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Darrell Clarke urges Cheltenham fans to get behind team in bid to stay up

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 23 Apr 2024

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Darrell Clarke has called for Cheltenham’s fans to travel in numbers as they bid to escape the drop in League One with a final-day win at Stevenage.

Tuesday’s 2-0 home victory over Peterborough kept their hopes alive, sealed by first-half goals from Joe Nuttall and Matty Taylor, leaving them two points behind Burton.

They must win at Stevenage and hope Burton fail to beat Fleetwood and or Cambridge lose to Port Vale.

“I thought the boys were magnificent tonight and we needed to be,” Clarke said.

“Now, we take it to the last game of the season. It was a really good atmosphere tonight and the fans were great so hopefully we can get as many of them as possible down to Stevenage and fill the away end because we need everybody there trying to cheer us on for a win.

“When I came in we had one point and no goals, so of course I would have snapped your hand off for this position with one game left, with 44 points.

“The lads have been magnificent over a period of time and there is a real togetherness in the group, even when we took a lot of knocks recently.

“We have bounced back and found that really good performance. We need to find that last really good performance in the last game of the season.”

With their play-off spot already secured, Posh boss Darren Ferguson rested a host of regulars, making seven changes.

And his youthful side were blown away in the first half by the Robins, who knew anything other than a win meant relegation with one game to play.

Nuttall reacted quickest to bundle the ball over the line from close range after goalkeeper Nicholas Bilokapic could only parry Liam Sercombe’s shot in the 11th minute.

The lead was doubled 10 minutes later when Taylor brought down a ball forward from Lewis Freestone and applied an expert finish.

Taylor crashed a shot against the post in the 32nd minute after Liam Kinsella’s pass and Elliott Bonds forced Bilokapic into a smart save two minutes later.

Posh threatened through Ricky-Jade Jones before half-time, but they were second best and Taylor and Bonds both forced Bilokapic into evasive action in the second half.

At the other end, Luke Southwood parried Jonson Clarke-Harris’ shot in the 58th minute and kept out a late header from the centre forward.

Ferguson admitted his team struggled from the first whistle.

“They got on top of us and we couldn’t sustain any sort of control,” he said.

“The goals were terrible goals to give away, you can’t give goals away like that.

“We spoke about the first 20 minutes before we left the hotel – we had to see that through and try and make sure we dealt with them because we knew they’d be straight down our throats and they were and we conceded two soft goals.

“There were certain things we worked on that we didn’t do well enough, but the goals were poor and you can’t give goals away like that, especially tonight because they got so much energy from it.

“The longer the game went on and they hadn’t scored, the more chances we were going to get. We knew we had pace in behind and I have to say we had five or six very good opportunities as well.

“Congratulations to Cheltenham, they go into Saturday still with a chance of staying up.”

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