The Robins begun their 2023/24 EFL Trophy campaign with a 4-1 defeat to Bristol Rovers at the Memorial Stadium.
First half goals from James Gibbons, Antony Evans and Aaron Collins set the hosts on their way before both Gibbons and Rob Street found their own respective nets to round off the scoring.
After the result manager Wade Elliott said:
"I was dissapointed at half-time and then we had to make a few changes so it was a bit of an ad-hoc team in the second half.
"But that was part of the frustration because in that second half they showed it was in there.
"I said to the lads you can't click your fingers and all the confidence just comes flooding back.
"If we can find that confidence and play with a bit of belief we've got a solid and competitive team."
The hosts found themselves in front after just nine minutes. Jevani Brown made his way to the byline before picking out Gibbons in the area, who headed home the opener.
It was very nearly two just five minutes later when John Marquis raced through before finding the net, only to be foiled by the assistant on the far side, who had his flag raised for offside.
The Robins really should have been level on 23 minutes. A great move saw Street find Aidan Keena unmarked at the back post just a few yards out.
But the Robins frontman could only hit the side netting, a big let off for Joey Barton's side.
They would capitalise on the miss just three minutes later, as Evans was given time outside the area before he let fly, rifling an effort past Max Harris in the Robins net.
Collins would then hunt for a third, forcing Harris into a low save before blasting his next effort wide of the far post.
But almost immediately after a double change for the Robins Collins made it three, making his way into the box before finding the roof of the net.
Into the second half and the Robins would get one back on 50 minutes, Gibbons scoring at the other end this time, turning home a low cross from the right.
This gave the side a lift, as Street headed just wide from a Jovan Malcolm cross moments before James Belshaw scrambled across his goal to stop Keena's headed effort.
But the hosts would have their three goal cushion restored when substitute Scott Sinclair's free kick hit the head of Street on the way into the back of the net.
Sinclair nearly had a goal of his own 15 minutes from time but the hosts were once again denied by the assistants flag.
BRISTOL ROVERS (4-3-3): Belshaw, Gibbons (Woods 63'); Taylor, Grant, Vale, Evans (Finley 73'); Bogarde, McCormick (Thomas 63'); Brown (Gordon 73'); Marquis (C), Collins (Sinclair 63'). Subs not used: Hall, Crama
CHELTENHAM TOWN (3-4-3): Harris, J,Williams, Long (C) (Chapman 46'); Bradbury (Horton 37')(Willcox 46); B.Williams, Ferry, Adshead (Olayinka 87'); Sercombe, Street, Keena, Goodwin (Malcolm 37'). Subs not used: Franks, King
REFEREE: D Middleton
ATTENDANCE: 1,184 (86 from Cheltenham)