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Archived News from March 2003

8th March 2003 23:21


Cheltenham Town manager Bobby Gould interviewed after the 3-1 win over Mansfield Town at Whaddon Road:

"It was lovely to see so many youngsters out there because it has been a long time since a team of that young age has performed out there for Cheltenham. As a manager you are always trying to be critical and analyse things. The one thing that was disappointing was the goal we gave away to let them back into it. But it was a great goal to finish it off at the end.

"I felt that Shane Higgs deserved an opportunity and the young man took it marvellously well. He's got good hands, he's good on crosses, a good shot stopper and he can distribute well. He's got all the tools in his armoury and I want competition. I told Steve Book yesterday that he has to fight for his place and that's what I'm trying to create here.

"John Brough emulated everything that this football club has been over many years and that's a club with a warm heart and a big spirit. He's got a good football brain and I'd love to play alongside him if I could get my legs back.

"We trained on the pitch here yesterday. We wouldn't normally do that but I thought we needed to get back to our own pitch and train on it so that we could be familiar with it. We have to make sure that the players are prepared as professionally as we can and we did that yesterday. We are doing things differently and we saw the reward this afternoon.

"The opportunity for the first goal came from some great football and the third goal was another excellent one. You have to play long at times and you have to play short at times and I thought we chose the right times today.

"We're going to enjoy this one because it's been a long time in coming after the last win against Tranmere. We can soak up the memories and make sure they register, then on Monday start preparing for Swindon. It will be a difficult game but we will be going there on the back of a 3-1 victory.

"On the whole the 90 minutes was a lot better. We've still got a lot of work to do and Higgsy had to make one great save so we have to eliminate some things and stop giving free-kicks away in certain areas."
... and report from http://www.electricrobin.com

Three Deserved Points But Still Bottom Of Table
By Andy
Just as you begin to think all is lost, the Robins put in a performance that had anything but relegation written all over it. Bobby Gould made some changes to the team and they paid off as Cheltenham picked up a welcome 3 points.
Well it took me by surprise! Naming Higgs as keeper smacked of desperation in the beginning, but the lad stood up and was counted as he put in a good performance making at least two great saves that a certain other keeper may not have got to.
David Bird was another inclusion, again the youngster performed every bit as good as a seasoned regular. Alsop of course was missing, the front line was made up of John Brough and Marvin Brown. Another surprise.
I know that it was only Mansfield, but it was a good, solid performance by the Robins, certainly the sort of performance that would keep the club in division two if the players could produce it every week, (except for Mark Yates who had a bit of a pig) The kids may well have added that new lease of life. In my opinion, Book and Alsop would not get back into the side even if they were both fit.
As usual, there was an early goal, but this week it was Cheltenham's turn to get it, barely 90 seconds had gone before Martin Devaney had the Robins in front. It was good vision from Brough that send Devaney away down the right hand side, he cut in, leaving new signing Adam Eaton in his wake and shot low. The keeper did well to get down and get a hand to the ball, but it still had enough power on it to take it over the line and make a majority of the piss poor crowd of 3,889 spill coffe down them if they were anything like me.
If anyone had any doubts about Higgs in the goals, he soon showed that he was capable of handling the pressure when he dived to make a very good save from the Stags top scorer Iyseden Christie.
Then he denied Liam Lawrence when he fired a shot in from 20 yards, Higgs had to be quick to dive at full stretch to keep Cheltenham in front, from that moment, you could see why Gould had put his confidence in him.
Finnigan had a shot saved from distance and Michael Duff just did enough to put Christie off his shot at the other end as he was about to pull the trigger.
On 38 minutes Cheltenham were further in front. Finnigan sent the young Marvin Brown on his way, he checked and clipped the ball past the keeper for 2-0 and accepted the applause from the Cheltenham faithful. Higgs had time to make one more save from Wayne Corden just before half time, but all in all the Robins looked good value for their 2-0 lead and they well deserved it.
Half Time - 2-0
As soon as the second half started, Brown could have repeated his goal from the first half when he latched onto a Devaney through ball, but this time he fired just over the bar.
Brown then had the Mansfield keeper to curse for not getting his second when he dived at full stretch to deny the youngster. A Finnigan corner resulted in Jamie Victory bundling the ball into the net, but the ref gave a fould for an infringement on the keeper.
The Mansfield keeper then blocked a shot from Grant McCann with his legs.
With ten minutes of normal time left, Damian Spencer came on to replace Brough who had worked tirelessly and the Cheltenham fans showed their appreciation with warming applause. But it was Mansfield who got the next goal, and a nice goal it was. Mansfield were awarded a free kick around 25 yards from goal, the wall was sent up but Liam Lawrence curled the ball around the wall and just out of reach of the diving Higgs. Not his fault, it would have beaten any keeper.
Mansfield senced an unlikely point and went forward in search of it, but Cheltenham wrapped up the points through Damien Spencer and it was a beauty. Yates managed to get the ball out to Bird who shot down the wing like a steam train, he put in a pin point cross for Spencer who burst into the area to powerfully head home for 3-1 and game over.
It was much, much better from Cheltenham, the only thing that spoiled the day was Northampton Town winning. The next couple of games should be very interesting.


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