Forest Green 4-3 Cheltenham Town
Forest Green Rovers ran out 4-3 winners in the Gloucester Senior Cup first round tie against The Robins in an exciting game at The New Lawn.
Two first half goals from Fabien Robert and an own goal from Easah Suliman, plus a reply from Billy Waters, saw Rovers go in 3-1 up at half time.
Both Robert and Waters completed their hat-tricks in another action packed half that carried straight on from the opening 45 minutes.
But it wasn’t to be for Cheltenham as, despite creating plenty of chances in the later stages of the match, they couldn’t manage to draw level.
The first chance of the game came after 5 minutes when Danny Whitehead intercepted a misplaced Forest Green pass in midfield and gave it to Koby Arthur, but his shot from the edge of the box was straight at the goalkeeper.
After just under quarter of an hour the home side took the lead when Matt Tubbs knocked down a long ball forward, and Robert was on hand to smash in the first goal of the game from just outside the area.
Five minutes later Forest Green almost doubled their lead when Keiffer Moore was left unmarked from a corner, but his header was acrobatically saved by Callum Kitscha.
In the 22nd minute The Robins were level when Josh Thomas broke free down the right hand side and passed it across to Waters, who was on hand to guide the ball under the goalkeeper and into the back of the net.
Despite opportunities for both sides it was Forest Green who re-took the lead on 38 minutes when Mohamed Chemlal’s corner was turned into his own net by the chest of Suliman.
Cheltenham went even further behind just before the break when Robert picked the ball up outside the area, beat Matt Bower and hit the ball across goal and into the bottom corner.
After the interval it took just 9 minutes for Forest Green to go even further in front when Robert got his hat-trick from the penalty spot after a foul by Arthur.
On 65 minutes, though, Cheltenham reduced the deficit when Arthur passed the ball to Waters inside the box, who hit a low shot into the far corner to get his second of the evening.
Jack Munns almost pulled The Robins back within one goal on 74 minutes when Waters latched onto a defensive mistake and flicked it to the midfielder, but his shot went agonisingly wide.
Minutes later Cheltenham went close again when Jack Barthram headed the ball across goal to Waters, but his toe-poke was somehow saved by the feet of Simon Lefebvre.
With only one minute remaining it was Waters’ time to claim a hat-trick when he cut inside from the left hand side and hit a powerful shot into the top corner to make it 4-3.
Forest Green Rovers: S Lefebvre, W Elliot, D Traore (G Gabbiadini, 45), C Doidge, M Kelly, K Moore (T Anderson, 21), M Tubbs, A Racine, L McGrory, M Chemlal, F Robert.
Unused Subs: T Edmonds, J Morris, J Stoke
Cheltenham Town: C Kitscha, E Suliman (J Nutting, 73), M Bower, J Barthram, J Lymn, J Munns, D Whitehead, J Thomas, J Hance (G Lloyd, 45), B Waters, K Arthur (L Llewellyn, 66).
Unused Subs: L Clayton, T Cordell.