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Cheltenham Town 1 Gillingham 0: Mattie Pollock puts home side through with winner in FA Cup first round replay

Gillingham picked up even more injuries as Cheltenham knocked them out of the FA Cup on Tuesday night.

Cheltenham took an early lead in the first round replay through Mattie Pollock and there was no comeback for the Gills.

Gillingham manager Steve Evans Picture: Andy Jones
Gillingham manager Steve Evans Picture: Andy Jones

The pre-match talk was about an apparent approach from Stevenage for Gillingham boss Steve Evans.

Evans had to deal with a host of injuries ahead of the match and for the third match running had players limp off. Both Danny Lloyd and Ben Reeves failed to last the 90.

Captain Kyle Dempsey and leading scorer Vadaine Oliver were absent after picking up weekend knocks, making it eight missing through for the Gills pre-match.

Just four players were named on the bench, from a possible nine. Goalkeeper Jamie Cumming was joined by three teenagers, including 16-year-old striker Joe Gbode who got on the pitch in the second half.

Youth team left-back Bailey Akehurst was picked again while Dan Phillips was named in midfield despite an energy-sapping 90 minutes against Sheffield Wednesday having made a quicker-than-expected return from injury.

Cheltenham had the weekend off and former Gills trialist Dan Crowley was looking lively from the off, making things happen from infront of the visiting defence.

The home side took an 11th minute lead when Chris Hussey’s corner was headed down by Kyle Vassell and Pollock - who netted in the first match at Priestfield - prodded the ball home in a crowd of bodies.

Gillingham had a couple of efforts, including an early strike from Danny Lloyd, but the home side edged the first 45. Vassell smashed a shot wide, Crowley put a free-kick at the keeper and Christian Norton headed over the bar.

Right at the end of the half John Akinde came close to scoring from close-range after Dan Adshead had helped the ball on but home keeper Scott Flinders got there first.

Vassell had an early second half chance deflected wide while at the other end Philliops had a shot that cleared the away stand.

Christian Norton had a great chance to put Cheltenham two-up, wriggling free of Jack Tucker with just the keeper to beat, but Aaron Chapman got a hand to the effort to send it wide.

Gbode was introduced with half an hour left for his Gillingham debut after Reeves became the latest injury victim, pulling up when making a run.

Conor Thomas went close with a chance for Cheltenham but the GIlls had a great opportunity of their own when Pollock fouled Stuart O’Keefe on the edge of the box but Akehurst couldn’t get it over the wall.

Cheltenham were getting more chances as the game progressed, with Vassell almost squeezing a shot through Chapman’s legs and Kyle Joseph missing when in the clear, but one goal was enough for the hosts who have now knocked the Gills out of the League Cup and FA Cup this season.

Gillingham may have got a late opportunity themselves when John Akinde went over in the box but the referee said no penalty.

Gillingham: Chapman, Jackson, Akehurst, Ehmer, Tucker, Phillips (Lintott 85mins), Adshead, O’Keefe, Reeves (Gbode 63mins), Lloyd (Sithole 34mins), Akinde. Sub not used: Cumming.

Cheltenham: Flinders, Long, Hussey, Pollock, Freestone, Thomas, Sercombe, Vassell, Blair, Norton, (Joseph 72mins), Crowley (May 72mins). Subs not used: Evans, Williams, Horton, Barkers, Armitage.

Attendance: 2,651 (138 away)

Referee: Lee Swabey

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