Cheltenham 3 v 0 Millers - Report
The Millers were defeated 3-0 by fellow promotion hopefuls Cheltenham Town in difficult conditions at Whaddon Road.
First half goals from Jermaine McGlashan and Marlon Pack established the lead for Mark Yates’ side before Steve Elliott capped the scoreline with his strike five minutes from time.
Steve Evans made one change to the team that managed a 2-2 draw at Wycombe Wanderers in midweek, with Craig Morgan returning to the heart of the defence to make his first appearance since the two sides met at New York Stadium in November.
Morgan’s inclusion meant Dale Tonge assumed a place on the bench, leaving captain Johnny Mullins to fill the void at right back.
Meanwhile, Cheltenham boss Mark Yates honoured the gentleman’s agreement between the two managers by leaving former Millers midfielder Jason Taylor out of the squad, following his move to Whaddon Road in January.
The hosts almost made an ideal start to the game when Sam Deering found himself in behind the Millers’ defence inside the first minute, only to be denied a good chance of the opener by an excellent saving challenge by Mullins.
Yates’ side threatened again when McGlashan raced onto a Michael Hector through ball only to see his centre turned behind by Claude Davis with Paul Benson lurking in the area.
The Millers first real chance arrived on 13 minutes when Lee Frecklington unleashed a fierce effort from 30 yards, which looked destined for the top corner before the intervention of Scott Brown who tipped the ball over the crossbar.
The Robins came within inches of taking the lead after McGlashan’s run and pass found an unmarked Pack on the edge of the area, whose effort cannoned back off Andy Warrington’s post an away from danger.
The hosts continued to apply the pressure and almost opened the scoring when a hopeful long ball drew Warrington from his area, before Benson collected the goalkeeper’s weak clearance and lobbed an effort goalwards that crept just wide of the post.
Shouts for a penalty from erupted from the away end as the after Frecklington went down in the area having latched onto an Alex Revell through ball, but the Millers’ protests were waved away by referee Darren Deadman as the game approached the half-hour mark.
However, the deadlock was broken in spectacular fashion when Kaid Mohamed’s cross from the left found McGlashan unmarked at the back post, who lashed his powerful volley into the far corner of Warrington’s goal to give Cheltenham the lead.
Yates’ side persisted to threaten from the flanks and almost doubled their advantage when Benson flung his body at a Billy Jones cross, only to see the ball evade his outstretched leg in the six yard box.
The Robins did get a second moments later from that same left-side and it was the influential Mohamed who again provided the assist. The pacey winger reached the byline before his cut back was casually stroked into the bottom corner from the edge of the area by Marlon Pack.
Half-time: Cheltenham Town 2 v 0 Millers
Sido Jombati had an excellent chance to extend the hosts’ lead immediately after the break when a Cheltenham corner caused confusion in the box, which led to the ball eventually falling for the full-back who skewed his effort well over the crossbar from ten yards.
Millers boss Evans introduced Daniel Kearns at half-time in place of David Noble in an attempt to add some flair to the attack and the winger almost made an instant impact, just missing out on making contact on a teasing Ben Pringle cross at the back post as the visitors surged forward.
Cheltenham did have the ball in the back of the net for a third time after Benson calmly dispatched his shot beyond Warrington on 61 minutes, but was greeted by the linesman’s flag as he wheeled away to celebrate.
The Millers continued to press but were denied any notable chances by a resilient Robins’ back line. A speculative Frecklington half-volley from 25 yards served as one of their best opportunities of the game, but the midfielder failed to trouble Brown in the Cheltenham goal.
Cheltenham substitute Byron Harrison would’ve got his name on the scoresheet minutes after his introduction had he not be denied by a superb save from Warrington, whose point blank save temporarily averted the danger for the visitors.
However, the resulting corner caused problems in the Millers defence allowing Elliott to smash home from close range, adding the gloss to the scoreline on 84 minutes.
The Millers were defiant despite the deficit and continued to search for a goal, coming close through Nardiello following a driving run and shot, which was well saved by Brown at his near post three minutes from time.
Full-time: Cheltenham Town 3 – 0 Millers
Attendance: 3,241 (650 Away)
Millers: Warrington, Mullins ©, Davis, Morgan, Ridehalgh, Noble (Kearns HT), O’Connor, Pringle (Agard 79), Frecklington, Nardiello, Revell (Odejayi 56).
Unused: Shearer, Tonge, Rowe.
Cheltenham Town: Brown, Jones, Elliott, Pack, Deering, McGlashan (Duffy 92), Penn ©, Benson (Harrison 78), Jombati, Mohamed (Carter 88), Hector.
Unused: Lowe, Roberts, Harrad, Hanks.