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Match Reports

Report & highlights: Gillingham 1-1 Robins (Robins win 5-4 on penalties)

24 August 2021

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Cheltenham Town progressed into the third round of the Carabao Cup for the first time in the club's history after this penalties win at Gillingham tonight.

They weren't at their best before the interval but Aflie May's third goal of the campaign cancelled out Vadaine Oliver's early goal by the half-way point.

Michael Duff's side were much the better of the two sides in the second half and created a string of chances to win the game in normal time but they couldn't convert them, leaving the game to be decided by penalty kicks.

Conor Thomas, Callum Wright, George Lloyd, Ben Tozer and Ellis Chapman made no mistake while Owen Evans pushed away Stuart O'Keefe's effort, meaning the Robins will go into the hat in tomorrow night's third round round draw for the first time ever.

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Duff rang the changes here, retaining just four of his starting XI from the unsuccessful trip to Fleetwood four days ago. Only Ben Tozer, Sean Long, Liam Sercombe and May started but the team as a whole looked lethargic and disjointed by their standards during the opening 45 minutes, going on to ship the first goal in the 20th minute.

It came down the left, Ben Reeves finding Oliver with a decent cross to beat Evans but it was too easy from a Cheltenham persepective.

It was the second time in four days that a goalscorer from the infamous 3-0 play-off semi-final defeat by Northampton Town two years ago had returned to haunt Duff's side after Callum Morton had done so on the Fylde Coast.

But in similar circumstances to Saturday, May popped up somewhat against the run of play to square the match only four minutes later. Ellis Chapman launched a long diagonal ball into George Lloyd, who laid it off to enable the diminutive striker to notch from 16 yards.

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Duff replaced Sean Long with Will Boyle at the interval and his side went on to perform with far more purpose. Danny Lloyd did have the first chance of the second period, powering a header narrowly over the bar but that was just about it from the home side for the remainder of the game.

Taylor Perry created a good chance from the left shortly afterwards but he couldn't find May, while Chapman couldn't keep his following effort on target.

Wright was pressed into action on the hour in place of Sercombe and almost immediately fashioned the second goal with a corner from the right, picking out Lewis Freestone for a free header but Aaron Chapman, the Gillingham number one, held it.

There were two late chances to avert penalties. First a trademark Tozer throw was flicked on by Boyle but Wright couldn't find the target with his header. Then Duff's side opened up a three-on-one with Wright opting to roll it into the path of Perry, but the midfielder was struggling with cramp and ended up blasting it high and wide of the target.

So penalties it was, but ulitmately a passage into the third round of the competition for the first time ever thanks to Evans' heroics.

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GILLINGHAM (4-3-3): Chapman; McKenzie, Ehmer, Bennett, Tutonda (Akehurst 36); O'Keefe, Adshead, Reeves; Oliver (Tucker 46), Lee, Lloyd. Subs not used: Cumming (Gk), Jackson, Dempsey, Phillips, Carayol.

CHELTENHAM TOWN (3-5-2): Evans; Horton, Tozer (c), Long (Boyle 46); Blair, Sercombe (Wright 60), Chapman, Perry, Freestone; Lloyd, May (Thomas 66). Subs not used: Flinders (Gk), Williams, Bonds.

REFEREE: D Rock

ATTENDANCE: tbc


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