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REPORT: Cheltenham Town 1 Wanderers 2

Wanderers march on as superb second-half showing extends winning run

23 April 2022

There’s no stopping Wanderers in their dash for the finishing line as second-half goals from Kieran Sadlier and substitute Amadou Bakayoko made it a hat-trick of wins.

Cheltenham had lost only once on their own ground since Boxing Day but were unable to halt Wanderers’ march as Ian Evatt’s men extended their unbeaten run to seven games with a dominant display.

There wasn’t much of a gulf between the sides promoted together last season before the break.

But Ian Evatt’s men then took total control after half-time before a late Town goal from substitute Aaron Ramsey made them wait to finally secure their ninth and final away win of the season.

Sadlier goal.jpg

Sadlier broke the deadlock with his fourth goal since signing in January as one of the catalysts of Wanderers’ inspired run since the turn of the year.

And Bakayoko then secured the breathing space needed to see out victory as he slotted home from the penalty spot to take Wanderers to an impressive total of 70 points and one more from guaranteeing a top-10 finish in next Saturday’s finale at home to Fleetwood.

Jon Dadi Bodvarsson’s two-goal salvo from the bench in Wanderers’ Easter Monday win over Accrington earned the Icelander a return to starting duty, along with Sadlier.

And the pair were involved in the first chance as Wanderers looked to dent Cheltenham’s impressive home record.

Bodvarsson’s persistence saw him rob Mattie Pollock on the by-line and then pull the ball back for Sadlier, who failed to hit the target with an effort he lifted over the top, with just over a quarter of an hour gone.

Sadlier celebration.jpg

Sadlier then fired a free-kick into Town’s defensive wall after Wanderers again forced the Robins onto the back foot.

And Dion Charles saw a shot blocked after an excellent combination between Declan John and the outstanding Aaron Morley - who gave a midfield masterclass - again opened up a route into the penalty area.

But with Dapo Afolayan thundering a volley just wide Wanderers were unable to force the breakthrough and in the final minute of the first half Cheltenham almost went ahead.

Alfie May had swept the board in Town’s end-of-season awards – collecting a batch of silverware before kick-off – and he showed why as he looked for his 25th goal of the season.

His combination with on-loan Tottenham striker Kion Etete always gave Cheltenham a threat and after being released by Etete, May twisted and turned in the Wanderers’ box to make space a for shot which produced a superb save from James Trafford, going full length to his left to keep the ball out.

Bakayoko penalty.jpg

Evatt made a change at the break with the fit-again Kyle Dempsey replacing MJ Williams, who damaged a hand during the first half.

And it was all Wanderers at the start of the second half as they pressed for the opening goal with some excellent passages of play in front of the visiting fans.

Another fine run by John almost opened the door before his driven effort was blocked in front of goal.

But the Whites’ growing pressure finally paid off with almost an hour gone as Sadlier made it 1-0.

Wanderers had been a danger from set-plays and when Morley delivered another corner, Bodvarsson kept the ball alive with a neat turn and delivery towards Sadlier, who flicked home his third goal in five games with a tidy finish.

It was then all about whether Wanderers could get a second to seemingly kill off what was becoming a one-sided contest.

Bakayoko celebration.jpg

And with 15 minutes to go they got it.

Afolayan had been a constant handful for Town’s back line and when he again beat Lewis Freestone he was dragged down by the Robins’ defender.

Afolayan wanted to take the spot-kick himself but Bakayoko pulled rank and took the responsibility to calmly slot home his 13th goal of the season to get within one of Afolayan at the top of the goal-scoring charts.

That should have been that, although an 89th-minute goal from Ramsey – running through to slot the ball past Trafford after an errant clearance from the keeper – kept Wanderers honest to the end before celebrating for a final time on the road this season.

Wanderers: Trafford; Jones, Aimson, Johnston, John; Williams (Dempsey HT), Morley; Sadlier (Bakayoko 69), Bodvarsson, Charles (Kachunga 69), Afolayan. Substitutes: Dixon, Amaechi, Baptiste, Gordon.

Booked: None

Cheltenham: Flinders; Long, Pollock, Boyle, Freestone; Lloyd (Brown 82), Sercombe (Ramsey 86), Bonds, Wright; Etete (Williams 82), May. Substitutes: Evans, Raglan, Chapman, Hutchinson.

Booked: Lloyd, Bonds

Referee: Neil Hair

Attendance: 5,228 (Wanderers 1,378)


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