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Wednesday, June 12, 2024
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HomeSportFootballCheltenham Town draw with Portsmouth

Cheltenham Town draw with Portsmouth

Cheltenham Town have secured their first point of the 2023/24 League One season after a goalless draw with Portsmouth.
The Robins are yet to score in their opening four league games but have their first point after a bizarre match which saw 21 minutes added time at the end of the second half.

New refereeing rules will allow for more time at the end of matches, but not to the extent we saw at Fratton Park, last weekend.
After an injury to the linesman the fourth official stepped up to man the line, he then suffered an injury, and an announcement came over the tannoy to see if any fans could be linesman. A Pompey fan stepped up and ran the line for most of the second half.

This excitement somewhat took away from the action on the pitch as both teams failed to score. The point was much more important for the travelling Robins, who can now hopefully push on after a slow start. They still need to find goals, though.

Head Coach Wade Elliott was pleased with the way his side battled in Hampshire.
Elliott said: “We spoke before the game and asked for a ‘Cheltenham’ performance. Over the past three or four seasons it’s been gritty, organised, tough to beat, and I thought we were all of those things. A really good performance and I am pleased we got something to go away with.
“You could see everybody has played their part. There is a real spirit, helping each other and fighting and scrapping for each other. There are some really tired bodies and a lot of wounds, limps and strains, they’ve really had to go to the well, but it’s going to be that sort of character and spirit – and we know it’s a tough league and we are always fighting the odds – that has allowed us to do that over the last couple of years.”

Cheltenham do need to back up their performance going forward and need to find a way to get scoring goals. The gap left by forward Alfie May departing to Charlton is showing at the moment and the forwards need to step up and fill that. To try and get goals in, Elliott started three forwards in the first eleven, hoping to boost his attacking threat.

He continued: “It gave us an attacking threat and a bit of identity. We had pace, power and it gave us a platform to try and play off. The three of them worked really hard and if they keep putting in that effort and workrate, they’ll get their rewards.
“We tried to get pressure on them. The shape was pretty good. We tried to position them, so when the ball turned over, we could carry a threat. We looked dangerous on sets, and we were big on sets. It was lots of different reasons.
“You are looking at ticking things off, so first point, first away point, first clean sheet and now we have a clear week to take those building blocks into Saturday.”

Elliott also spoke about the strange goings on with the officials, which he’d never seen before. It added something different to an important away day for Cheltenham.
Elliott continued: “He’s probably the best official we’ve had this year! They should all have a curry and four pints before coming on because it seemed to do the trick. I did worry when he walked on and did the messiah salute to the North Stand. But it’s something else we’ve had to deal with, and the players dealt with it well because it would have been easy to lose focus. It galvanised the crowd a little bit and gave them a sugar burst of 10 minutes where they really got behind them and we had to weather that, but the players were brilliant. I went in and spoke to them, gave them the facts and asked them what they wanted to do and they said, ‘bring it on’.”

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