Victor Adeboyejo’s eighth goal of the season was enough for Wanderers to regain their momentum in the promotion race and climb back up to third place in the table, writes Pete Oliver.
On a night when the three points was all that mattered after the Whites’ four-game winning run in League One had ended at Leyton Orient on Saturday, Wanderers did what was required from one of their games in hand to close back in the top two.
It wasn’t always pretty on a gusty night at the Toughsheet Community Stadium as Cheltenham looked to continue their fight for survival.
But Adeboyejo’s cool first-half finish on his 50th appearance for the club and a hard-earned clean sheet proved the ingredients of a vital victory which could prove an important staging post along the way.
Ten days on from the abandonment of the first fixture the sides went again and, unlike the stalemate of the opening half-hour last time out, this was all-action with chances at both ends.
Dion Charles set the tone inside the first five minutes when he spun onto a flick from Josh Dacres-Cogley and forced Luke Southwood into a smart save with a right-foot volley.
Charles was a constant menace to Cheltenham’s back line but the Whites’ defence was equally stretched and it took a fine save from Nathan Baxter to keep out an effort from Rob Street, who had another sight of goal after Tom Bradbury and Tom Pett had also gone close from one of several Town corners.
The open nature of the contest was illustrated when Randell Williams then released Adeboyejo with a ball over the top which the Wanderers’ front man couldn’t capitalise on.
But next time he was given a sight of goal he made no mistake to put Wanderers ahead mid-way through the half.
A long ball from the back from Ricardo Almeida Santos was headed clear but Adeboyejo pounced to pick the pocket of Tom Bradbury and then drive into the box before calmly slotting the ball past Southwood.
Wanderers needed that to bring a measure of calm and a couple of minutes later it could have been 2-0 but from Dacres-Cogley’s driven ball across the face of goal, Charles couldn’t get the touch that would have found the back of the net as Southwood just got there first.
Cheltenham then survived another goalmouth scramble triggered by Dacres-Cogley when an effort from Charles was blocked by the raised arm of Bradbury en route to goal and with nothing given, the visitors would have gone into the break level but for another important block from Baxter to keep out George Lloyd’s close-range effort.
Lloyd then did have the ball in the net 10 minutes into the second half but saw the effort disallowed for off-side against on of his team-mates.
Wanderers needed to relieve the pressure and a run from Randell Williams – back in the side along with Paris Maghoma – did that as he picked out Dacres-Cogley for a well-struck effort blocked in front of goal by Lewis Freestone.
There were few other opportunities for the second goal that would have eased any anxiety.
But at the other end Baxter made one further save to keep out an effort from substitute Aidan Keena and Wanderers’ determination to complete the shut-out and get over the line was summed up by superb blocks from Santos and Eoin Toal in injury time as Ian Evatt’s men stood up to be counted.
Wanderers: Baxter; Toal, Almeida-Santos, Iredale; Sheehan; Dacres-Cogley, Maghoma (Dempsey 75), Thomason, Williams (Ashworth 88); Charles (Bodvarsson 75), Adeboyejo (Jerome 80). Substitutes: Coleman, Morley, Matheson.
Cheltenham Town: Southwood; Long, Davies, Bradbury (Butler-Oyedeji 68), Freestone, Ferry; Pett, Bonds; Sercombe (Harrop 77); Street (Keena 68), Lloyd. Substitutes: Pardington; Williams, Thompson, Smith.
Booked: Bradbury, Harrop
Referee: Benjamin Speedie
Attendance: 19,309 (152)