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Kick off 15:00 (UK)

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17 July 2021 Venue Attendance 530

Kick off 15:00 (UK)

Cheltenham Town FC
0 - 3
Birmingham City
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Match Previews

Preview: Birmingham City

16 July 2021

The preparations for Cheltenham Town's 2021/22 League One season take another step forward on Saturday with a home fixture against Championship side Birmingham City (kick-off: 3pm).

With the new season three weeks away a visit from the Blues is another excellent test for the squad as they build up to the new campaign in the third tier.

Saturday's game is also another special occasion for the Robins fans who will be back inside the Jonny-Rocks Stadium for the first time since they were last able to do so in December 2020.

Tickets for this weekend's fixture should be bought in advance. You can then pick your tickets up from one of the collection points in position upon arrival at the stadium. If you are buying on the day it is strongly recommended you arrive early to visit the ticket office.

The game is being played with covid-19 restrictions in place as it's taking place two days before restrictions are lifted. Therefore face masks must be worn, the capacity will be limited, no away supporters will be allowed and one-metre social distancing must be adhered to.

Opposition

Saturday's game will be Birmingham's first of their pre-season programme ahead of their Championship campaign.

Lee Bowyer is preparing for his first full season in charge as the former Premier League side's Head Coach having been appointed in March after leaving Charlton Athletic for St Andrew's.

As he looks to lead Birmingham into the higher reaches of the second tier he has been busy in the transfer market bringing in the likes of Tahith Chong and Juan Castillo on loan from Manchester United and Chelsea.

Forward Chuks Aneke has meanwhile also joined, while Jordan Graham has made the step up from League One Gillingham, with Ryan Woods moving from Championship counterparts Stoke City.

They've added to a squad that already includes former England under-21 international Gary Gardner, Republic of Ireland international Scott Hogan and attacker Sam Cosgrove, a January arrival from Scottish Premiership side Aberdeen.

Match information

There will no longer be any cash turnstiles at the Jonny Rocks Stadium. All ticket sales will be either in advance of the game (online or from the ticket office) or, if any tickets remain, from one of the ticket offices at the ground on the match day.

Ticket prices are £12 adults, £6 concessions in advance and £14 adults, £8 concessions on the match day.

Those supporters who have ordered online will be able to collect their tickets from a ticket collection point at the ground. Ticket sales points and ticket collection points will be open from 1.30pm (pictured).

All the normal home areas of the ground will be open but access to the Colin Farmer Stand will be via the turnstiles at the Whaddon Road/Wymans Road corner of the ground.

For more information about Saturday's match such as access to the car park, the club shop, Robins Nest bar and covid-19 restrictions please study our matchday guide.

Match programme

There is a 'three-in-one' match programme for all three of the club's home pre-season fixtures.

Available to buy around the stadium, it features interviews with Owen Evans, Ben Tozer, new Head of Commercial Operations Steve Hobin plus the thoughts of Michael Duff leading into the new season.

Coverage

Birmingham City are producing a live stream of the game. A match pass to view the full 90 minutes on their Blues TV channel is available for £4.99.

You can otherwise keep up to date with live updates on social media by following @CTFCofficial on Twitter as well as the club's Facebook page.

Post-match visit the club website to read a match report and to get reaction to the team's latest run out.

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Match Reports

Report: Robins 0-3 Birmingham City

17 July 2021

Cheltenham Town stepped up their pre-season preparations for League One against Championship side Birmingham City, as the visitors ran out 3-0 winners at the Jonny-Rocks Stadium.

This was the first time that the clubs had met since a friendly in 2018, with the scoreline the same as the Robins suffered their first defeat of pre-season courtesy of goals from Gary Gardner, Scott Hogan and Jonathan Leko.

Michael Duff named a strong first XI for the visit from their Championship opponents with plenty of youth team players to come on from the bench following opening friendly victories vs Southern League Division One South sides Cinderford Town and Evesham United.

Scott Flinders was forced into action three times in the opening two minutes as Blues started brightly in their first run out of the summer with Kristian Pedersen, Harlee Dean and Jeremie Bela testing the 35-year-old.

That bright start from Lee Bowyer’s side continued and they took a sixth minute lead when Gardner powered a header into the roof of the net from Ivan Sanchez’s corner.

The Robins responded very well to the early set back as Timmy Abraham was denied by a fine Matija Sarkic save from point blank range following George Lloyd’s lay-off.

From the resulting corner, Will Boyle had a towering header cleared off the line and Alfie May fired over during the next phase of play after an entertaining opening ten minutes.

The busy Flinders then made a fine stop to deny Lukas Jutkiewicz’s powerful header before George Lloyd was replaced by Felix Miles after 23 minutes for the hosts.

Jutkiewicz missed a big chance from just a few yards out after half an hour, scooping an effort onto the crossbar following a heavy deflection putting the ball into his path.

Bowyer’s men didn’t have to wait too long for their second, as Bela teased his way into the box and crossed for Republic of Ireland international Hogan to head in unopposed at the back post.

Abraham had the Robins’ next best opportunity before the interval, showing good pace to chase a long ball before cutting inside and firing an effort straight at Sarkic.

May stretched to reach a through ball at the start of the second period but Sarkic just beat him to it as the hosts sought for a way back in the scorching heat at the Jonny-Rocks Stadium.

The no.10 started a neat passage of play as the match approached the hour mark, finding Liam Sercombe on the edge of the penalty box, who exchanged passes with Sean Long before his outside of the boot effort was deflected wide.

Birmingham then made nine changes after 62 minutes and one of those in Leko, smashed over from close range following a burst down the left.

The visitors’ summer signing Jordan Graham then struck from range with a dipping strike that Flinders acrobatically tipped over the crossbar, as the experienced stopper continued to impress.

Duff used his entire bench with 14 minutes left to play, meaning that most of the team finishing the game were from the youth academy, gaining valuable experience against Championship opposition.

Leko then added a third for Blues with eight minutes remaining, turning in from a tight angle to squeeze past summer signing Owen Evans, who replaced Flinders.

Cheltenham take on National League North Kidderminster Harriers on Tuesday evening before facing another second-tier side in Coventry City next Saturday.

ROBINS: Flinders (GK) (Evans 76), Long (Hunt 76), Hussey (Harper 46), Raglan (Armitage 76), Freestone (Taylor 76), Thomas (Holland 76), Sercombe (Aldridge 76), May (Spencer 76), Abraham, Boyle © (Horton 76), Lloyd (Miles 23).

Subs not used: N/A

BIRMINGHAM: Sarkic (GK), Colin (Roberts 62), Pedersen (Graham 62), Friend (Leko 62), Woods (Castillo 62), Hogan (Aneke 62), Jutkiewicz (Lakin 62), Bela (Stirk 62), Dean © (Campbell 62), Sanchez (Bailey 46, Villaba 76), Gardner (Oakley 62).

Subs not used: Trueman (GK), Jeacock (GK)

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