Oxford United 3-4 Cheltenham Town: Five things we learned as the Robins staged a stunning comeback at the Kassam Stadium

Cheltenham Town caused an upset by beating Oxford United 4-3 away from home in the Carabao Cup.

Gary Johnson’s side battled back from 3-1 down to level the tie at three goals each before exciting new signing Mohamed Eisa curled in a beauty to settle the match.

Here are five things we learned as Cheltenham booked their place in round two and secured a first win of the season.

The new look Robins finally give the supporters something to cheer about

Despite what was perceived to be a poor pre-season, Cheltenham Town have shown steady signs of improvement in each of their two competitive fixtures.

After the late defeat at Morecambe in their League Two opener on Saturday, few would have expected a positive result at the home of a team who have hopes of reaching the Championship this season.

3-1 down at the interval, the Robins must have been listening to the Madness record which was booming out of the PA system at half time because they certainly went one step beyond in the second half.

After fighting back to deservedly draw level in 90 minutes, Mohamed Eisa produced a moment of brilliance in extra time to win the game and send his side through to the Carabao Cup second round.

It was a fantastic night for the travelling supporters, who sang their hearts out all game.

With a potential tie against Premier League opposition possible in the next round, the fans may yet have more to shout about after the draw.

Oxford were outfought and outplayed

Cheltenham’s trio of central midfielders had a superb night in Oxford.

Kyle Storer and Nigel Atangana broke up play and tackled hard to retain possession on more than one occasion and Harry Pell helped change the game when he came on for the second 45.

But one man particularly stood out in the middle and that was Jerell Sellars.

The former Aston Villa product was a constant menace to the U’s and drew a number of fouls due to his fancy footwork and ability to squeeze out of tight situations.

Sellars really excelled when playing just behind the front two and was also not afraid to help out with the dirty work when tracking back and making challenges deep inside his own half.

In truth Cheltenham dominated the midfield which was a great achievement against higher placed opposition and surely provides optimism that one area is well stocked for Gary Johnson when he looks to add to his squad before the end of August.

Cheltenham prove that they can go the distance

At Morecambe and in nearly every single friendly this summer Gary Johnson’s side have performed in the first half but not the second.

But a spirited second half performance saved them from defeat against an Oxford team who didn’t really get out of second gear.

IMG_2304

The freekick that led to Mohamed Eisa’s opener

Mohamed Eisa, Harry Pell and Jordan Forster all had chances to net when attacking the ‘fence end’ but Danny Wright’s double was enough to force another half an hour of action.

Cheltenham have looked tired in the later stages of recent matches but managed to maintain a steady and consistent level of energy as a unit right the way through until the 120th minute against Pep Clotet’s men.

Gary Johnson looks to have found his double act

The gaffer has made it no secret that he is after another striker this summer.

Dan Holman started instead of Danny Wright but was unable to influence the game and was eventually replaced by the 32-year-old at the Kassam.

With Mo Eisa looking sharp after heading in the opener and already netting prolifically in pre-season as well as on his EFL debut, Wright showed exactly why he is currently the best partner for the former non-league hot shot.

The experienced number nine demonstrated good hold up play and like Eisa, scored a brace, surely cementing his place alongside the 22-year-old for the time being.

The pace and flair of Eisa compliments Wright’s target man stature and it is likely both will start against Crawley at the weekend.

As for Holman, everyone at the club is desperate for the National League title winning hero to rediscover his fine form but with another front man on the way his position could be under threat in the coming weeks.

Cut out the individual errors and this team will thrive

A catalogue of defensive errors saw Cheltenham ship 14 goals in pre-season and poor defending allowed Garry Thompson to steal in and grab the winner for Morecambe last Saturday.

Despite going ahead, a poorly timed challenge from the otherwise excellent Kyle Storer lead to the Oxford equaliser from the spot.

IMG_2306.JPG

Marvin Johnson prepares to take his penalty which he scores at the second attempt

A weak header back to goalkeeper Jon Flatt was then punished by Jonathan Obika to give the hosts a 2-1 lead within minutes, even without many clear cut chances created by themselves.

The Robins have to cut out these avoidable errors if they are to climb League Two and stop conceding so many goals but the second half display from the back five was encouraging enough.

Jordan Cranston had another good game after an improved cameo versus the Shrimps and delivered an excellent cross to set up Danny Wright’s first goal.

 

The left back is so far answering his critics and succeeding in his mission to win over some supporters and long may that continue.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s