REPORT: Wanderers v Cheltenham Town

Wanderers had to do it the hard way but finally got the job done as a late Kyle Dempsey winner made it three wins in a row to keep them looking up the League One table.

Ian Evatt’s men were worthy winners of a game they dominated for long spells.

But Cheltenham – seeking the possibility of a league double over the Whites – were never going to make life easy as they scrap for their lives at the other end of the table.

And so it proved as the visitors defended in numbers to try and keep Wanderers at arm’s length.

They were largely successful as the Whites couldn’t take one of the few clear-cut openings they were able to fashion.

Image removed.

But persistence finally paid off and at the time of the season when winning is everything, they did just that as Dempsey continued his fine run of form with a superbly executed winner, curling the ball home from outside the box to make it another successful afternoon at the UniBol.

Wanderers gave a home debut to both Shola Shoretire and Victor Adeboyejo as they looked to chalk up a hat-trick of league wins for the first time since a four-game winning streak was ended by Cheltenham in October.

Neither had much chance to make an impression in a scrappy opening but as Wanderers gradually took a grip Dempsey went close to putting the Whites ahead when he bounced a volley just wide following a corner mid-way through the first half.

However, it remained a case of nearly but not quite up to the interval as Wanderers worked the ball around the visitors’ penalty area without being able to find a clear sight of the target, Adeboyejo dragging a long-range effort wide when it briefly threatened to open up.

Image removed.

Dempsey then fired a pass low across the penalty area which just eluded a decisive touch from anyone in white and just before the break the best chance yet fell to Dion Charles but he elected to shoot early and sent his effort well wide.

Cheltenham had offered little in attack as they tried to find a first win in six league games but five minutes into the second half they had a decent chance to grab the lead.

Alfie May was always a lively presence and when the Robins’ record EFL goalscorer crossed for Will Goodwin, the striker failed to find the target with an attempted glancing header.

Most of the pressure still came from Wanderers, though, as they looked to ease the frustration and find a way through the massed ranks of red shirts.

A flick from Shoretire almost let in Charles, whose shot on the turn was blocked in front of goal and with 25 minutes to go Evatt made a double switch in an attempt to unlock the door.

Image removed.

Kieran Lee and Cameron Jerome came on to crank up the experience level and as the clock ticked away Wanderers needed all their patience and belief to conjur up a winner after Charles had seen another effort blocked following Aaron Morley’s free-kick.

And with 10 minutes of normal time to go the goal finally came.

Dempsey had worked as hard as anyone to try and pierce the thick red line and when he opted to go it alone it proved a wise choice as from fully 25 yards he picked out the bottom corner to steer home his fourth goal of the season.

With time now against them, Cheltenham finally let the handbrake off and there were a couple of late scares for the Whites as May nearly lobbed home and James Trafford had to grab a volley from Liam Sercombe to extend his home clean sheet record.

But Wanderers don’t let leads slip easily and they would not be denied a 10th home league win of the season to stay firmly in the play-off places.

Image removed.

Wanderers: Trafford; Jones, Almeida Santos, Toal; Bradley, Morley, Dempsey (Sheehan 85), John; Shoretire (Lee 66); Charles, Adeboyejo (Jerome 66). Substitutes: Dixon, Isgrove, Mbete, Khumbeni.

Booked: Bradley

Cheltenham Town: Southwood; Jackson, Long, Taylor, Raglan (Keena 82), Williams (Olayinka 75); Perry (Sercombe 69), Bonds, Broom; Goodwin (Norton 69), May. Substitutes: MacDonald, Brown, Baggott.

Booked: Broom, Long

Referee: Sunny Singh Gill

Attendance: 17,736 (Cheltenham 326)

Read Time: 4 mins