Cheltenham Town comfortably beat promotion rivals Tranmere Rovers with a 4-0 home win against the side who currently sit third in the table.
Cheltenham in second extended the gap between themselves and third with goals from Connor Thomas, Will Boyle, Alfie May and Callum Wright.
A dominant display where the home side caused all sorts of problems with Ben Tozer’s long throws, and a ‘Goal of the Season’ contender from Wright.
Manager Michael Duff was very pleased with his side’s dominant performance.
He said: “When the clock turned 90 I started to enjoy it. It was a good performance. They are a good team, with good players and it's not bad when you can bring on an ex-England international (Nugent) in the second half. But I thought we were good today.”
“We didn't play as much as we normally do, but the way the game panned out with us scoring from two long throws. At that point, you are not going to open up and try to be free-flowing and expansive. It's seeing the game out. The third goal came from our shape, the fourth was brilliant and even then we had good opportunities from our shape because they have to go random and try something different. They tried formations, different players. I thought the back five were excellent and there was a moment in the 82nd-minute when they were crunching and crunching and that detail, a lot of work goes in that people don't see, with a good mentality, so I am delighted.
“The game panned out differently to how we thought. We thought it'd be a bit cagier, but the long throw is a weapon. I was asked by Sky before the game if we'd be using it and yes, why wouldn't you? It causes havoc and it created a couple of chances before that as well. Alfie (May) has got in one on one, not from a throw, but you are thinking ‘is that a key moment in the game’ as that would have made it three; but we were good in every department today, which is why it was a relatively comfortable win, but if you rest on your laurels, it was all doom and gloom last week and we've not become brilliant this week. It was a good performance and we have eight games to go. Win the next one, that's all I am bothered about.”
Going into this stage of the season, Duff was pleased that the majority of his side are fit, and the Robins’ boss spoke of the importance of having a strong squad for the end of the campaign.
He continued: “One marker was the strength of the bench and that's not being detrimental to the younger ones. You look at the people you are bringing on, Ellis Chapman, Indiana Vassilev, Finn Azaz, George Lloyd sitting there as well, and then you have the more experienced ones like Charlie Raglan and Andy Williams. “We were trying to get minutes into Rags, but they know they need to be tuned in as well.
The bench was pleasing and when some of the key players in terms of Liam Sercombe, Will Boyle, Rags, if you can hang around it, get through it and get your big players back, we've done more than that.”
Prior to the game, Duff showed his players a video of Cheltenham v Rushden in Diamonds in 1999, 22 years on from the game, to highlight what the club means to it’s currently absent fans.
Duff said: “It was people queuing around the ground at 1.30pm that got me. A lot of the players now haven't seen the supporters. It's a small club, but there is a certain amount of people who are emotionally attached and probably the only way they can get on is social media now, so it's probably up there, or down here, as that's what it is. It's always good to remind players who they are playing for and the history of the football club. That was the big marker. I had an alright career, decent, but that is still up there in the top five or 10 moments in my career because of what it meant at the time. That's not why we won the game, that was because the players delivered brilliant performances.”