Cheltenham Town gained an invaluable away victory as they emerged 2-0 victors over Northampton Town in the first leg of their Skybet League Two playoff semifinal thanks to a brace by Charlie Raglan in the 30th minute and Conor Thomas three minutes before time.
Robins gain the edge through Raglan Thomas
Northampton dominated the early stages of the game, but missed a golden opportunity to go in front as Ryan Watson saw his 15th-minute penalty saved by Cheltenham goalkeeper Owen Evans.
The Robins took the lead on the half-hour mark when Raglan met Jake Doyle-Hayes' corner at the near post and headed past Cobblers goalkeeper Steve Arnold.
Two minutes before halftime, the hosts had an excellent chance to equalize, Vadaine Oliver's sharp angled shot was smartly saved by Evans, the last good chance that brought an entertaining first 45 minutes to a close.
Oliver and Scott Wharton went close to begin the second half for the Cobblers, but they were unable to find the equalizer they were so desperately after.
Cheltenham put the match to bed in the 87th minute as Sean Long's effort was deflected into the path of Thomas, who calmly slotted low past Arnold to put the Robin's in commanding position heading into Monday's second leg.