Match Preview - Cheltenham Town

Image result for cheltenham town fc
Nicknames (s) : The Robins
Current League Position : 21st (P 9, W 2, D2, L5, GS 9, GA 13, 8PTS)
Form : D-W-L-D-L

The Gaffer

Experienced Manager Gary Johnson seems to have been around forever. He first rose to prominence by guiding Yeovil into the Football League back in 2003 and has enjoyed sporadic successful spells ever since. He won what is now League Two with Yeovil back in 2004, then with his next club Bristol City was a game away from taking the club from League One to the Premier League in successive seasons. In recent times, he also took Yeovil into the Championship and returned current club Cheltenham to League Two at the first time of asking. The Robins return to the fourth tier coincided with health issues for Johnson, but he reassures fans he is fit and raring to go for the current campaign. It's not been the best of starts but there have been signs in recent weeks that things may be picking up, and if there's anything Johnson has proved over the years, it's that he knows how to overachieve.

Gary Johnson's Managerial Record (Cheltenham) : P125, W51, D31, L43, 41%


Seven of the nine goals Cheltenham have notched this season have come in the first half, and the same number have also been scored in home games. They seem most dangerous when crossing the ball and getting bodies into the box around six yards from goal. Carl Winchester down the right is a particular threat, as are the searching runs Kevin Dawson makes into the area when awaiting a delivery. 

The main danger man is top scorer Mohamed Eisa, picked up from the Ryman League after 57 goals in two seasons, following a successful summer trial. Perhaps like Mansfield's own Omari Sterling-James, Eisa was expected to be on the fringes of the first team and introduced gently to the Football League, however after impressing in pre-season he has been in the line up ever since and notched four goals along the way.


The obvious weakness is that Cheltenham have only won two of their nine games so far, both at home against Crawley (17th) and Colchester (20th) respectively. That said, they did better the Stags result against Accrington by earning a 1-1 draw away from home on Saturday, and were slightly unlucky not to come away with maximum points, so confidence will be at a season high.

Defensively, despite tightening up in recent weeks, Cheltenham are susceptible to deliveries into the box, often conceding close range finishes from second balls dropping loose within the area. They have also conceded from two penalties, which Mansfield have been more than adept at 'winning' this season (six).

It may be the perfect game for Jacob Mellis to play in, with the Cheltenham pitch much improved on previous seasons, and with the home side being vulnerable to though balls as displayed by both Accrington and Exeter.

Finally, it would seem Cheltenham have an issue with concentration, with eight of thirteen goals conceded coming in the last fifteen minutes of each half.


Goals/Shots Attempted (for) : 9/114 (43 on target)
Average Shots per Game : 13
Average Shots on Target per game : 5
Goals/Shots Attempted (against) : 13/86 (43 on target)
Average Shots per Game : 9
Average Shots on Target per game : 5
Goal Periods (for) :       0-15mins 4 goals 16-30mins 0 goals 31-45mins 3 goal 46-60mins 1 goal 61-75mins 0 goals 76-90mins 1 goal
Goal Periods (against) : 0-15mins 1 goal 16-30mins 2 goals 31-45mins 4 goals 46-60mins 1 goal 61-75mins 0 goals 76-90mins 4 goals
Average Corners per Game (for) :  5
Average Corners per game (against) : 4
Average Possession : 51%


This could be a potential banana skin for the Stags and it is all set up to be a very close game, the last four games between the two sides ending in draws. That said, three of the four top half sides who have faced Cheltenham have managed to prevail by the odd goal, and therefore my prediction is a 1-0 win to the Stags, with a scrappy goal from a set piece.