Saturday’s FA Cup first round trip to Ebbsfleet United sees the Robins and the National League side clash for the first time since Cheltenham’s promotion to the Football Conference in 1997.
Back then the two clubs were Southern Premier Division rivals, though meetings stretch back all of the way to 1940s, when Saturday’s opponents played under the title of their former name, Gravesend & Northfleet.
It was the 1946/47 season when the two clubs first met in the Southern League, with an April 1948 meeting the following campaign seeing George Tadman become the third player in Cheltenham’s history to score six goals in a game – a match that saw the Robins record an 8-1 victory.
Competition continued between the two clubs throughout the 1950s, and in April 1958 the two teams faced up to one another in the Southern League Cup final.
A Robins side managed by Ron Lewin claimed a 4-1 aggregate win over two legs, with Peter Cleland and Dan Fowler’s goals earning a 2-0 win at Gravesend’s Stonebridge Road, with the same duo finding the net in front of a crowd of 4,900 in the second leg at Whaddon Road in a 2-1 win to help the Robins lift the Southern League Cup trophy (pictured).
The two clubs would continue to come up against each other in the Southern League for spells in the 60s, 70s and 80s, and would come head-to-head in a cup competition in consecutive seasons in the 1989/90 and 1990/91 campaigns when the Robins enjoyed back-to-back FA Trophy victories over this weekend’s opponents.
Throughout the mid-nineties there were clashes in the Southern Premier Division as Cheltenham chased promotion to the Conference, which when eventually achieved in 1997, ended a fixture meeting that reignites this weekend at the Kuffflink Stadium, with a place in the FA Cup second round at stake.
There is still time up to 3pm today to book on the supporters coach going to the game. Find out more here.