Cheltenham Town: Plummer strikes in Robins' opener
EVESHAM UNITED 1 CHELTENHAM TOWN 1
TRISTAN Plummer was the name on most Cheltenham Town supporters' lips on their way out of the Spiers and Hartwell Jubilee Stadium after Saturday's friendly draw at Evesham United.
The powerfully-built attacking midfielder went on at half-time and caught the eye with some skilful runs and an 80th-minute goal which spared the Robins defeat against competitive non-League opposition.
Plummer was one of seven trialists to take part in Cheltenham's first warm-up game as they build-up to the start of the season on August 11.
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Former Swindon Town goalkeeper Phil Smith also featured, making an excellent penalty save to prevent Evesham taking a two-goal lead in the 68th minute.
Ex-soldier Rob Farkins was the only trialist to play in the first half, partnering Steve Elliott at centre-half.
He would have needed to do something particularly special to persuade Mark Yates he was worth a contract, with Elliott and Alan Bennett already backed up by Harry Hooman and Keith Lowe.
There was no fairytale ending to Farkins' time at Cheltenham after making the transition from serving in Afghanistan to training with the League Two club in the hope of starting a career in professional football.
New recruit Billy Jones showed enough in the first half to suggest he will be the provider of some dangerous balls into the box from left-back and the former Exeter City man also showed composure and poise.
Cheltenham's other summer signing Sam Deering played in the hole behind striker Jeff Goulding and had a lively 45 minutes, but Yates would like him to be fitter.
Transfer-listed left-back Danny Andrew started in a central midfield role and delivered a teasing cross for Jermaine McGlashan to nod over in the 11th minute.
McGlashan sent one over for Goulding to head at Evesham goalkeeper Dean Coleman, who also blocked well from Deering in the 21st minute.
The back four looked comfortable and a shot dragged wide by former Robin Luke Corbett in the 41st minute was the closest Evesham went to threatening Scott Brown's goal before the break.
The second half was more eventful and the Robins XI played some neat football at times, with Plummer prominent.
He set up Northern Ireland midfielder Mark Hughes for a chance in the 47th minute, but the former Barnet man miskicked from a good position.
Coleman blocked well from Darryl Duffy before Evesham took the lead in the 52nd minute.
A cross from the dangerous Roland Agbor was inadvertently headed into his own net by young central defender Colin Hamilton, the worst possible start to his trial appearance.
He, former West Brom left-back Niall Wellington and Cardiff City's Ibrahim Farah failed to impress sufficiently enough to be considered ready to challenge for first-team places at Cheltenham.
Some crisp passing involving Russ Penn saw Plummer denied by Coleman, who recovered well to deny Duffy from point-blank range. Duffy also saw an effort cleared off the line by Henry Eze.
Evesham had the chance to double their advantage when Keith Lowe tripped Marcus Palmer, who is a product of the Cheltenham Centre of Excellence.
But Corbett's spot-kick was kept out by Smith, who looked alert and confident, but too experienced and expensive to be number two to Brown.
Leigh Downing fired wide from a good position in the 77th minute and three minutes later Plummer had beaten replacement goalkeeper Nick Thomas and pressed his claims for a deal.
He shuffled into space after receiving a pass from Kaid Mohamed and found the bottom left corner with an accurate shot and his place on the training camp in South Wales this week was secure.
Smith saved from Nathan Hicks in the 87th minute as a useful workout finished all-square.
Yates spoke to each of his trialists immediately after the final whistle, with only Plummer given the nod and on this evidence he could be a useful addition to the squad.
EVESHAM UNITED: D Coleman (N Thomas 60); R Wood, T Robinson, H Eze, E Masutto (L Osborne 46); P Gierdl (J Jones 51), L Downing, N Hicks; S Tulloch (M Palmer 51), L Corbett (P Gierdl 81), R Agbor.
CHELTENHAM TOWN (first half): S Brown; S Jombati, R Farkins, S Elliott, B Jones; M Pack, S Deering, D Andrew; J McGlashan, J Goulding, B Graham.
(Second half): P Smith, K Lowe, H Hooman, C Hamilton, N Wellington; M Hughes, R Penn, I Farah; T Plummer, D Duffy, K Mohamed. Sub not used: J Hanks.
REFEREE: K Morris.
STAR MAN: Tristan Plummer.