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Report | Gillingham 1-1 Cheltenham Town

Gerald Sithole scores his first senior goal at Priestfield to force a replay against Cheltenham in the FA Cup.

6 November 2021

Gills and Cheltenham will contest a replay for a place in the second round of the FA Cup.

Gerald Sithole came on as a half-time substitute, and it was his volley from a Ryan Jackson cross that earned the Gills a replay following a 1-1 draw against Cheltenham in the FA Cup on Saturday.

Cheltenham had taken the lead in the first-half as Mattie Pollock’s header was adjudged to have crossed the line by the referee’s assistant.

Gills upped the tempo following the interval and it was Sithole who buried a right footed effort inside the box following a ball in from Ryan Jackson.

Steve Evans made three changes for the tie with Aaron Chapman, Ben Reeves and Dan Adshead all came into the starting XI.

There was an injury worry for the Gills in the 16th minute as Max Ehmer went down clutching at his foot. Fortunately, he was able to get up and carry on after receiving treatment.

Kyle Dempsey had the first chance of note for the hosts in the 21st minute. A quick free-kick was played out wide to Danny Lloyd, who delivered a cross into the box. It was headed as far as the Gills skipper, who did well to bring it down before cutting onto his left foot. Dempsey fired it across the goal, but no one could get on the end of it.

Lloyd came close moments later. He went on a mazy run as he beat several Cheltenham players before getting inside the area. He tried to squeeze a shot in at the near post, but Scott Flinders did well to get down to it and push it out for a corner, which came to nothing.

In the 33rd minute, Kyle Vassell forced Chapman into a save. The Cheltenham striker did well to muscle his way forward with the ball before trying his luck from 20 yards. Chapman did well to get down to it and push it behind for a corner.

From the resulting corner, the visitors took the lead. The corner was curled towards the far post, and Mattie Pollock rose highest. He headed the ball into the ground, and the linesman believed it had crossed the line before Gills could clear it away, and the goal was awarded.

In first-half stoppage time, a nice passage of play from the Gills almost ended in a goal. Dempsey did well to get onto the end of a long ball forward before linking up with Robbie McKenzie and Lloyd. Lloyd swung the ball across the box for Oliver to latch onto, but he was always stretching to get on the end of it and missed the target.

 

HALF-TIME: Gillingham 0-1 Cheltenham Town

 

Dempsey had the first chance of the second half as he picked up the ball on edge of the box, but his left-footed effort was straight at Flinders.

Reeves came very close from a free-kick that was 25 yards out. He curled his shot with plenty of power towards the top corner, but Flinders was forced to push it over the bar.

Gerald Sithole replaced Dan Adshead at half-time, and it was his goal that got Gills back on level terms. Ryan Jackson did well to beat his man before sending a great cross into the box. Sithole did brilliantly, watching it come down over the head of Vadaine Oliver, before volleying into the bottom corner.

Matty Blair forced Chapman into a save with a little under ten minutes remaining. He did well to burst down the right-hand side before firing a shot at goal. Chapman was equal to it and got down to it before Reeves picked up the loose ball.

Bailey Akehurst came inches away from finding a winning goal. A Gills ball into the box was headed as far as the young left-back, who tried his luck on the volley. He struck it sweetly, and it left Flinders rooted to the spot, but whistled inches wide of the post.

 

FULL-TIME: Gillingham 1-1 Cheltenham Town

 

Gillingham: Chapman, Jackson (Lintott 79’), Ehmer, Bennett (Akinde 72’), McKenzie (Akehurst 57’), Tucker, Adshead (Sithole 46’), Reeves, Dempsey, Oliver, Lloyd

Unused Substitutes: Cumming

 

Cheltenham Town: Flinders, Long, Pollock, Freestone, Blair, Hussey, Thomas, Chapman, May (Sercombe 67’), Vassell (Crowley 77’), Norton (Joseph 76’)

Unused Substitutes: Evans, Williams, Horton, Barkers, Armitage

 

Referee: Ollie Yates

 

Attendance: 2,555 (118 away fans)


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