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Cheltenham to face Crewe at Wembley
Published : 17 May 2012 22:16:57
Cheltenham withstood heavy first-half pressure before goals from Jermaine McGlashan and Marlon Pack secured a 2-1 win at Torquay to confirm their place in the npower League Two play-off final.
Torquay substitute Taiwo Atieno gave Martin Ling's men brief hope by cancelling out McGlashan's goal, but Pack rifled home a magnificent 87th minute free-kick to secure a 4-1 aggregate triumph for Cheltenham.
Mark Yates' men travel to Wembley a week on Sunday to face a Crewe side unbeaten in their last 18 outings.
McGlashan was narrowly off target with a rasping 30-yard drive in the early stages before his side were forced to withstand a first-half onslaught.
Goalkeeper Scott Brown was the outstanding performer of the opening 45 minutes, and he got his night's work under way by tipping a Eunan O'Kane effort over following some deft footwork from the Torquay midfielder.
Cheltenham defender Keith Lowe fortuitously cleared via the post as he looked to hack clear from his own goalmouth and Brian Saah fired the loose ball wide. There was drama a minute before the interval as Torquay full-back Kevin Nicholson's sweetly struck free-kick rattled the crossbar with Brown rooted to the spot.
Cheltenham began the second half with greater purpose and Robert Olejnik gathered at the second attempt when McGlashan looked to clip home from an acute angle at the end of a mazy run.
O'Kane's 54th minute header looped up off Robins defender Alan Bennett to force Brown into another superb save, but it soon became clear that Torquay's early attacking verve had deserted them.
Kaid Mohamed hit a swerving shot over after a mazy run down the Torquay left by Robins full-back Sido Jombati before the decisive moment arrived in the 74th minute. Mohamed was allowed to ease infield after collecting Ben Burgess' pass and he played in McGlashan, who stabbed home via Olejnik's boot and the inside of the far post.
Atieno reduced the aggregate arrears when he was left unmarked to glance in a near-post header from O'Kane's 85th minute corner. However, Pack applied the gloss in memorable fashion when he found the top corner after Saah fouled Jeff Goulding.