An unlikely Rob Dickie hat-trick put paid to Chelmsford City’s challenge in this FA Trophy first round tie at the World of Smile Stadium.
The Reading loanee took his season tally to five with two headers and a late penalty here.
But the Robins had to come from behind to progress, conceding a 20th minute goal against plucky opponents.
The game was ultimately spoilt as a contest by the gusty conditions, but in the end the Robins successfully negotiated a tricky afternoon to progress to round two.
On the down side there was concern for both Billy Waters and Dickie, who both limped away from this one ahead of next weekend’s visit of Altrincham.
Gary Johnson will have to wait for the prognosis on the pair.
The manager rang the changes for the visit of the National League South side, making six in total to the side that saw off Chester City last weekend.
It was a side full of attacking intent despite the unfamiliar line-up.
In came Calum Kitscha, Jack Barthram, Asa Hall, James Rowe, James Dayton, Ryan Jennings and Andrija Novakovich to the side that ran out 3-1 winners seven days ago.
The Essex side started with the strong wind on their backs and were brighter in the opening exchanges, forcing an early save when former Robin Bagasan Graham whipped in a menacing cross from the right.
Luke Daley hit one over the target and despite a wide effort by James Dayton, it was Chelmsford that took full advantage of the gusty conditions to take a surprise 20th minute lead.
Graham sent in a searching throw from the left, Marvin Ekpiteta flicked it on and Billy Bracknell did the rest at the far post.
James Rowe was cautioned for a series of niggly fouls before seeing a 25 yarder come back off the left upright.
But he turned supplier a couple of minutes later to level the contest, delivering a free-kick from the left for Dickie to head home from close range.
It was harsh on the Essex side who had battled so well to preserve their lead up to that point.
Waters was withdrawn 12 minutes into the second half and was replaced by Danny Wright, who struck a fine effort from 20 yards with only his second touch of the match. Unfortunately for the striker, it fizzed past the post.
There was a professional debut for 16-year-old midfielder Luke Thomas, who's reportedly attracting interest from Championship clubs. He replaced Dayton with 19 minutes to play.
Cheltenham began to find their rhythm and finally got their noses in front 23 minutes from time, and again the same pairing provided the breakthrough.
Dayton was needlessly fouled out on the left, and Rowe sent it in for Dickie to head home his second of the afternoon.
He completed his hat-trick 11 minutes later, smashing home from the spot after Jennings was decked by Rory McAuley in the box.
Chelmsford were unlucky to not pull one back with seven minutes left when Bricknell struck the post from the edge of the box, and it fell nicely for Kitscha to gather.
But Dickie's fine afternoon was tainted in the final moments when the right back went down injured, blocking a shot, and looks likely to spend some time on the sidelines with an ankle injury.
CHELTENHAM TOWN (4-4-2): Kitscha; Barthram, Dickie, Downes (c), McLennan; Jennings, Rowe (Parslow 68), Hall, Dayton (Thomas 71); Novakovich, Waters (Wright 57) Subs not used: Phillips (Gk), Pell.
CHELMSFORD CITY (4-5-1): Brown; Daley (Green 83), McAuley, Marvin Ekpiteta, Girdlestone; Whichelow, Morgan (Thalassitis 71), Marlow, Hughes (c) (Sawyer 83), Graham; Bricknell. Subs not used: Marvel Ekpiteta, Pearce (Gk).
REFEREE: M Pottage
ATTENDANCE: 1,124 (70 from Chelmsford)