» Var­ney the hero as Robins bat­tle past Yeovil

Gloucestershire Echo - - FRONT PAGE -

JON PALMER looks at the talk­ing points from Tues­day night’s 1-0 win over Yeovil Town

» For­get­table game, poor per­for­mance, vi­tal re­sult

AT this stage of the sea­son, Chel­tenham Town man­ager Michael Duff will take nar­row wins and clean sheets, how­ever un­con­vinc­ing his team’s per­for­mances may be, if it means they con­tinue to climb fur­ther away from the bot­tom two.

They were sec­ond best for long pe­ri­ods against a Yeovil team muchim­proved from their 4-1 home drub­bing at the hands of Duff’s team on New Year’s Day.

But for the sec­ond match run­ning, Chel­tenham’s op­po­nents had a man sent off in the first half and the home side did just enough to se­cure a valu­able three points.

The re­sult moved them back up to 18th, eight points clear of 23rd placed Mac­cles­field Town with a game in hand.

Duff be­lieves 52 points will be enough to guar­an­tee sur­vival, leav­ing them with 17 points to col­lect in their re­main­ing 16 games.

They may have to im­prove on Tues­day night’s over­all dis­play to make ab­so­lutely sure, but the grit they showed to grind out a re­sult in aw­ful con­di­tions sug­gests they should be able to breathe a lit­tle eas­ier go­ing into the fi­nal weeks of the sea­son.

» Luke Var­ney pro­vides an­other mo­ment of qual­ity

VAR­NEY’S ac­ro­batic ef­fort from a Ryan Broom cross sparked Chel­tenham’s come­back from 2-0 down to de­feat Mac­cles­field Town 3-2 in the last home game.

On this oc­ca­sion his 59th minute strike was enough on its own, with an­other Broom cross cleared to him just in­side the penalty area.

He took a touch, leaned back and found the top right cor­ner of the net, mak­ing it nine for the sea­son.

Var­ney was a free agent be­fore be­com­ing Duff’s first sign­ing as man- ager at the end of Septem­ber.

His fin­ish­ing abil­ity, in­tel­li­gence and fit­ness lev­els are mak­ing him an out- stand­ing ac­qui­si­tion and if Chel­ten- ham do sur­vive this sea­son, Var­ney will have played a key role, both with his per­for­mances on the pitch and his in­flu­ence off it.

» Half-time change has pos­i­tive ef­fect KEVIN Daw­son has played a ma­jor part in Chel­tenham’s last two vic­to­ries over rel­e­ga­tion ri­vals, go­ing on in the 38th minute for the in­jured Jor­don Forster against Mac­cles­field and play­ing a ma­jor part in the stir­ring sec­ond half dis­play.

The mid­fielder re­placed Forster again, this time in a purely tac­ti­cal move against Yeovil and made an­other pos­i­tive im­pact.

Daw­son has made seven sub­sti­tute ap­pear­ances in League Two along with one Check­a­trade Tro­phy start since re­turn­ing from two months on the side­lines with a me­dial lig­a­ment in­jury.

The Irish­man must now be close to earn­ing a place in the team as his full match sharp­ness re­turns.

With the Jan­uary ad­di­tions and Sean Long and Will Boyle clos­ing in on their re­turns to fit­ness, Duff has plenty of op­tions all over the pitch.

» Two en­cour­ag­ing de­buts JOR­DAN Till­son op­er­ated in a deep ly­ing mid­field role on his Chel­tenham de­but.

The loan sign­ing from Ex­eter City grew into the game, keep­ing things sim­ple and mak­ing some im­por­tant in­ter­ven­tions in front of the back­line

dur­ing the sec­ond half as Yeovil looked for a lev­eller.

Goal­keeper Scott Flin­ders had an ex­tremely quiet night, apart from one save at his near post and pick­ing the ball out of his net three times af­ter goals were ruled out.

One was for an in­fringe­ment spot­ted by ref­eree Tim Robin­son as Tom James fired in a su­perb free-kick af­ter six min­utes and front man Alex Fisher saw two more chalked off due to an off­side flag be­fore half-time.

James may have taken some of his frus­tra­tion out on Alex Ad­dai, lung­ing at the Robins for­ward on the edge of the box in the 21st minute and be­ing shown a straight red card.

Un­der pres­sure Yeovil boss Dar­ren Way was also sent to the stands due to

his protests over the dis­missal, the first red card of his ca­reer as a player or man­ager.

Ad­dai later hob­bled off with a ham­string in­jury af­ter an at­tempted back­heel back­fired and he was re­placed by Rak­ish Bing­ham in the 37th minute.

Bing­ham was clearly ea­ger to im­press af­ter join­ing on dead­line day and he showed the sort of ad­di­tional pace Duff was keen to bring in.

Bing­ham did not man­age to cap his first ap­pear­ance with a goal, but there were en­cour­ag­ing signs and the in­cen­tive is there for the ex-hamil­ton Aca­dem­i­cal man to earn a longer deal, with his cur­rent con­tract run­ning to the end of the sea­son.

» Pres­sure lifted ahead of two long away trips

CHEL­TENHAM still have plenty of work to do, but back-to-back home wins over teams close to them in the ta­ble mean they can ap­proach forth­com­ing trips to Colch­ester United and Grimsby Town with some of the pres­sure off.

Three of their next four home games are against other clubs in the lower reaches of the ta­ble (Cam­bridge United, Port Vale and Notts County) and the Robins’ fate is very much in their own hands.

They are two points be­hind Northamp­ton Town and Crawley Town, in 16th and 17th re­spec­tively, with a game in hand on both, and eight clear of 23rd-placed Mac­cles­field.

Northamp­ton boss Curle was the man se­ri­ously con­sid­ered for the job at Chel­tenham be­fore it was given to Duff, who is fully jus­ti­fy­ing the de­ci­sion with the work he has done in his first five months in the job.

Luke Var­ney vol­leys home the win­ning goal for Chel­tenham

Debu­tant Jor­dan Till­son looks to get past ex-robin Craig Al­cock

Kevin Daw­son came on at half-time

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