Full Time: Robins 1, Gills 0
Cheltenham Town have won 1-0 this afternoon against table toppers Gillingham, and secured a spot in the play-offs at least in the process.
Mark Yates made four changes to the side that slumped to a disappointing defeat at Plymouth last weekend, with Jones, Penn, Mohamed and Taylor replacing Lowe, Carter, Deering and Benson respectively.
This was to be a game with attack being the best form of defence; Cheltenham knowing three points will keep them in the promotion hunt while Allen's men were looking to seal the league title.
As expected therefore, both sides were going for it straight from kick off. Even the Gills' keeper Nelson tried an audacious long range free kick in the opening minute, but it sailed over Brown's bar, while a deep cross whipped in from the Left almost found it's target at the back post moments later.
Despite the early Gills pressure, Cheltenham got forward early themselves, but a tame Harrison shot on goal and a header by Pack in the area were straight at Nelson. For a while the away side were restricted to efforts from range. Firstly Burton unleashed a powerful drive that went harmlessly wide, but Brown got down well when Lee swurved an effort goalwards, after Hector fluffed his clearance on the edge of the box.
Neither side were backing down and so it was Cheltenham's turn to attack, with Mohamed coming off the left wing. Jomabti got himself forward, working into space and his cross was met by the volley of Mohamed which was blocked, before he fired the rebound over the bar. Later Pack slotted through a great ball for McGlashan, and anybody lurking in the middle would surely have opened the scoring but the winger's cross evaded everyone in the box. Moments later Harrison flicked the ball on for Captain Penn but he dragged his shot wide and the crowd were out in full voice.
However Gillingham had their own agenda and Kedwell tried an acrobatic overhead kick but Brown reatced well to tip the ball over the bar. The Gills were putting their own pressure on Cheltenham now but the Robins held firm. Jones nearly had the embarrasment of an own goal when the ball came off his foot at pace and all were grateful to see the ball pass out for a corner instead.
The weather may have been dull, but the atmosphere and game were anything but as the sides went in unable to break the deadlock at the break.
Half Time: Cheltenham Town 0 - 0 Gillingham
The game lost a lot of its high tempo at the start of the second half but battles continued across the pitch as the rain continued to sweep across the stadium. However Cheltenham still looked bright and despite taking just over 20 minutes to do so, they found the back of the net. Marlon pack went for goal with a delightful free kick and Nelson did well to tip the ball over for a corner. But from Jones' resulting cross, defender Michael Hector rose well to head home his first goal for the club; his fourth career goal.
This spurred the Robins on and Gillingham seemed a little shell-shocked. Cheltenham added the pressure knowing one goal may not be enough to see the game out. Brown had to be alert however and tipped over Matt Fish's looping cross but Allen's side were failing to create any clear cut chances. The minutes ticked by and Brown dealt with a comfortable save when Barrett tried to head Gillingham level.
Cheltenham thought they had doubled their lead a minute later when Mohamed picked the ball up inside his own half. Running at the Gills' defence he laid off to Penn but Nelson rushed out to block the captain's shot while Gillingham came close to a late goal of their own when Whelpdale fired wide, with Brown at full stretch.
The final moments were tight but the one goal did prove to be enough in the end as the Robins held on for a well deserved win, these three points keeping them in hunt for automatic promotion.
Full Time: Cheltenham Town 1 - 0 Gillingham
Cheltenham Town FC (4-2-3-1): Brown (GK); Jombati, Hector, Elliott, Jones; Taylor, Pack; McGlashan, Penn, Mohamed; Harrison
Subs not used: Roberts (GK), Lowe, Carter, Deering, Duffy, Harrad, Deaman
Gillingham FC (4-4-2): Nelson (GK); Fish, Barrett, Legge, Martin (Gregory 45+1); Frampton, Lee (Birchall 77), Whelpdale, Allen (Dack 77); Burton, Kedwel
Subs not used: Forecast (GK), East, Davies, Muggleton
Referee: Mr. Gavin Ward
Robins' Star Man: Russ Penn