Published: 21:30, 23 November 2021
| Updated: 00:49, 24 November 2021
Kent-born striker Alfie May was on target against wasteful Gillingham as they were beaten by visitors Cheltenham.
The Gills failed to take their first half chances and went into the break a goal down after Sean Long struck from a corner. May - who once played for Chatham Town - added a second on the hour.
Gillingham - watched by their lowest league crowd of the season - had eight senior players missing for the League 1 clash and all of their outfield substitutes were teenagers, with three of them from the youth team. Despite the absentees they were able to field a competitive side for the visit of Cheltenham.
This was the fourth meeting of the season between the two teams, with Cheltenham already boasting wins over the Gills in both the League Cup and FA Cup.
Olly Lee made a surprise return to the team, recovering from a broken toe, and he provided a couple of tidy through balls for John Akinde that should have been converted.
Akinde’s first chance was wide of the right hand post with just four minute gone and then in stoppage-time of the opening half he was put in on goal again, beating the keeper but his effort clipped the outside of the left post.
Inbetween those golden chances the two teams traded blows and it was Cheltenham who got a slice of fortune to take the lead. From a corner kick, that didn’t look like beating the first man, Mattie Pollock got a touch and it fell for Long to rifle home.
Harvey Lintott was once again playing in an advanced role and he put a chance wide while Dan Phillips’ thunderous effort left Lewis Freestone needing treatment after blocking the shot and visiting keeper Scott Flinders got down well to deny Lee.
That effort from Lee was the only on-target effort for the Gills from their 11 shots of the opening half.
Goalkeeper Jamie Cumming made a good block early in the second half after the Gills had lost possession. May found Kyle Vassell but he couldn’t find the net.
Cheltenham did get a second with an hour gone, May running off defender Max Ehmer and being played in on goal, taking it around Cumming and squeezing the ball home.
Lee tested the visiting keeper again soon after but Flinders got a hand to the shot to force it wide, denying the Gills an instant reply.
Gillingham finished with youngsters Gerald Sithole and Joe Gbode flanking Akinde but the home side ended the night without a goal. Late in the game Sam Gale made his Football League debut, with the youth player replacing Philips.
Gillingham: Cumming, Jackson, McKenzie, Ehmer, Tucker, Adshead, Phillips (Gale 86mins), Lintott, Lee (Gbode 80mins), Carayol (Sithole 76mins), Akinde. Subs not used: Chapman, Akehurst.
Cheltenham: Flinders, Long, Pollock, Freestone, Hussey, Sercombe, Chapman, Joseph, Crowley (Norton 64mins), Vassell (Williams 86mins), May (Wright 73mins). Subs not used: Evans, Horton, Armitage, Barkers.
Referee: James Linington