Cheltenham 1 - 0 Havant & Waterlooville
Cheltenham Town finally saw off the stubborn challenge of Havant & Waterlooville, edging this FA Cup Fourth Qualifying Round tie at the second attempt at the World of Smile Stadium.
The Hawks did so well to come back from 2-0, and then 3-1 in the first encounter at the weekend, but they couldn’t find a route back into this one after Danny Wright had bagged his third goal of the tie, and his 10th this term only 46 seconds after the interval.
Gary Johnson’s side had their chances to extend the lead, but goalkeeper Ryan Young produced a string of top saves to keep his side in it, and the Hampshire side chased the elusive equaliser to the end.
It wasn't pretty, but the Robins progress.
Now the manager can now set the Sat Nav for the 470-mile trudge to Hartlepool United after being paired with the League Two side in last night’s televised draw.
Johnson took no chances, naming what many regard his full strength side for the visit of Lee Bradbury’s team who battled back to force this replay four days ago. Back came Jack Barthram and Amari Morgan-Smith for Lee Vaughan and Billy Waters, who took their places on the bench.
But the evening got off to the worst possible start when the returning striker was withdrawn through injury after he challenged for a ball with the Havant number one Ryan Young with only two minutes on the clock. He desperately tried to continue, but conceded defeat in the sixth minute and was promptly replaced by Waters.
The Hawks made one change of their own at right back where Harry Medway started here, and his side were called into all the defending in the early exchanges.
Young produced a fine save to deny Kyle Storer with a header, after some good play down the left by Jack Munns.
The goalkeeper was at his best midway through the first half, this time diving to his left to prevent Barthram opening the scoring from 20 yards. A moment later Storer attempted a spectacular volley, but missed the target by a couple of feet.
Dillon Phillips was forced into his first save of the game seven minutes before the break, but it was easy enough to hold Scott Donnelly’s 20 yarder.
Waters forced a save as half-time approached, but by and large the opening 45 minutes were characterised by some stubborn defending by the Vanarama South side. They produced one decent chance in first half injury time, Matt Paterson crossing from the right and Ben Swallow drawing a scrambled save from Phillips with a right foot volley.
But Wright opened the scoring within a minute of the restart, latching onto Rob Dickie’s threaded ball down the inside right channel and twisting away from his marker before taking aim.
His first effort came back off the upright, but he made no mistake with his second and bundled to make it double figures for the campaign.
Paterson had a great chance to get his side back on terms 22 minutes from time, escaping down the right before pulling his angled effort across goal and wide.
The Robins were then indebted to Harry Pell for a fine, last-ditch tackle to stop James Hayter getting away on goal. They were let offs, with the visitors exploiting gaps in the midfield left by Storer’s absence who had been replaced by Asa Hall.
The midfielder was straight into the action, and was shown a yellow card for a meaty challenge in midfield before missing a chance to double the lead when he raced on to Munns’ cut back from the right, only for Dan Strugnell to throw himself in front of it to block. He later called Young into another flying stop from 25 yards.
Another substitute, James Dayton (for Munns), opened up a chance with his first contribution of the game when he surged down the left and rolled a tantalising cross across the face of goal.
There was a late scare for Cheltenham when the Hawks forced a couple of late corners in the final minute of normal time, but they cleared their lines - just - and finally booked their place in round one.
CHELTENHAM TOWN (3-5-2): Phillips; Dickie, Downes (c), Parslow; Barthram, Pell, Storer (Hall 59), Munns, McLennan; Wright, Morgan-Smith (Waters 6). Subs not used: Rowe, Vaughan, Lovett (Gk), Thomas, Dayton.
HAVANT & WATERLOOVILLE (4-4-2): Young; Medway, Strugnell, Dutton, Blanchett; Azeez (Mullings 50), Donnelly, Stock (c), Swallow (Morgan 71); Paterson, Clifton (Hayter 58). Subs not used: Searle (Gk), Monthe, Cummings, Thomson.
REFEREE: A Bromley
ATTENDANCE: 1,628 (43 from Havant & Waterlooville)