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09 November 2019 Venue Jonny-Rocks Stadium Attendance

Kick off 15:00 (UK)

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STAT PACK: CHELTENHAM (FA CUP)

8 November 2019

Everyone knows it. Swindon have never won at Cheltenham - an unwanted record to say the least that hasn’t stopped over a thousand Robins purchasing tickets in hope that the curse will finally be broken this Saturday in the FA Cup First Round Proper.

Town’s recent record in the oldest cup competition is not the greatest either – the Robins haven’t beaten a league side in the tournament since 2012 where they made it all the way to the Fourth Round beating then-League One high-flyers Huddersfield 4-1 at the County Ground, Colchester by a single goal and Premier League Wigan.

They eventually lost out to Leicester, featuring now-manager, Richie Wellens in midfield.

However, the main source of hope is of more recent origin – Wellens’ side are three wins from three and playing some of their best football of the season.

Eoin Doyle won League Two Player of the Month and has scored six goals in his last four games. Jerry Yates has complimented his strike partner chipping in with goals against Crawley and Bradford during October.

Last time out, Doyle and Diallang Jaiyesimi made the difference when Walsall visited the County Ground as Swindon ran out 2-1 winners at a blustery and rainy SN1.

The Oppo

Cheltenham’s home form has been their strength this season – the draw at Whaddon Road earlier on in the season was their 14th game unbeaten on home soil. Up until last weekend’s loss against Forest Green, they were 18 games without losing at home. Their previous loss at the Johnny-Rocks Stadium had come back in January against now-promoted Tranmere.

Their top scorer this season is Ryan Broom with six goals – he has also contributed the most assists, currently standing at four.

Last season, in the FA Cup, Cheltenham made it through the first round via a replay with National League Ebbsfleet – they were knocked out in the next round by Accrington Stanley.

The last time they beat league opposition in the tournament was back in 2016 where they went to Crewe and won 4-1 in a replay – however, they’ve been knocked about by non-league opposition on two occasions in the last three years.

Sutton United and Maidstone dismissed the Gloucestershire side in consecutive seasons.

Head-to-head

13 Aug 2011        Cheltenham Town v Swindon Town        L              1-0          League Two

10 Mar 2012       Swindon Town v Cheltenham Town        W            1-0          League Two

08 Nov 2014        Cheltenham Town v Swindon Town        L              5-0         

FA Cup

07 Oct 2017         Cheltenham Town v Swindon Town       L              2-1          League Two

10 Mar 2018       Swindon Town v Cheltenham Town        L              0-3          League Two

22 Dec 2018        Swindon Town v Cheltenham Town        D             0-0          League Two

27 Apr 2019        Cheltenham Town v Swindon Town          L              3-2          League Two

24 Aug 2019       Cheltenham Town v Swindon Town          D             2-2          League Two

The Gaffer

Cheltenham’s Town most successful youth product returned to where it all began last September when he was appointed as the club’s new manager.

A central defender or right back who made over 600 career appearances, Michael Duff has progressed from life as a youngster in non-league football at Cheltenham, to a career spent playing in the Premier League for Burnley, where he earned legendary status at Turf Moor.

Duff made over 300 appearances in a lengthy stay at Cheltenham at the beginning of his career which saw him help the club gain promotion to the Football League – scoring the winning goal that sealed the Robins promotion to League football.

His stand out form in Gloucestershire caught the eye of clubs from a higher level, and in the summer of 2004 he joined Burnley and again went on to enjoy a well-regarded and lengthy spell.

It was also towards the end of his time at Cheltenham and through his time at Burnley that he gained international honours. In total he made 24 appearances for Northern Ireland – the country of his birth, having been born in Belfast.

When his playing days came to an end, after helping Burnley regain promotion to the Premier League, he was appointed to the coaching staff in the Academy set-up, eventually going on to become under-23s manager.

It was a position he held until the Cheltenham role became available in the early part of last season, and he was announced as Gary Johnson’s replacement, returning to Cheltenham to take on his first managerial role in the game. After taking the hot seat, he guided the Robins to 16th place in the table, safe of the predicted relegation battle he inherited. This season, he’s taken the Robins to a new level flying high in the division throughout the opening third of the season.

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Match Reports

REPORT: CHELTENHAM TOWN 1-1 SWINDON TOWN

9 November 2019

Swindon will enter the hat for the second round of the FA Cup alongside Cheltenham after a 1-1 draw at Whaddon Road.

Despite taking the lead in second-half stoppage time through Jerry Yates, Town were pegged back instantly by Alex Addai who scored two minutes after Town took the lead.

In another dominant performance at the Johnny Rocks Stadium, the visitors were forced to settle for a draw despite dominating the game.

First Half

Town’s first chance, and the first chance of the half, came on 17 minutes – an incisive move from back to front, starting with Steven Benda saw the ball move through Baudry, Jaiyesimi and Doughty before DJ played through to Woolery.

He squared towards Yates but Ben Tozer, managed to flick the ball away from the Town striker and into the hands of Scott Flinders.

Three minutes later, Jaiyesimi and Woolery played the same roles, in provider and chaser – the only thing that prevented the latter from being a goalscorer was the hand of Flinders once again.

Cheltenham weren’t without threat – despite Swindon’s ascendancy. Luke Varney proved a nuisance on 33 minutes getting in between  Zeki Fryers and Steven Benda – the ball ricocheted out to Varney but Benda was up quickly to catch the veteran striker’s left-footed effort.

Michael Doughty was the man that worked the best chance of the remaining 15 minutes – he opened up his body onto his weaker foot and chipped the ball over the top to Yates. However, the young loanee had to wait an age for the ball to bounce off the turf as it seemed to hold up and his shot didn’t have the desired contact, or enough to beat the Cheltenham keeper.

Second Half

Swindon’s incisive football carried on into the second period and they began to turn the screw on the home side’s back three – a well-worked free-kick routine on the edge of the box resulted in Jerry Yates firing a blistering effort towards goal but a flying Cheltenham body got in the way.

That was the theme of the half – Swindon so close but thwarted at the last. Another training ground set-piece was floated, by Doughty, to Dion Donohue who stood up a cross to the back post. Yates was stretching but made contact; however, his header struck the post and bounced away.

Strikes from the edge of the box fell to Woolery, Yates and Jayesimi all to no avail. On 74 minutes, the visiting Robins thought they had the lead. Jerry Yates poked home Doughty’s disguised pass but the linesman’s flag ruled it out.

The pressure intensified but as the fourth official’s board went up for added time it looked like the game would head to a replay and then it looked like it wouldn’t, and then it looked like it would.

Yates picked up the ball 20 yards out, chopped onto his left foot and blasted a shot past Flinders sparking pandemonium in the away end. The visitors looked like they’d won it but this game had one final cruel twist.

Alex Addai benefited from an unfortunate ricochet and fired home in similarly clinical fashion to Yates only a minute earlier. Heartbreak for Swindon who deserved to enter the hat for the next round, on their own rather than sharing the ball in the draw.

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