Yates satisfied with draw
Sat, 23 Mar 2013 20:05:00
Switzerland missed the chance to build a dominant lead in World Cup qualifying Group E after a 0-0 draw in Cyprus.
Ottmar Hitzfeld's men pulled two points clear of second-placed Iceland but they would be enjoying a four-point cushion had Haris Seferovic scored in second half stoppage time.
Cyprus, meanwhile, move off the bottom and above Slovenia thanks to a point earned from an impressive display in which Dimitris Christofi twice went dangerously close.
Gokhan Inler warmed Antonis Georgallides' palms first but it was Cyprus who would dominate the early exchanges.
Compact football allowed Christos Theophilou in for a free header before Konstantinos Charalambidis blasted just past a post.
Xherdan Shaqiri then spurned a clear chance and the Swiss were nearly punished when Yann Sommer tipped Christofi's drive to safety. Konstantinos Makridis came even closer when he hit the upright in the 33rd minute.
Cyprus pressed on after the break and Sommer did well to push another Christofi thunderbolt over his crossbar. Shaqiri then repeated the trick at the other end with Georgallides equally wise to the move.
Both sides enjoyed late chances to score a winner, with Georgios Efrem's dipping drive being held by Sommer three minutes from time.
Then, seven minutes into time added on, Seferovic nodded the ball just off target from six yards out.
In difficult conditions due to the falling snow, neither side were able to break the deadlock but the 0-0 scoreline was viewed positively Yates.
The visitors went closest to winning it as Kaid Mohamed crashed a shot against a post after good work by Jermaine McGlashan shortly after the break.
Barnet's best moment fell to midfielder John Oster but he fired just wide of Scott Brown's goal.
Cheltenham fell to fifth in the table but moved a point closer to the top three, pleasing Yates.
He said: "I'm proud and pleased we haven't got beaten as this is a tough place to come and the conditions were difficult as well for both sides.
"We wanted to give our strikers a little bit more to work with and we did that in the last 20 minutes. I wanted us to make space in behind them and use the wings, and we did that for most of the game. We couldn't quite finish it off and as the game went on we got a bit bogged down with the pitch.
"We had to make a few changes as the game went on and that gave us a bit more of a threat in the wide areas.
"I felt a bit for the boys and the paying supporters as well because even though that could be an important point for us, it wasn't the most entertaining game to watch because of the weather and conditions."