Darrell Clarke insists Cheltenham need to keep their standards high

By Sports Desk November 11, 2023

Darrell Clarke says his Cheltenham team must maintain the standards shown in their 1-1 draw with Wigan if they are to give themselves a fighting chance of survival in League One.

The Robins recovered from falling behind to an early own goal to level through Liam Sercombe’s penalty and then push for a winner.

Wigan missed a second-half penalty, but Clarke felt it would have been a travesty if his team had not picked up at least a point.

“We started quite slowly for 15 minutes, but after that we were very good and that looked more like a Darrell Clarke team today,” said Clarke, whose side are eight points from safety.

“The fans appreciated it and we appreciated the support they gave us. They were outstanding in getting behind the team.

“They’ve seen a team there that wanted to give everything for the shirt. We got the press right at times and we made a very good technical team go long at times.

“We have done a lot of work to try and do that, get in their faces and we caused many problems. We’ve set a standard today and we don’t want to dip below that now.”

Wigan started well, with Lewis Freestone turning Jordan Jones’ low cross into his own net in the sixth minute after good work from Stephen Humphrys.

It was nearly 2-0 when Martial Godo hit the post in the 12th minute, but Cheltenham then rallied.

Curtis Davies shot just wide and Curtis Thompson lifted an effort over the bar.

Will Goodwin was tripped in the box by Baba Adeeko and Sercombe converted from the penalty spot for his second of the campaign in the 32nd minute.

Cheltenham made the stronger start to the second half, with Goodwin hitting the post after Davies’ flick-on from Luke Southwood’s free-kick.

Humphrys had the chance to win it for Wigan in the 64th minute, but his weak spot-kick was comfortably gathered by Southwood.

Cheltenham held on for a fully deserved share of the spoils, with Davies forcing a diving save from Sam Tickle in the 71st minute.

Wigan boss Shaun Maloney said he could not fault his players’ efforts.

“For the first 20 minutes I was really pleased,” he said.

“We created enough chances to be further ahead. It didn’t feel like a tactical game, it felt more of a battle. We came up with defensive solutions and it’s a point gained.

“In terms of missing the penalty, Stephen’s been so good for us this year. It’s one of those things. He’s been brilliant for us.

“We maybe have to find ways of controlling the game a little more, but I can’t say a negative thing about the players. They battled until the very last minute.

“The players have been very, very good, but I need more. Our mentality has to be the same as today after the international break.”

Related items

  • Darren Moore admits draw is ‘difficult to take’ after Fleetwood late show Darren Moore admits draw is ‘difficult to take’ after Fleetwood late show

    Darren Moore admitted he did not see Port Vale’s late collapse coming as substitute Jayden Stockley struck twice to earn Fleetwood a 2-2 draw.

    First-half goals from Jensen Weir and Ethan Chislett put the Valiants in control and Moore within striking distance of a first victory since replacing Andy Crosby.

    Instead, fellow strugglers Fleetwood were transformed in the second half.

    But it was not until the 88th minute and second minute of stoppage time when super-sub Stockley grabbed his goals.

    “It’s a difficult one to take,” admitted Moore, who is now without a win in four games since taking charge. “We feel it is definitely two points dropped from the position we were in.

    “But it stops the rot of those consecutive defeats.

    “We, as Port Vale, have to get over the adversity that went against us. We took a backward step and weren’t able to see out the last seven or eight minutes.

    “The challenge we face is stopping the rot in getting this team performing and getting the feeling of adulation back.

    “The players are giving everything to the cause. They are unfortunate that any little mistake is getting punished.

    “At the moment it feels like Port Vale have to have almost the perfect game to get over the line.

    “The concentration levels have got to be spot on. We didn’t see that result coming in the latter parts.

    “We just had to do our jobs, but it comes down to lapses of concentration and we get punished.”

    Both sides remain in the bottom four but Fleetwood boss Charlie Adam left Vale Park the happier man.

    “When I walked in the building two months ago I said to the players ‘I need you to represent what this town is all about: hard work, dedication and be proud to wear the jersey’.

    “They gave me that in abundance in the second half. There only looked one team who was going to win the game.

    “We dominated the second half and we had enough crosses and shots to win two or three games.

    “I felt the subs would make a big impact, and they did.

    “But that’s why you have a squad and a togetherness and that’s why I’m proud to be Fleetwood manager.

    “They gave me everything and it’s important we use that for our games during the rest of the season.”

  • Matt Bloomfield hails Wycombe’s resilience in win over Cheltenham Matt Bloomfield hails Wycombe’s resilience in win over Cheltenham

    Wycombe manager Matt Bloomfield praised his players for not letting their heads drop after being thwarted on a number of occasions before two late goals gave them a 2-0 victory over Cheltenham.

    The Chairboys ended February the way they started it by defeating the struggling Robins, but they were frustrated for 86 minutes by a terrific performance by Cheltenham goalkeeper Luke Southwood.

    Eventually, goals from Joe Low and Beryly Lubala gave them a first win in four games in League One and condemned the visitors to a first defeat in five, leaving them three points adrift of safety.

    Bloomfield said: “I was really pleased with their resilience in terms of the disappointment of the penalty miss, which has happened at times this season, the disappointment of that not going in and then maybe a bit of edginess about the place.

    “I felt like Cheltenham’s substitutions gave them a bit of fresh energy and the gaps were getting a little bit too big between our units, so we had to try and bring fresh energy on ourselves.

    “So, for our boys to show that resilience, and I’ve said it a couple of times, they’ve had a lot to deal with this year in terms of late knocks, and bits and pieces.

    “Slowly but surely, the tide’s turning in our favour and that’s another clean sheet which we’ve got to be really pleased about – I’m really pleased for Franco [Ravizzoli] in goal, I thought he was excellent.”

    Southwood tipped Dale Taylor’s volley onto the bar in the first half and after the break kept out a Freddie Potts penalty before making another superb stop from Garath McCleary.

    But he was finally beaten when Low blasted in from close range from a McCleary corner before Lubala sealed the points with a stunning strike from distance into the top corner.

    Cheltenham boss Darrell Clarke said: “No complaints from me [about the result], we were miles off with our performance.

    “I thought all game we were miles off. We were searching for answers on the sideline, we never felt comfortable.

    “Wycombe were by miles the better team on the day and we got what we deserved: nothing.

    “I don’t want to be too critical of my boys, they’ve been excellent, but tonight we were nowhere near the standards and the level we needed to win a League One game, that’s for sure.

    “I don’t want to repeat myself but whenever we’re playing these games in the league, in the division we’re in, I can’t afford to have only two or three players be on the top of their game. I need nine or 10 players and tonight we didn’t have that. We need a reaction.”

  • Erik ten Hag has ‘strong belief’ that he has Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s backing Erik ten Hag has ‘strong belief’ that he has Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s backing

    Erik ten Hag insists he does not need a public vote of confidence from Sir Jim Ratcliffe.

    Speculation has been rife about the future of the Dutchman as Manchester United manager following investment in the club from Ratcliffe’s Ineos Group.

    A promising run of results ended with a poor performance in defeat against Fulham last weekend, putting the focus back on Ten Hag’s position.

    That will ratchet up again should United fail to beat Nottingham Forest on Wednesday in the FA Cup, which is their only remaining chance of silverware this season.

    Ten Hag said: “I’m here, I’m under contract for three seasons, so I don’t care. I’m only focusing on the process so I don’t care what’s going around me.

    “I have many talks with Jim Ratcliffe but especially also with Sir Dave Brailsford so I know what we are talking about. I have a strong belief and I feel that they believe in me.

    “I’m just focusing on the team and I have to find solutions for this team that they perform in the best way they can. It’s all about focusing on this and don’t get distracted by any noise.

    “We’re talking about the future, we’re talking about a future together.”

    Ten Hag’s tactics and recruitment have attracted criticism, with the performances of Brazil winger Antony particularly under the spotlight.

    The 24-year-old cost more than £80million when he followed Ten Hag from Ajax to Old Trafford in 2022 but he has been a peripheral figure this season, with his only goal coming against Newport in the FA Cup.

    Against Fulham, teenager Omari Forson started on the right and Amad Diallo was also sent on ahead of Antony, who only came off the bench in the 89th minute.

    Antony took a leave of absence earlier in the season to address allegations of domestic abuse in Brazil, which he denied, and Ten Hag believes that had an effect on his form.

    “Now he left this behind but for a moment in the season it had absolutely an impact on him and you could see in his performance, in his attitude,” said the United boss.

    “But now he’s back. Of course it affected him and the process is still going, now he has to turn the point and to bring his big potential again in.

    “You have to fight and you have to give every day the maximum. I see in the training he’s doing (that) so he will turn a corner.

    “When the issue was in Brazil, he came back and he wasn’t any more the person like he was before, and that did something with his belief.

    “One of the big skills from Antony is that he’s very brave. He has to find that back and that’s up to him. We will support him, absolutely all the staff, me as a manager. I have 100 per cent belief in him.”

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.