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Cheltenham Town 1 Blues 0

Posted: Sat 28 Jul 2012
Author: Paddy Day

Marlon Pack challenges Peter Lovenkrands

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Match report from the Abbey Business Stadium

Blues stepped up their pre-season preparations with a stern workout at the Abbey Business Stadium.

Harry Hooman's early goal for Cheltenham Town settled proceedings in Gloucestershire, with both teams playing at a slow tempo in muggy conditions.

But after Tuesday night's victory over Shrewsbury Town, Lee Clark found plenty more positives to take from the latest outing.

He told "There was some great individual performances and I think we've showed we can move the ball around as well again and we've created lots of opportunities. We just have to up the quality in terms of the final third - getting that final pass, final cross, final shot. We need it to be of a higher quality to allow the strikers to get on the end of them (crosses)."

Looking at Scott Brown's stubborn performance in the Cheltenham goal, Clark added: "He's made four or five good saves and fair play to him, he's done extremely well. I think we could have been a more ruthless at times but we're still working on things and we'll continue to do that."

Blues deployed a 4-4-2 formation in the first-half as Peter Lovenkrands made his debut up front alongside Marlon King, whilst the decision to rest Steven Caldwell resulted in Pablo Ibanez accompanying Curtis Davies in the heart of defence.

Lovenkrands almost made an immediate impact in the second minute by tumbling in the box under pressure, but the referee waved play on.

The next decisive moment arrived through a Cheltenham opener on 12 minutes, when Hooman turned in Steve Elliott's miscued attempt past a sprawling Colin Doyle. 

The visitors noticeably stepped up their work rate during the remainder of the opening period, testing Robins 'keeper Scott Brown regularly. 

Lovenkrands' flicked header from Darren Ambrose's corner was tipped round the post by Brown, then the Dane fired a second header just inches over the bar.

With the Blues midfield and attack working in tandem, right-back Stephen Carr surged forward to force Brown into a couple of smart saves in the space of three minutes.

And shortly before the interval Curtis Davies couldn't quite direct his header on target from another teasing Ambrose cross.

With the start of the campaign inching ever nearer, Clark was keen to keep half-time substitutions at a minimum, with Morgaro Gomis and Nikola Zigic replacing Wade Elliott and Lovenkrands.

Zigic made an instant impression against a hesitant Robins defence, and the Serbian drew Brown into a save at the near post.

Despite the former Valencia striker performing a lively shift, chances were few and far between, however, King's last touch of the afternoon came courtesy of a shot on target.

The last 20 minutes became a fragmented affair as both outfits wielded the changes, but this allowed the large Blues travelling contingent to observe trialists Lee Naylor and club legend Darren Carter.

The duo will have the opportunity to push their cases forward further at Bury on Tuesday evening (kick-off 7.45pm).

Cheltenham Town: Scott Brown; Sido Jombati, Steve Elliott (Keith Lowe 72), Harry Hooman, Billy Jones (Danny Andrew 72); Jermaine McGlashan (Tristan Plummer 72), Marlon Pack, Sam Deering (Jordan Hibbert 83), Russell Penn (Joe Hanks 87), Kaid Mohamed; Jeff Goulding (Bagasan Goulding 78).

Subs not used: Dale Reaney, Alan Bennett, Danny Andrew.

Blues: Colin Doyle; Stephen Carr, Curtis Davies, Pablo Ibanez, David Murphy (Lee Naylor 63); Chris Burke (Nathan Redmond 63), Hayden Mullins (Darren Carter 71), Wade Elliott (Morgaro Gomis H/T), Darren Ambrose (Akwasi Asante 81); Marlon King (Adam Rooney 72), Peter Lovenkrands (Nikola Zigic H/T).

Subs not used: David Lucas, Mitch Hancox, Will Packwood, Jack Deaman, Jake Jervis.

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