Cheltenham Town were beaten 4-2 by Maidstone United on Saturday as they crashed out of the FA Cup in the first round to the National League side. The Robins found themselves 3-0 down at half-time and the defeat will go down as one of the most disappointing FA cup exits in memory, alongside defeats to Tamworth, Dover Athletic and Sutton United in recent years.
Midfielder Kevin Dawson got the home side back into the game but his hard work was let down as he received a straight red card for a lunge at Lee Worgan which dashed any hopes of a desperate late comeback as The Robins were beaten fairly comfortably.
Cheltenham manager Gary Johnson spoke of his relief at having a game so soon with Newport County in the Checkatrade Trophy. With nothing riding on the game for either team, it gives The Robins a chance to banish the memory of Saturday under no pressure, Johnson said, “I don’t really want the Maidstone game on my mind and the player’s minds for too long, we’ve got to understand what happened and put it right.”
Johnson also added he would use the Newport game to give some of the players on the periphery at Whaddon Road some gametime; “It’s a bit of a dead rubber, but we’ve got to use the game to see some of the player’s that maybe haven’t played much yet, maybe they can see themselves through to getting a game for the first team.”
Defender Jordan Cranston echoed his manager’s thoughts about looking ahead to Tuesday’s game rather than dwell on another early FA Cup exit, Cranston said, “We didn’t underestimate them being a National League side, but we just weren’t at the races today and they hit us with three sloppy goals from our point of view in the first half.
“I thought we responded well in the second half but we just didn’t take our chances. We have to move on to Tuesday now and put in a better performance and also think ahead to Saturday’s game against Luton and get a result.”