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22 December 2018 Venue The County Ground Attendance

Kick off 15:00 (UK)

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English Football League - League Two

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Match Previews

PREVIEW: CHELTENHAM (H)

20 December 2018

Swindon Town can beat their best run of home form this season with a win against Cheltenham at the Energy Check County Ground.

Town had not won two in a row at home since August until Kaiyne Woolery’s goal sealed victory over Newport County two weeks ago – Town now have the chance to win three home games in a row for the first time since the turn of 2017 to 2018.

The run of victories at home would take them one step closer to the five wins on the bounce at SN1 that started on New Year’s Eve 2017.

Richie Wellens’ team will be looking to bounce back from a 2-1 defeat against Grimsby last weekend – a result that was tough to take for the team who had the lion’s share of chances on a horrible day in Cleethorpes.

The Oppo

An uplift in form since the end of October has seen Cheltenham Town lift themselves out of the League Two relegation zone. The Robins recently enjoyed an important seven match unbeaten run in league and cup with signs beginning to show that new manager Michael Duff’s ideas and work on the training ground has been starting to click.

Duff was appointed Cheltenham boss midway through September after Russ Milton’s caretaker stint following the departure of former manager Gary Johnson. Johnson had led the Robins to promotion from the Conference in 2016 though paid the price for a poor start to the season.

Returning to the club where he started his playing career, Duff is looking to make his mark in his first managerial role after departing Burnley where he was under-23s boss at Turf Moor. It was a slow start for the former Northern Ireland international defender, failing to register a win in his first eight outings in charge.

Back-to-back home league wins against Newport and Grimsby Town have helped improved Cheltenham’s position in the division, as did a vital 3-0 away success over Notts County, and they travel to the Energy Check County Ground ahead of a busy Christmas period that also features fixtures with high flying MK Dons and county rivals Forest Green Rovers.

Head-to-Head

03 Mar 2009       Swindon Town v Cheltenham Town         D             2-2          League One

13 Aug 2011        Cheltenham Town v Swindon Town          L              1-0          League Two

10 Mar 2012       Swindon Town v Cheltenham Town         W            1-0          League Two

08 Nov 2014        Cheltenham Town v Swindon Town          L              5-0          FA Cup

07 Oct 2017         Cheltenham Town v Swindon Town          L              2-1          League Two

10 Mar 2018       Swindon Town v Cheltenham Town         L              0-3          League Two

The Gaffer

Cheltenham’s Town most successful youth product returned to where it all began in September when he was appointed as the club’s new manager.

A central defender or right back who made over 600 career appearances, Michael Duff has progressed from life as a youngster in non-league football at Cheltenham, to a career spent playing in the Premier League for Burnley, where he earned legendary status at Turf Moor.

Duff made over 300 appearances in a lengthy stay at Cheltenham at the beginning of his career which saw him help the club gain promotion to the Football League – scoring the winning goal that sealed the Robins promotion to League football.

His stand out form in Gloucestershire caught the eye of clubs from a higher level, and in the summer of 2004 he joined Burnley and again went on to enjoy a highly regarded and lengthy spell.

It was also towards the end of his time at Cheltenham and through his time at Burnley that he gained international honours. In total he made 24 appearances for Northern Ireland – the country of his birth having been born in Belfast.

When his playing days came to an end after helping Burnley regain promotion to the Premier League, he was appointed to the coaching staff in the Academy set-up, eventually going on to become under-23s manager.

It was a position he held until the Cheltenham role became available in the early part of the season, and he was announced as Gary Johnson’s replacement, returning to Cheltenham to take on his first managerial role in the game.

Festive Fun

The clearing behind the Don Rogers Stand will be the venue for the predominance of activities with fans of all ages able to enjoy some festive fun from 12:00 on the day.

In the list of activities, Santa’s Grotto is making an appearance with families able to meet and ask Santa to see whether they’re on the naughty or nice list this year.

On the green behind the stand, a giant inflatable snowglobe bouncy castle is being put up to create a really friendly atmosphere for our festive fixture. Families can also enjoy food stalls, and much, much more on the day.

In the club shop, anyone looking for a last-minute Christmas present can purchase anything from Christmas jumpers and t-shirts to baubles, calendars and Toblerone bars!

You can still get your tickets for the game here.

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Match Reports

REPORT: SWINDON TOWN 0-0 CHELTENHAM TOWN

22 December 2018

Swindon were denied a third successive home victory by Cheltenhm as the two Robins cancelled each other out at the County Ground in the final game at home in 2018.

Both sides had spells of pressure but no reward as it ended goalless in a relatively dull affair at SN1. 

First Half

The opening exchanges were tight with neither side showing their hand.

The only chance of the first ten minutes came from a Matty Taylor set-piece – he curled in a corner to the back post but Ellis Iandolo couldn’t react quick enough to a flick-on and didn’t make contact with the ball.

On 14 minutes, Town opened up for the first time – Luke Woolfenden found a crisp pass into Scott Twine but the forward’s shot flew over with Scott Flinders off his line.

The main chances fell to Swindon despite the visitors edging the battle of possession – but as Cheltenham moved the ball the home side picked their moments to press.

Doughty slid in to win the ball, Twine picked it up and played the midfielder in – Doughty’s shot was deflected away.

And Town’s top goalscorer was doing his duty at the other end 15 minutes later – the Robins, in yellow, worked a short corner to Jordon Forster but Doughty read it and flew in to block the centre-back’s shot.

The half’s only other shot fell to Elijah Adebayo who had his point-blank effort blocked by Chris Hussey ten minutes from the end of the half.

Second Half

Matty Taylor almost recreated his heroics from last week with a free-kick from just outside the box – he shaped to go over the wall but drilled it round but Flinders was equal to it.

It was Swindon’s pace up front that looked most likely to break the deadlock – both Kaiyne Woolery and Adebayo beat their men out wide. Woolery’s attempt was thwarted by Flinders diving at his feet before Adebayo’s cross found James Dunne - but the midfielder couldn’t get his leg round the ball to guide it on target.

The closest the visitors came was actually via Swindon’s Dunne – a long throw was put in and Dunne stretched to clear with his head but diverted towards his own goal. Fortunately, Lawrence Vigouroux managed to spring to his left and tip away.

Wooolery continued to cause problems for the Cheltenham back four with his jet heels – he found himself on the left and fizzed the ball into the box. Whether intentionally or not, his connection powered straight towards goal and the Robins stopper had to be alert to avoid a fluke goal.

Town’s best chance in the second half was from a corner – the ball fell to Luke Woolfenden on the six-yard line but, under pressure, he shanked his volley over the bar with ten minutes to go.

AS the fourth official’s went up showing four minutes added time, Woolery went for broke, driving past the visiting defenders and playing a ball across the face of goal. Adebayo was nearly there but couldn’t to the ball without Forster blocking his path to goal. The defender chucked his body in the way and he ball went clear meaning the final game at the County Ground in 2018 ended goalless.

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