FanZoner Luke Robinson was pleased Cheltenham showed they are true promotion candidates in February.
Cheltenham challenge not losing momentum
After a dicey start, Cheltenham Town countered to see off February in fine style.
On a run of just one win in five prior to visiting Dagenham a fortnight ago, the Robins now sit pretty on a 4 game unbeaten streak with 9 goals scored, two conceded, and 8 points contributing to an increasingly bold promotion push.
The backlash at Dag & Red was brutal, with a ruthless display banishing any fears of a continued form drought. The Essex club are floundering above the league trapdoor, and it showed in a listless performance which Cheltenham took full and gleeful advantage of in winning 5-0.
The following Tuesday night welcomed AFC Wimbledon to Whaddon Road, and while the Wombles left town with a well earned 0-0 draw, signs were there again that Cheltenham were clawing themselves back into shape. A 20 minutes spell of intense second half pressure particularly merited a winner, but Wimbledon scrapped hard for their point.
Burton were next up, and consequently a near seamless display which confirmed that Mark Yates' men are in this to the end, bitter or sweet. Inspired by the electric Jermaine McGlashan, the Robins were dominant and could realistically have scored many more. McGlashan himself missed four clear cut chances along with his goal, and tore through two hapless left backs with one substituted before half time and the other sent off.
In the midst of a busy week, Birmingham and England U21 keeper, Jack Butland, returned to the club after his hugely successful spell earlier in the season. While it's hard on regular number one, Scott Brown, there is undeniably something special about Butland. Just 18, he commands his area with the confidence of one ten years his senior, and backs up the talk with stunning reflexes and pin point distribution.
March saw the visit of Northampton, a side struggling on the league's underbelly, but showing signs of life under new boss, Aidy Boothroyd. Led by the physically impossible Adebayo Akinfenwa, the Cobblers surged in to deserved 2-0 half time lead. Cheltenham responded with a fighting second half display which, while continuing to lack real quality, yielded two late goals and stole a point.
The next month shapes up as undeniably season defining. Visits to automatic promotion rivals, Swindon, Shrewsbury and Southend follow in brutally quick succession, with wins critical and defeats ruinous.
Boss Mark Yates has called for 'no holding back' as May and the season's climax noses into view, and you feel he has it right. If Cheltenham are to shred the odds and win promotion this season, every last sinew and gulp of air has to be left on the pitch in the next 13 games.