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Kick off 14:00 (UK)

06 November 2021 Venue Priestfield Stadium Attendance

Kick off 14:00 (UK)

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English FA Cup

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Match Previews

Preview: Gillingham

5 November 2021

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Cheltenham Town embark on a journey into a competition that possesses familiarly fond recent memories on Saturday when they take on Gillingham in the FA Cup first round (kick-off: 2pm).

Last season the club enjoyed one of its best ever runs in the world famous competition, reaching the fourth round and taking on Premier League superstars Manchester City in front of a worldwide television audience, with the game being broadcast on BBC One.

For a while Robins supporters and many neutrals dreamed as Alfie May's second half goal looked set to hand Cheltenham the most incredible of cup upsets, only to be foiled by Man City's class late on as they secured safe passage through to the fifth round.

Any dreams of a tie like that again are a long way off, and Michael Duff's men will be aiming to get a job done on Saturday against fellow League One opponents if they are to be in the hat for the second round draw.

The winners of Saturday's tie will receive £22,629 in prize money. The draw for the second round is to be made on Monday night on ITV4.

Team news

On loan defender Mattie Pollock (pictured) will undergo a fitness test to see if he could be available after suffering a knock to his knee in the midweek draw at Portsmouth.

There's an otherwise fully fit squad available despite the recently usual four absentees in Will Boyle, Charlie Raglan, Callum Wright and Taylor Perry.

All of the loan players have been given permission to play in the fixture by their parent clubs.

Media talk

Having already faced the Gills in the Carabao Cup this season, Michael Duff is expecting a different game to the two team's first meeting.

"I think it will be two completely different teams to that game. It's probably as difficult a draw as we could have got," he said.

"Everyone knows the way they play but knowing the way they play and stopping it is completely different. When you've got Vadaine Oliver and John Akinde up front why would you play any other way? It's effective.

"We'll have a game plan with and without the ball. We need to prepare to stand up for ourselves and do the other side of the game better which we did the other night. We used the ball well. We need to do both sides of it."

You can see Duff's press conference previewing the fixture exclusively on iFollow where you can also watch midfielder Conor Thomas previewing the tie.


When it comes to league performance this season, the Gills sit 19th in League One and have amassed 16 points so far.

One of their biggest threats comes from their front two with the sizeable forward duo of former Northampton Town striker Vadaine Oliver and ex-Bristol City man John Akinde offering plenty to deal with in the defensive third.

The well-travelled Gambia international Mustapha Carayol, ex-Rochdale defender Rhys Bennett and one-time Cardiff City man Stuart O'Keefe provide lots of experience throughout the rest of their squad.

Young talents such as defender Jack Tucker and goalkeeper Jamie Cumming, on loan from Chelsea and a part of Stevenage's squad last term, are also other players to keep an eye on.

The manager: Steve Evans

Steve Evans has been in charge at Priestfield since May 2019, working alongside his long-term assistant manager Paul Raynor.

He boasts over two decades of managerial experience having began in non-league with the likes of Stamford, Boston United and Crawley Town, before going onto manage in the Football League with Rotherham United, Leeds United, Mansfield Town and Peterborough United all on his CV.

The Scotsman was a striker in his playing days with his whole playing career coming in the Scottish pyramid.

Tickets & travel

There are no longer tickets on sale for the game. All tickets must have been bought in advance by midday on Friday.

Fans who have bought tickets and who have booked a place on the Robins Travel Club coach heading to the game are reminded that it departs from the Jonny-Rocks Stadium at 8.30am.

Those who have purchased tickets but not collected them can do so from the ticket office at Gillingham.


Social media: Follow @CTFCofficial on Twitter for updates throughout the afternoon. You can also view score updates and team news on Facebook and Instagram.

Highlights: You can watch match highlights on The FA Player as of Sunday. Highlights will also feature on BBC Two as of 7.15pm on Sunday night with the rest of the goals from the first round.

Radio: Listen to live full match commentary on BBC Radio Gloucestershire.

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Match Reports

Report: Gillingham 1-1 Robins

6 November 2021

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They will have to do it all again after this firey FA Cup first round stalemate at Priestfield Stadium.

Mattie Pollock's first goal for the club handed Michael Duff's side a deserved lead at the break but they were pegged back in the second half by substitute Gerald Sitole.
That means a fifth match against Gillingham this term after the Carabao Cup tie here back in August, which also ended in a goal apiece, although on that occasion the Robins came out on top in the resulting penalty shoot-out.
"I'm disappointed because I thought we had done enough to win the game," Duff said afterwards.
"We've got to learn from it, going one-nil up. They equalised from passing the ball so we need to grow from this.
"It's a difficult place to come. It probably shows how far we've come that we're disappointed with a draw away at Gillingham. It was a scrappy game and the wind didn't help.
"Overall, a tinge of frustration."
There was one change, Christian Norton came in and Liam Sercombe dropped to the bench. Duff named eight of his permitted nine subsitutions of which he could use five. Will Armitage, the 16-year-old defender who scored in the Under-18s' FA Youth Cup 3-0 win on Wednesdsay evening, was one.
His side started brightly enough, enjoying a lot of the ball in the opening exchanges, creating a handful of chances and deserving their lead at the break.
A couple of early Chris Hussey corners caused some panic in the Gillingham defence while Ryan Jackson and Danny Lloyd went close at the other end, the latter denied by a diving Scott Flinders stop. There was also a good shout for a penalty kick after some clever play by Norton but the referee was unimpressed.
But the breakthrough arrived 11 minutes before the interval after Kyle Vassell's 20 yarder had drawn the first meaningful save by Aaron Chapman, the Gillingham number one. He turned the effort around for another corner, which provided another opportunity for Hussey to deliver a menacing ball to the far post where Pollock arrived to head home.
A well worked moved on the stroke of half-time almost handed the hosts an unlikely equaliser, but Vadaine Oliver couldn't keep his effort on target. Alfie May pulled a long ranger a foot wide moments later.
Ben Reeves forced Flinders into a smart stop with a 25-yard free-kick five minutes into the second half, which was a more firey affair with Ellis Chapman and Duff shown yellow cards after a late challenge by the midfielder. 
The equaliser arrived after 59 minutes when Jackson's fancy footwork created the space to cross from the right, finding substitute Gerald Sithole who produced a neat finish to beat Flinders to his left.
The Gills held the initiative so Duff rang the changes, sending on Sercombe (for May), Dan Crowley (Vassell) and Kyle Joseph (Norton) and it had the desired effect with his side enjoying the lion's share of possession for the remainder of the contest.
But despite their strong finish, it was Bailey Akehurst with the best chance of the closing stages, a strike that fizzed past the left post with Finders beaten. The Robins were also indebted to a fine last ditch tackle by Lewis Freestone to thwart a dangerous counter attack in the final seconds.
GILLINGHAM (4-4-2): Chapman; Jackson (Lintott 79), Ehmer, Bennett (Akinde 72), McKenzie (Akehurst 56); Dempsey (c), Adshead (Sithole 46), Tucker;  Reeves; Oliver. Subs not used: Cumming (Gk).
CHELTENHAM TOWN (3-5-2): Flinders; Long (c), Pollock, Freestone; Blair, Thomas, May (Sercombe 67), Chapman, Hussey; Vassell (Crowley 77), Norton (Joseph 77). Subs not used: Evans (Gk), Williams, Horton, Barkers, Armitage.
REFEREE: A Woolmer

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Ticket News

Tickets & travel: Gillingham

2 November 2021

It's now possible to purchase tickets and away travel for this Saturday's FA Cup first round tie at Gillingham.

It was confirmed on Monday that Cheltenham would travel to Kent for a slightly earlier kick-off time on Saturday of 2pm.

The game is the Robins first in the competition since an historic cup run last season that ended in a fourth round contest against Manchester City.

Ticket prices for the game are as follows:

Adults £10
Senior (65+) £5
U18/Student £5
U12 Free

If you are looking to travel on the Travel Club coach then it will be leaving from the Jonny-Rocks Stadium at 8.30am.

Non members £20/£18
Members £18 / £16
Junior Robins £8

Please note that all tickets for the match must be bought in advance. You are unable to buy on the day at Gillingham.

Cheltenham fans will be positioned in the Brian Moore Stand for the tie.

Buy tickets and away travel online or from the ticket office.

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