Two second half goals from Tyrone Barnett and Alex Addai ensured Cheltenham Town made it six matches unbeaten by beating Ebbsfleet United in an Emirates FA Cup first round replay at the Jonny-Rocks Stadium.
Substitute Addai made an instant impact by nutmegging his marker, before cutting the ball back to Luke Varney, whose shot was diverted in by Barnett’s diving header.
Sam Magri was then given his marching orders for a dissent after 82 minutes to make the National League side’s task even harder and Addai tapped home his first Cheltenham goal in stoppage time to consolidate victory.
The result means Michael Duff’s side will travel to League One Accrington Stanley in round two after keeping a fourth consecutive clean sheet in all competitions.
Duff made one change from the side that beat Notts County comfortably on Saturday, as Jacob Maddox missed out with a knock and Chris Clements replaced him in midfield.
Youth team pair Aaron Basford and Archie Brennan also made the bench, as both were rewarded for impressive showings in the Under-18s over the last few weeks.
Inside the second minute Nigel Atangana nearly scored his first home goal at the Jonny-Rocks Stadium in spectacular style but his long-range effort flew inches wide of Nathan Ashmore’s right post.
Some neat play in the 15th minute followed as Clements profited from a chest down by Luke Varney, but after weaving into the box he could only hit the side netting from a tight angle.
Ben Tozer was demonstrating some fine distribution in heart of Cheltenham’s defence and it was from his inch-perfect cross-field pass that led to the next chance – as after finding Ryan Broom, Varney’s hooked volley went wide.
Fresh from scoring a brace at the weekend, Varney glanced off target from Chris Hussey’s cross as the hosts continued to enjoy the better chances.
An awkward Tozer long-throw then brought the best out of Ashmore, as he got down well to deny the opener when Barnett’s header took a wicked deflection in the 30th minute.
Scott Flinders was then finally called into action as Corey Whitely was played in two on one, with the Robins keeper standing firm to push his effort away at the near post.
At the other end, Ashmore flapped at Hussey’s deep cross and Broom volleyed wide as Duff’s side continued to press for that elusive opener before half-time without luck.
Hussey’s deliveries remained a threat in the second period, as Varney stooped to head over the crossbar within minutes of the restart.
Danny Kedwell then had the visitors’ best chance of the match as he headed a teasing cross over the bar from inside the six-yard box.
But super sub Addai made the difference when he beat the full-back with ease, crossed to Varney and Barnett was on hand to throw himself at the ball – netting with a diving header at the Speedy Skips end.
Barnett nearly added a second with another header that looped onto the roof of the net, as Kedwell saw deflected efforts cleared in front of the travelling fans from Kent with the National League side pushed to equalise.
But Magri was then dismissed for dissent to make Gary Brabin’s side’s task even harder inside the final few minutes at the Jonny-Rocks Stadium.
Addai then earned a well-deserved first Cheltenham goal in added time as he tapped into an empty net when Varney’s shot was parried into his path by Ashmore as Duff’s side progressed through to the second round.
ROBINS: Flinders (GK), Hussey, Tozer ©, Atangana, Thomas (Addai 65), Broom, Boyle, Forster, Clements, Barnett, Varney.
Subs not used: Lovett (GK), Field, Mooney, Alcock, Basford, Brennan.
EBBSFLEET: Ashmore (GK), King, Magri, Winfield ©, Kedwell, Drury, Coulson (Cheek 70), Payne, Shields (Graham 61), Whitley (McQueen 85) Bush.
Subs not used: Miles (GK), Clark, Wilson.
REFEREE: C Sarginson
ATTENDANCE: 1,435 (93 from Ebbsfleet)