Two goals in two games for Callum Wright as midfielder helped Cheltenham to a point against Burton Albion.
After a strong first-half performance, The Robins led 1-0 going into the break before a second-half Burton goal tied things up at 1-1.
Cheltenham looked a different side in the second half and failed to capitalise after a strong first 45 minutes.
It’s another point on the board but some fans will feel it’s two points dropped against a team that in the first half were there for the taking.
After the match manager Michael Duff praised his side, but said he’d “take the positives, take the point and move on,” after a bittersweet result.
Duff said: “We did enough in the first half alone. They had one shot in the 46th minute, but other than that, we had a lot of chances, one-on-ones, we hit the crossbar twice. We should have had a penalty and to give Burton credit, some of the blocks were unbelievable, putting their bodies on the line. I’ve just seen two or three of them back and you have to give them credit for that. It’s their job, but not every team do it. “Second half, they changed a little bit and we couldn’t quite get the momentum back. We did in the last 10 minutes after tweaking a couple of things, stemming their flow and growing back into the game. Even in the last 10 minutes there were four or five opportunities where it could have dropped to one of our players in the box, but it seemed to keep dropping to them. We’ll take the positives and we’ll take the point and move on.
“It’s probably as dominant as we’ve been for a long time, against a good team. They are a really difficult team to play against.”
“It’s very rare you are going to get a free-flowing football match, because they don’t let you. They are in your face and they press and turn you around. We dealt with that really well. They won by four last week so that shows you what a threat they are.
They are where they are in the league for a reason and it’s because they are a really difficult team to play against. The way we moved it and played it wide, working over loads in wide areas and getting good crosses in the box from good areas – they were the pleasing things. I thought Dan Nlundulu was good on his debut too.”
There were a number of key decisions for the referee to manage and Cheltenham fans thought they should have had a penalty early on when Sean Long was pulled down in the box after a cross. Duff spoke to the referee about the decision.
He said: “The ref thought they were both at it, but their lad wasn’t looking at the ball. Why Sean Long would want to try and grab him when he has a free header at the back post I don’t know. The frustration is he doesn’t give that one, but he gives three or four really similar, soft ones on the touchline.
It’s easy to give that and just because it’s the first minute, a foul is still a foul. But we can’t blame the referee because we had enough opportunities ourselves to score more goals.”
It’s been a busy week for the Robins with a number of players joining and departing the club. Defender Chris Hussey is one of the outgoings; he featured on Saturday and Duff said how it was down to him.
Duff continued: “There has been a bid accepted. We didn’t want him to leave. The ball was in Chris’ court. We made it quite clear and I had a conversation with him and I wasn’t going to lie to him and say there hasn’t been a bid. We had a bid, the club have accepted it. He is 33-years-old, so he needed to make a decision – he was welcome to stay which is why he started against Burton.
“There was no point in trying to find some sort of split between me and the board. He is 33, been offered money and not many League One or League Two clubs are selling players at 33-years-old. It’s been a group decision and it’s not a case of the board selling behind my back, or us trying to get rid of him without the board knowing. Every player has a value. it’s a five-figure sum but we didn’t want him to go ultimately.”