victory over County to date later that season, as Ashley Vincent’s strike secured a 1-0 win – a result which saw County slip away from the play-off places.

In the 2014/15 season, Chris Zebroksi’s goal gave County their only win over Cheltenham on 28th December – which put County 5th in the table, just four points off top, heading into the New Year. A 1-1 draw at Rodney Parade saw County’s play-off hopes ended, as the visitors crawled out of the relegation zone, albeit temporarily. Wales U21 international Wes Burns gave Cheltenham the lead, before Miles Storey equalised for County during the game.

Last season, a further two draws were played out between the sides. At Rodney Parade, County twice fought back to draw 2-2 thanks to a double from Jon Parkin. Then, at Whaddon Road, County took another step to safety with a stunning 95th minute equaliser through Janaai Gordon, as more than 800 County fans made the short trip.



Referee: Gavin Ward

Assistant referee 1: Simon Knapp

Assistant referee 2: Ben Cobb

Fourth Official: Derek Eaton

Ward is currently in his 11th season as a Football League referee.

Last season, he refereed 41 games, giving out 150 yellow cards and brandishing a further six red cards.

So far this season, he has officiated on seven matches, producing 23 yellow cards with no reds.


County Connection

Ward has refereed County on four previous occasions – three times at Rodney Parade and once on the road.

His first County match came on 6th April 2015 when County lost 2-0 away at Exeter City. Ismail Yakubu was sent off in that game, with Mark Byrne also booked for County.

Ward officiated County twice in the 2015/16 season. The Exiles were unbeaten in those two games, the first a 1-0 success over Mansfield Town. Six yellow cards were given out in all during that game, Scott Boden, Yan Klukowski and Mark Byrne booked for County.

The second game came in the 1-1 draw with Oxford United. Danny Holmes and Tommy O’Sullivan were both cautioned in the only two bookings of the game.

His most recent County game came last season, in the 4-0 defeat to Leyton Orient. Joss Labadie and Mark O’Brien were booked for the Exiles.


Other League 2 fixtures that day (All 7:45pm kick-offs unless stated)

Accrington Stanley vs Grimsby Town

Barnet vs Exeter City (8pm kick-off)

Colchester United vs Chesterfield

Coventry City vs Carlisle United

Crewe Alexandra vs Cambridge United

Forest Green Rovers vs Lincoln City

Luton Town vs Port Vale

Mansfield Town vs Wycombe Wanderers

Notts County vs Swindon Town

Stevenage vs Crawley Town

Yeovil Town vs Morecambe


Can’t make the match?

You can follow along on social media using @NCAFCLive on Twitter, or via the club’s official Facebook and Instagram pages.

Don’t forget – if you reside outside of the UK, you can watch the game live by subscribing to County’s iFollow service. Commentary by Charlie Brown and Richard Sheppard can also be found at the Match Centre.

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Match Reports

REPORT | Exiles back to winning ways against Cheltenham Town

12 September 2017

The Exiles returned to winning ways with a 1-0 victory over Cheltenham Town.

In a game severely affected by the conditions at Rodney Parade, Padraig Amond was the match-winner with the solitary goal in the 35th minute.

That came after the striker had superbly reacted to a goal bound effort from Ben White, diverting the defenders attempt past a helpless Scott Flinders in the away goal from around four yards.

Mike Flynn elected to make two changes to the team that started the 0-0 draw with Wycombe on Saturday.

The first change was enforced, as captain Joss Labadie missed out with the groin injury picked up on the weekend, Scot Bennett returning to the starting side. The other change saw Robbie Willmott make way for Tom Owen-Evans.

The two changes meant County were also changing formation, with what appeared to be a 3-5-2 formation elected.

Cheltenham Town manager Gary Johnson made one change to his starting line-up, as Jamie Grimes missed out through injury. That meant Will Boyle came back into the team in a like-for-like change as Cheltenham stuck to the 4-3-3 system used on the weekend.

The wet and windy conditions at a drenched Rodney Parade seemed to be affecting Exiles goalkeeper Joe Day early on, with the ball seemingly slipping out of his hands at a corner in just the second minute. Fortunately for County, Dan Butler got back to block the shot from Joe Morrell.

The visitors were adjusting to the conditions much better than Exiles in the opening five minutes, unlucky to not be ahead after creating further chances.

An offside call halted County’s first opportunity of the night, Amond the offender, as the Exiles looked to grow into the game after a slow start.

Both sides had a penalty appeal in the opening ten minutes, although the conditions may have played a significant part, the referee disinterested on both occasions.

Mo Eisa was seemingly the architect of all the Cheltenham openings for the opening quarter-of-an-hour, causing havoc to the County defence, Owen-Evans doing well to block his goal bound shot on 12 minutes.  

Dolan responded for County on 14 minutes, testing the palms of away goalkeeper Scott Flinders, who did well under the conditions to make an otherwise simple save.

Mickey Demetriou fired wide from around 40 yards just after, Owen-Evans forcing a good save from Flinders on 18 minutes as County were beginning to assert some authority on the game.  

But just as County were getting a foothold in the game, the visitors came agonisingly close to an opener. Dolan played a poor pass back towards the County goal which Mo Eisa capitalised on, only for Bennett to get back and force the attacker to curl wide under pressure when in on goal.

Rigg headed wide from a White delivery on 25 minutes, before Padraig Amond came within an inch of giving County the lead.

Amond was picked out just outside the area by Dolan, turned his man and fired a shot that looked destined for the bottom corner, only for Flinders to get the narrowest of touches to just about send it wide.

It looked like County were fully in the ascendency as the game ticked into the half-hour mark, Carl Winchester providing some resistance for the away side with a shot from just outside the area that went well wide of the far post.

Kyle Storer should have given the visitors the lead when found in the area on 33 minutes, but couldn’t direct his header goalward as Danny Wright’s follow-up hit the side-netting.

And the Robins would be made to pay for that spurned opportunity, as the Exiles took the lead in the 35th minute through Padraig Amond.

Initially, Dan Butler had a shot blocked wide for a corner by Robins defender Taylor Moore. Rigg’s delivery found White in the area, whose goalward shot was deflected in by an alert Amond, as Flinders had no chance of reacting to the composed finish from all of four yards.

Pipe came so close to doubling the Exiles advantage within 60 seconds of the restart, Flinders doing well to recover and save with his legs after initially misreading a Demetriou delivery.

Dolan had a shot blocked moments later as County were really starting to turn the tide at a still dampened Rodney Parade, the Exiles clearly adapting to the conditions the more the game continued.

The indication of one additional minute couldn’t inspire either side into creating another chance as County held a slender advantage at half-time.

It would be unfair on the Robins to say that they were the weaker side in the game, having good spells at times, although County probably deserved to get the opener.

The left-side of Jordan Cranston and Mo Eisa seemed to be working most effective for the visitors, with Ben White doing particularly well to thwart the danger.

Robins boss Johnson was clearly incensed by something during the first-half, making a double attacking substitution at half-time. That saw Eisa and Wright come off for Jerrell Sellars and ex-Exile Janaai Gordon.

And Sellars would be the engineer of the opening opportunity within the opening 90 seconds, although nobody could connect to his cross on the right-side.

Kevin Dawson fired wide after Sellars had again run the County midfield ragged, as the substitution looked to be providing the impact that Johnson was hoping for against a County defence that limited the Robins to only a few opportunities in the first-half.

It took until the 56th minute for the first yellow card to be shown by referee Gavin Ward, Dolan the offender, for a culmination of fouls during the game.

Demetriou blazed over in County’s opening chance of the second-half on 57 minutes, after a corner had been drilled along the area to find the defender just inside the box.  

Sellars was shown a yellow card just after for lunging in too excitedly on Demetriou, with Dolan hitting the stanchion with the resulting free-kick from 30 yards.

An expertly timed challenge by Moore prevented Rigg getting in on goal on 68 minutes, as the game appeared to be quieting down after a frantic opener hour.

Flynn retaliated by sending Robbie Willmott on for Owen-Evans. It was the first league game that Willmott hadn’t started for the Exiles this season, and he almost had a chance to double the Exiles advantage within seconds of coming on, Winchester doing well to scurry back and just about take the chance away.

And if it wasn’t for a divine intervention from White, Cheltenham could have got an equaliser in the 72nd minute. A header from captain Storer had Day beaten all ends up, only for White to somehow head it over the bar.

It was the third time in three league games that White had cleared something off the line, this by far the best as it looked for all the world like it was going to be an equaliser.

Ben Tozer came on for the second Exiles substitution soon after, Rigg the man replaced. The Robins made their final substitution at the same time, Morrell making way for Freddie Hinds.

A slip from Flinders invited Amond to try a speculative chipped attempt on 83 minutes, although the wind played a massive part in seeing the attempt drift wide.

Willmott fired a free-kick at the wall at the start of four additional minutes, Will Boyle booked for the visitors for the previous foul when it looked like Nouble was heading in on goal.

And if it wasn’t for the reactions of Day, Cheltenham would have had a late equaliser. A long ball was launched into the box that found Storer unmarked, only for Day to somehow throw something at it and tip it over the bar.

Boyle fired wide right at the death, as County held on for a first victory in three league games, with the result also becoming the first success over the Robins in five attempts.

County: Day, Pipe (C), White, Demetriou, Bennett, Butler, Dolan, Owen-Evans (Willmott 68’), Rigg (Tozer 75’), Nouble, Amond

Subs not used: Bittner, Cole, Reynolds, Quigley, Jahraldo   


Cheltenham Town: Flinders, Cranston, Storer (C), Pell, Dawson, Wright (Gordon 45’), Winchester, Boyle, Eisa (Sellars 45’), Morrell (Hinds 79’), Moore

Subs not used: Flatt, O’Shaughnessy, Bower


Referee: Gavin Ward

Attendance: 2,916 (231 away)

Next up for County: Morecambe (16th September) AWAY


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