Football: Cheltenham Town 0 Rochdale 2 - Education for Robins

CHELTENHAM TOWN have come a long way in a very short time under Steve Cotterill.

Having guided them from the Dr Martens League through the Conference to the Third Division in just three seasons, the newest Nationwide League manager is shrewd enough to realise that the Robins might have become victims of their own swift success. Life with the big boys won't be easy for the new boys.

"Previous winners of the Conference like Macclesfield, Barnet and Wycombe were all more established and better sides than us," said Cotterill after his side's debut defeat by Rochdale. "They had been at the top of non- League football for four or five years and they were better equipped for the Third Division than us. We'll get better, but I don't know how long it'll take."

Cotterill had warned in his programme notes that Cheltenham would lose matches "because somebody has come up with some brighter football and not because they are fitter than us" - and so it proved on Saturday.

His side lacked nothing in terms of commitment or passion but Rochdale were more confident and inventive on the ball. On the back of an impressive pre-season and with David Flitcroft and Jason Peake running the game from midfield, the visitors soon carved out a series of openings.

Graham Atkinson, Andy Morris and Tony Ford all went close before Morris and Graham Lancashire combined to set up Atkinson, who rifled in a shot from just inside the area in the 26th minute. After David Bayliss had hit a post, Atkinson whipped passed Anthony Griffin, one of Cheltenham's four new signings, on the Rochdale left to cross for Ford to head home three minutes before the break.

With Cheltenham failing to capitalise on their extra man in midfield, Neil Grayson and Dale Watkins received a limited service up front and Grayson spurned the best chance of making history when he shot wide in first-half injury-time as the club's first Football League goal beckoned.

The second-half saw Cheltenham revert to 4-4-2 and midfield parity but, although the new formation led to an improvement, Rochdale were simply content to sit on their lead.

After 107 years, Cheltenham Town have finally made it to the Football League. Their refurbished Whaddon Road ground is a credit to the club and although the newcomers were by no means disgraced on their debut, a lot of hard work lies ahead - most of it in the head.

Goals: Atkinson (26) 0-1; Ford (42) 0-2.

Cheltenham Town (3-5-2): Book; Freeman, Banks, Brough (Howarth, 79); Griffin, Bloomer (Devaney, 75), Yates, Howells, Victory; Grayson, Watkins (McCauley, 67). Substitutes not used: Higgs (gk), Jackson.

Rochdale (4-4-2): Edwards; Evans, Bayliss, Hill, Stokes; Ford, Flitcroft, Peake, Atkinson; Morris (Platt, 87), Lancashire (Holt, 87). Substitutes not used: Priestley (gk), Carden, Jones.

Referee: P Taylor (Hertfordshire). Bookings: Rochdale: Hill, Lancashire, Platt.

Man of the match: Peake.

Attendance: 5,189.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
tech
News
The 67P/CG comet as seen from the Philae lander
scienceThe most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Arts and Entertainment
Ian McKellen as Gandalf in The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies
film
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Koenig, creator of popular podcast Serial, which is to be broadcast by the BBC
tvReview: The secret to the programme's success is that it allows its audience to play detective
News
Ruby Wax has previously written about her mental health problems in her book Sane New World
people
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives - OTE £60,000

£25000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about Custom...

Recruitment Genius: Care Workers Required - The London Borough of Bromley

£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This homecare agency is based in Beckenh...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives - OTE £50,000

£25000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about Custom...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives - OTE £50,000

£25000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about Custom...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas