Tick­ing over Broom equaliser keeps un­beaten run in­tact

Jon Palmer’s ver­dict on Chel­tenham Town’s 1-1 draw at Old­ham Ath­letic

Gloucestershire Echo - - SPORTING INDEX -

» 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.

Pic­ture by Antony Thomp­son - Thou­sand Word Me­dia

Ryan Broom slides on his knees to cel­e­brate the equaliser at Old­ham

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