Madden can't stop banging them in for Yeovil Town
Irish striker Paddy Madden’s remarkable run of goal-scoring in consecutive games for English League One side Yeovil Town finally came to an end last night as the club lost 2-0 to Colchester United. The 22-year-old must now set his sights firmly on this weekend’s promotion race six-pointer against third-placed Tranmere Rovers.
“Tranmere is a massive game for us,” says the former Bohemians striker who left for England full of confidence after a title win and Setanta Cup success. Two years on, he has kick-started his career in England in the most dramatic fashion since leaving Carlisle at the start of October.
“We’re right up there in contention,” he says, “and they’re one of the few sides around us that we still have to play where as most of the others in the top eight still have a fair few games against each other.”
That Yeovil are in a position to think in terms of a first ever promotion to the English game’s second tier at this stage of the season is largely down to the goals scored by the Irishman since his arrival just short of five months ago.
At that stage, the club, having made its best start to a campaign since joining the league proper a decade or so ago by taking 10 points from four games, was struggling to halt a run of six straight defeats.
Thrown straight in
Madden, who initially signed on loan from Carlisle, where he was very much out of favour, was thrown straight in and scored twice against, as it happens, last night’s opponents.
“The season didn’t start off well for me at all,” says the player who is the division’s top scorer despite having given most of his rivals the guts of a two-month head start.
“I didn’t feature for the first five weeks. I was injured for the first two but by the time the third came around, I was fine. No matter what I did, though, it didn’t seem like they were interested in me there anymore.
“I had numerous conversations with the manager about it but I was just kept being told that I wasn’t right.
“I was getting really frustrated with it all by the time the chance came to get out on loan to Yeovil and so I jumped at the chance.”
Taking a punt on the young Irishman will further enhance the reputation locally of Gary Johnson, the manager who guided Town to their first major cup – the FA Trophy – a year after arriving for his first stint in charge in 2001, into the football league a year after that and then to League One just two seasons further down the line.
The 57-year-old Londoner threw the new arrival straight into the side. When he recently described Madden, who has since signed a two-and-a-half year deal at Huish Park, as “the bargain of the year”, few, least of all those who let him leave Carlisle, could disagree.
Having kicked off at the new club with five goals in as many games, the Dubliner, who started his career at WFTA and had a spell on loan to Shelbourne from Bohemians, eased up before embarking on the spree that, prior to last night’s outing, had yielded 11 in eight games during which he had found the net at least once every time, a record-breaking run for Yeovil.
“People said that my problem at Carlisle was that I didn’t score enough goals which seems fair enough; I only got two in my whole time there,” says Madden. But I only started seven in nearly two years at the club.
“I made a lot more appearances and things started well but then in about 25 of the games I was involved in, I was only coming on with 10 or 15 minutes left to play.
“And even then I was being played out wide which isn’t my position.
“When I came here, Gary showed the faith that he had in me. He put me straight in; told me he wanted me to express myself, to get on the ball, get behind people; that’s my game and now people are beginning to see what I’m capable of.”
Madden acknowledges that his growing confidence has played a big part in perpetuating the run.
“Yeah, when a striker gets goals his confidence goes up, and you’re for trying lots of difficult things that just seem to come off. If they’re not going in for you and confidence is low, you end up looking to keep everything simple but not even that stuff will work.”
The stats are certainly stark with Yeovil’s win percentage having jumped from 35 to 65 with Madden in the side prior to last night’s outing and back at Brunton Park. Greg Abbott must be just a little bit put out given that when he let the player go, Carlisle led Yeovil by two points in the table whereas now they trail them by 17 with their own top scorer, Joe Garner, having managed less than half of his former team-mate’s tally of 18 goals.
And then Madden’s new flatmate, Kevin Dawson, who happens to be an old friend from Coolock, can still put him in his place on the first front however. Saturday’s draw at Doncaster was the first time since the midfielder arrived at the club that points have been dropped, with last night his first defeat. “He’s done brilliant,” says Madden, who, despite having failed to maintain his streak, continues to do pretty well himself.