REPORT: Wanderers v Cheltenham Town

Wanderers twice came from behind to stretch their unbeaten home run to five games as Xavier Amaechi and Elias Kachunga stepped out of the wings to take centre stage.

Amaechi marked a thrilling full debut with his first Wanderers’ goal to level it up a first time for Ian Evatt’s men.

And then after Alfie May had restored Cheltenham’s lead on the stroke of half-time with his second goal, Kachunga secured a richly deserved point - which could easily have been three - with a brilliantly-taken equaliser to continue his prolific run.

Wanderers then had chances to go on and win a gripping contest but few will have gone home disappointed after the Whites defied their injury concerns to maintain their momentum and unveil a potential new star in Amaechi.

As expected, Wanderers were down to a dozen senior players with Alex Baptiste fit enough to return on the bench as Amaechi was handed a first start for the club after recovering from the pre-season injury which followed his loan signing from Hamburg.

Cheltenham weren’t able to fill their full quota of substitutes but arrived on the back of successive league wins and a six-game unbeaten run and made the ideal start.

Amaechi goal.jpg

Joel Dixon made a superb save to deny Liam Sercombe an opening goal but the Whites’ keeper will have been disappointed to allow an effort from May to go under his body shortly afterwards as the Robins took a 14th-minute lead.

Wanderers had been slow out of the blocks but Amaechi sparked a fightback with a couple of flashes of brilliance which bode well for the future before he grabbed the equalising goal.

First, he produced a mazy run and pass for Eoin Doyle to see a shot blocked before sending a skidding long-range effort inches wide.

And then with 25 minutes gone he popped up in the box to force the ball home after Kieran Lee had just failed to get a touch to a low cross from Doyle following excellent work by Lee to craft the opening.

Amaechi’s first senior goal in English football raised the temperature on a freezing afternoon, although Dixon had to be alert to preserve the status quo as he touched over an audacious long-range free-kick from Town defender Chris Hussey.

Amaechi Kachunga celebration.jpg

Wanderers could also have been in front as the marauding Liam Gordon caused panic in the visitors’ defence before an excellent flighted pass from George Thomason teed up Amaechi for a chance he fired off target.

But it was deep in stoppage time that Town regained the half-time initiative when the lively May struck again, coming off the left flank to coolly locate the far corner with a composed finish.

Wanderers were back to square one but made an excellent start to the second half – having tweaked the formation as George Johnston dropped into a back three – as they looked to hit straight back.

More excellent wing play from Amaechi and another combination between Lee and Doyle saw the latter see an effort pushed round the post by Scott Flinders.

And from the corner that followed Ricardo Santos had the ball in the net but was denied his first Bolton goal by the assistant referee’s flag.

Another flowing move ended with a Declan John cross which Doyle flicked goalwards for Flinders to make another save before Wanderers did make it a 2-2 with a goal of the highest order.

Thomason’s fine pass again found John, enjoying his more advanced position, who slipped the ball to Kachunga.

Kachunga celebration.jpg

The in-form forward could have crossed but instead jinked onto his right foot and hammered an unstoppable shot across Flinders into the far corner to claim his fourth goal in six games.

It was all Wanderers as Amaechi then curled an effort just over the top, although the Robins rallied to force a couple of corners which would have brought a goal for Kyle Joseph but for a superb goalline clearance from the excellent Will Aimson.

Neither side was settling for a point, though, and another superb run from Kachunga created a chance for Doyle he fired at Flinders as the impressive Whites couldn’t quite force a third successive home league win, Baptiste firing over in stoppage time as he almost became an unlikely hero.

Wanderers: Dixon; Gordon (Baptiste 84), Almeida Santos, Aimson, John; Johnston; Amaechi (Delfouneso 70), Lee, Thomason, Kachunga; Doyle. Substitutes: Gilks, Baptiste, Tweedley, Conway, Henry, Pettifer.

Booked: Thomason

Cheltenham Town: Flinders; Horton, Long, Pollock, Hussey; Sercombe, Chapman; Joseph, Crowley (Williams 89), May (Norton 84); Vassell (Wright 62). Substitutes: Evans, Barkers, Armitage.

Booked: Crowley.

Referee: Ross Joyce

Attendance: 13,145 (Cheltenham 370)

Read Time: 4 mins