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Kick off 15:00 (UK)

06 January 2024 Venue The Completely-Suzuki Stadium Attendance

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English Football League - League One

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Match Previews

Match Preview: Cheltenham v Pompey

All you need to know about League One contest

5 January 2024

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It was not too long ago that Cheltenham appeared to be dead certs for the drop after starting the season in dreadful fashion.

But they head into Saturday’s meeting with Pompey at Whaddon Road (3pm kick-off) sitting just three points adrift of the safety mark.

The Robins failed to win any of their opening 12 League One matches – and equalled an unwanted EFL record by not scoring a single goal in the first 11 of those.

Wade Elliott departed as boss towards the end of that wretched run and replacement Darrell Clarke slowly started to turn around the club’s form.

They collected seven points over Christmas to leave fans hopeful heading into the new year, but were narrowly beaten at Northampton in the first fixture of 2024.

Clarke clearly wants to put his own stamp on the squad now that the transfer window has opened, with six out of seven loan players heading back to their parent clubs.

It finished goalless when the sides met at Fratton Park back in August – a bizarre contest that saw two officials go off injured and a Pompey fan having to run the line.

But the Blues came out on top in their most recent visit to Whaddon Road, with Colby Bishop’s brace securing a 2-0 win last term.

Pompey are still without Tino Anjorin (hamstring), Josh Dockerill (knee), Connor Ogilvie (ankle), Regan Poole (knee) and Zak Swanson (groin).

The game will come too soon for Tom Lowery following his recovery from a calf problem, while Kusini Yengi is away with Australia at the AFC Asian Cup.

Cheltenham do not currently have any injuries, although are without an assistant manager after Adam Murray left to take charge of non-league Eastbourne Borough.

Read the thoughts of John Mousinho and Abu Kamara ahead of the game.

Pompey: 4 wins
Cheltenham: 1 win
7 draws

On the road
Pompey: 2 wins
Cheltenham: 1 win
3 draws

Pompey have sold their full allocation for this fixture, so please do not travel if you do not have a ticket.

Supporters collecting tickets should visit the away booth located outside the entrance to the Hazlewoods Stand.

You can click here to read a guide to visiting Whaddon Road, while members of Cheltenham’s supporter services group will be in front of the main entrance at around 1pm if you have any queries.

A bar for away fans is located in the car park of Whaddon Bowls Club, which is located outside the entrance to the Hazlewoods Stand turnstiles. Fans are also welcome inside the Robins Nest bar after the game. Please note that no alcohol can be purchased in the Hazlewoods Stand.

Referee: Simon Mather
Assistants: Adam Ricketts and Richard Morris
Fourth Official: Simon Shaw

Domestic iFollow subscribers can listen to live commentary from Andrew Moon and Guy Whittingham by signing into their account and visiting the match centre from around 2pm on Saturday.

Overseas subscribers and match pass holders can watch all the action live, with replays and accompanying commentary.

Click here for more information about using iFollow on a matchday and click here for information on downloading the app, so you can access content on your mobile device.

We will have key updates throughout the game on Twitter and a detailed blog via the match centre.

There will be post-match reaction on the website and our official YouTube channel, with highlights to follow on Sunday.

Local listeners can hear commentary by tuning in to either BBC Radio Solent or Express FM (not available online).

Games kick-off at 3pm unless stated

Fleetwood v Derby (12.30pm)
Burton v Wycombe
Exeter v Carlisle
Port Vale v Charlton


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Match Reports

Cheltenham 2 Pompey 1

Robins battle from behind to leave Blues beaten

6 January 2024

Abu Kamara in action for Pompey at Cheltenham Town
Photo: Jason Brown/Pro Sports Images

Pompey scored and then conceded twice in quick succession to slip to defeat against Cheltenham at Whaddon Road.

They shook off a couple of refereeing decisions that went against them before the break to take the lead through Tom Bradbury’s own-goal.

But Liam Sercombe hit a three-minute double to stun the Blues and they could not turn the late pressure they applied into an equaliser.

John Mousinho made one enforced change from the side that beat Stevenage on home soil on New Year’s Day.

Alex Robertson missed out through injury, so Gavin Whyte played in the central attacking role behind Colby Bishop.

But there was a welcome return to the bench for Tom Lowery, who had been sidelined since the opening day of the season.

Pompey looked to make early inroads and when Sean Raggett got on the end of Marlon Pack’s deep cross, Luke Southwood had to get down to make the save.

But the visitors were also guilty of some sloppy play, with Raggett and Joe Morrell having to make crucial blocks after possession had been lost.

It was the Blues who were the more dangerous side going forward, however, and it took a fine Curtis Davies challenge to stop Bishop making the most of Paddy Lane’s centre.

A stretching Pack could then not quite make a clean connection with Abu Kamara’s low cross, allowing Southwood to save.

Pompey continued to apply pressure as the half continued and there were further half-chances for Morrell and Raggett.

There were then a couple of huge moments that ensured referee Simon Mather was not the most popular man with the visitors.

First, Kamara nipped in front of Tom Pett and was sent to the turf. Whether it should have been a penalty was unclear, but the yellow card shown to the forward for simulation was harsh.

A few minutes later, the rampaging Kamara was fouled by Elliot Bonds, with Mather immediately blowing his whistle.

The problem was that the ball had run straight to Lane, who lashed it into the net, leaving Mousinho fuming on the sidelines.

Half Time: Cheltenham 0 Pompey 0

The Blues were immediately on the attack following the restart, with Kamara controlling the ball and playing it through to Lane, whose fierce strike was saved by Southwood.

And they soon took the lead after their opponents had failed to deal with a throw launched into the box by Pack.

The ball was eventually steered towards Bishop by Raggett, only for Robins defender BRADBURY to slice it into his own net.

There was jubilation from the travelling fans, but that evaporated when Cheltenham hit back with two goals in quick succession.

This time it was Pompey’s turn to be undone by a long Will Ferry throw and Sercombe lashed the ball home.

And the same player then took advantage with a fierce finish after Conor Shaughnessy had been caught in possession by George Lloyd.

The visitors looked to hit back and a diving Raggett could not quite make a connection after Whyte’s teasing cross had been sent back across the face of goal by Joe Rafferty.

Bishop then felt he was being impeded as he tried to convert Shaughnessy’s flick from another Pack throw.

Pompey were applying plenty of pressure in search of an equaliser, but their opponents were doing a good job of protecting Southwood’s goal.

Mousinho made an attacking change on 77 minutes, with Jack Sparkes withdrawn and Christian Saydee on to replace him.

The newcomer soon picked out Bishop with a fine delivery into the box, but the striker was off balance and Southwood was eventually able to grab hold of the ball.

With time running out, Anthony Scully replaced Whyte to add some fresh legs to the visitors’ forward line.

Pompey poured forward in the closing stages and were left furious when Mather again decided that Pett’s challenge on Scully was actually a dive and brandished a yellow card.

And the Robins managed to hold on during the closing stages to boost their chances of beating the drop.

Cheltenham (3-1-4-2): Southwood; Smith, Davies, Bradbury; Pett; Long (c), Sercombe (Thompson 65), Bonds, Williams (Ferry 31); Lloyd, Keena (Butler-Oyedeji 80)
Goals: Sercombe 51, 54
Booked: Ferry, Pett, Bradbury, Long
Subs not used: Pardington, Horton, Liggett, King

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Norris; Rafferty, Raggett, Shaughnessy, Sparkes (Saydee 77); Pack (c), Morrell; Kamara, Whyte (Scully 84), Lane; Bishop
Goals: Bradbury 49 (og)
Booked: Kamara, Bishop, Rafferty, Lane, Scully
Subs not used: Schofield, Towler, Lowery, Devlin, Martin

Referee: Simon Mather

Attendance: 5,561 (1,517 Pompey fans)

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