Gills out of Carabao Cup following penalty heartbreak.
Gillingham’s Carabao Cup campaign ended in the second round stage on Tuesday night following a penalty defeat to Cheltenham Town.
The match finished 1-1 after 90 minutes with Vadaine Oliver getting his second goal in two games, but the Robins drew level with Alfie May getting the equalizer on 24 minutes.
Oliver had given Gillingham the lead as he leapt highest to head past Owen Evans. However, it proved to be a blow for the Gills as he injured his ankle in the proceedings.
The visitors equalised shortly afterwards as May slotted into the bottom corner past Aaron Chapman.
Cheltenham won the game on penalties, having scored all five. Stuart O’Keefe was the only man to miss as The Robins won 5-4 in the shootout.
Steve Evans made five changes to the side that beat Morecambe on the weekend. David Tutonda came back into the team following suspension, and Danny Lloyd started after an impressive showing in the second half against the Shrimps. Aaron Chapman, Rhys Bennett and Olly Lee also came into the starting XI.
Daniel Phillips was named amongst the substitutes as he continues his recovery from injury, and Harvey Lintott missed out due to COVID.
Vadaine Oliver had a great chance to put Gillingham in front during the early stages of the game. Cheltenham tried clearing their lines, and Ben Reeves did well to close down the defender. The ball ricocheted into the path of Oliver, but he could not make clear contact with the loose ball.
Oliver did put the Gills in front in the 20th minute. The hosts did well to win the ball back on the halfway line and worked their way down the left-hand side. Olly Lee curled a great ball towards the back post, and the Gillingham striker did brilliantly to rise highest and head into the back of the net.
Alfie May equalised for Cheltenham four minutes later. Gills were unable to deal with a long ball forward, and George Lloyd did well to hold the ball up. He laid it off to May, and he slotted it into the bottom corner.
Gillingham were forced into a first-half substitution as Tutonda injured his knee in an off the ball incident. The left-back was replaced by 17-year-old Bailey Akehurst.
HALF-TIME: Gillingham 1-1 Cheltenham Town
Oliver was substituted at half-time, having injured his ankle when he scored the goal. He was replaced by Jack Tucker, and Max Ehmer moved into a forward position.
Ben Reeves had the first chance of the second half, but his shot went well over the bar.
A well-worked free-kick by Lee created a good chance. It was curled towards the near post. Lloyd was the man to meet it, but he headed over the goal.
Lewis Freestone failed to take advantage of a guilt-edged chance just after the hour. He was unmarked on the penalty spot from a corner and directed a header towards the goal. Fortunately, it was straight at Aaron Chapman who made the catch.
Callum Wright, a second-half substitute, had a big chance for the visitors. Freestone’s low cross was met by the midfielder, but he sliced it wide of the target.
Taylor Perry had a golden chance to win it in stoppage time. The visitors won possession on the halfway line and had a three-on-one against Tucker. The ball was played through to Perry, but he sliced high and wide of the target.
The game ended level after 90 minutes meaning that the game went to a penalty shootout.
FULL-TIME: Gillingham 1-1 Cheltenham Town
Cheltenham won the penalty shootout 5-4 having scored all their penalties. Stuart O’Keefe was the only player to miss as the Gills were eliminated in the second round of the Carabao Cup.
Gillingham: Chapman, McKenzie, Bennett, Ehmer, Tutonda (Akehurst 36’), O’Keefe, Adshead, Reeves (Carayol 76’), Lloyd, Lee, Oliver (Tucker 46’)
Unused Substitutes: Cumming, Jackson, Dempsey, Phillips
Cheltenham Town: Evans, Horton, Tozer, Long (Boyle 46’), Blair, Freestone, Sercombe (Wright 60’), Chapman, Perry, May (Thomas 66’), Lloyd
Unused Substitutes: Flinders, Williams, Bonds
Referee: David Rock