Smith helps Cheltenham get closer to Wembley
Substitute Jonté Smith took a huge step towards making his Wembley Stadium debut when he helped Cheltenham Town to a 2-0 win away to Northampton Town yesterday in the first leg of the Sky Bet League Two play-off semi-finals.
The 25-year-old Bermudian arrived on the pitch at Sixfields Stadium in the 74th minute with his side one to the good, and did not take long to make a lasting impact.
A jinking run from the left with four minutes of normal time remaining carried him into the box and his resultant shot made its way to Conor Thomas, who finished with aplomb.
It was a hammer blow for Northampton, who had chased the game from the 26th minute, when Charlie Raglan netted with a glancing header at the near post from a corner.
Cheltenham had earlier rode their luck and would have gone behind but for a splendid penalty save by Owen Evans in the 20th minute.
The second leg will be on Monday and Cheltenham, who are unbeaten against Northampton in their past five meetings, will fancy their chances of a Wembley final against either Exeter City or Colchester United, who hold a 1-0 lead after yesterday’s early kick-off.
This was the teams’ first competitive action since football was stopped globally because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Cheltenham, who were fifth at the time of the enforced break, had their final position amended to fourth on average points per game when the Football League determined the league season could not be completed.
It meant the Gloucestershire side would be pitted against the seventh-placed team in the play-offs and gain home advantage.
They won the season series against Colchester, claiming four points out of a possible six, but failed to score against Exeter in two matches, losing one.
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