Ticking over Broom equaliser keeps unbeaten run intact
Jon Palmer’s verdict on Cheltenham Town’s 1-1 draw at Oldham Athletic
» Seven points from nine away from home
Cheltenham Town extended their unbeaten run to six matches and followed up back-to-back 2-0 away victories at Salford and Plymouth with a point at Boundary Park.
Michael Duff’s team trailed from the ninth minute until the 71st, but looked the more likely winners in the closing stages.
They had far more possession in the first half and worked the ball into several good positions, but Oldham were a threat on the break.
Ex-robins loanee Jonny Smith set up their goal with a ball through the middle that was well finished by Filipe Morais.
Cheltenham had already gone close through Alex Addai, who nearly followed up after Zeus de la Paz parried Ryan Broom’s low effort and Cheltenham will still wonder how they did not force the ball over the line.
They lost defender Charlie Raglan to a head injury in the 32nd minute, with Chris Clements going on in midfield, Conor Thomas moving to right wingback and Sean Long to the right of the back three.
But it was not until Duff sent on Jonte Smith and George Lloyd in the 56th minute than Cheltenham really began to apply serious pressure to the Oldham goal.
The equaliser arrived with 19 minutes left when Thomas’ cross from the right was smashed into the net on the volley by Broom.
There were several chances to take three points, which would have taken Cheltenham top of the table and Duff felt Broom was fouled in the box, but he was booked for simulation.
» Decision to leave Ryan Broom in number 10 role pays off
Duff could have moved Broom to right wing-back after Raglan’s injury, but it would have taken away the team’s biggest goal threat.
Broom took his total for the season to five with an emphatic finish - having only managed two league goals last term, along with one each in the Carabao Cup and EFL Trophy.
Cheltenham secured him on a twoyear deal in the summer and it is already looking like a shrewd decision, with Broom’s performances consistently impressive, with goals and assists on a regular basis.
The former Bristol Rovers man has thrived in his attacking central role and if he maintains thesestandards, it is inevitable that higher clubs will once again begin to show an interest.
His challenge now is to perform consistently throughout the campaign because his contributions, did tail off somewhat last season.
» Alex Addai’s first 90 minutes since January Addai had not started a League Two match since injuring his hamstring against Yeovil on February 5 and his last 90-minute appearance was in the 3-2 home win over Macclesfield Town at the end of January.
His recent cameos as an impact substitute meant he deserved to take the place of Luke Varney, who was ruled out with a hamstring problem, despite Duff having several other attacking options as his disposal.
There is no doubt Addai had been affecting games from the bench, but the big question was whether he could have a major say from the start.
Duff wanted him to cause problems for the giant figure of David Wheater on the ground, knowing he would have no chance of worrying him in the air.
There were times in the first half when Cheltenham did launch the ball at Addai, who despite his best attempts to use his stocky frame, is never going to be effective facing away from the opposition goal.
But when he did have a chance to run at defenders, he did exactly what Duff would have wanted.
He was unfortunate not to be awarded a penalty early on and in the second half was given a free role, completing 90 minutes.
Addai does not want to be known purely as a ‘super sub’ and this extended run-out showed evidence of him taking on board the information being given to him and adjusting steadily to being a full-time footballer.
Duff hopes to have Varney back for the Walsall game, with the injury not though to be serious.
» Jonte Smith’s longest Football League appearance
While Addai was making his first start in eight months, Bermuda international Smith was given the longest run out of his Football League career.
He had gone on at Plymouth and played a part in the second goal.
In four League One outings for Crawley and one for Oxford, he has always had less than 15 minutes to impress.
On this occasion he was given more than half-an-hour and if his header from Sean Long’s cross had gone in, it would have capped a bright display.
It was probably the best opportunity Cheltenham had to score a winner, with Ben Tozer, Chris Hussey and George Lloyd also going close.
Smith is contracted until January and chances like the one he had at Boundary Park could prove to be pivotal in deciding his longer term future.
But he showed himself to be a hardworking front runner with height and presence, doing enough to suggest more will be seen of him in a Cheltenham shirt between now and the end of the calendar year.
Oldham Athletic: Z de la Paz; T Hamer, T Egert (D Fage 80), D Wheater, A Iacovitti; M Sylla, C Missilou, F Morais (K Adams 77); D Azankpo, M Maouche, J Smith (S Wilson 78). Subs not used: G Zabret, A Smith-brown, J Stott, C Eagles.
Cheltenham Town: S Flinders; C Raglan (C Clements 32), B Tozer, J Greaves; S Long, C Thomas, J Doyle-hayes (G Lloyd 56), R Broom, C Hussey; G Reilly (J Smith 56), A Addai. Subs not used: R Lovett, W Boyle, R Ince, D Bowry.
Referee: Alan Young.
Attendance: 3,496 (182 away).
Star Man: Ryan Broom.
Ryan Broom slides on his knees to celebrate the equaliser at Oldham