Former Bristol Rovers man helps Sunderland legend get promoted

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A former Bristol Rovers defender is celebrating after scoring the goal which won his side the league title - and promotion.

Former Bristol Rovers defender Tom Broadbent scored the decisive goal as he helped South Shields win the Northern Premier League title - to win promotion to the National League North.

Broadbent was on target for the Tyneside club as they beat Whitby Town 1-0 on Easter Monday, which helped them clinch the league title. It was the first time that they were promoted in 49 years, and now they will look forward to playing in the sixth tier of English football next season. Broabent’s goal helped him secure the second major honour of his footballing career.

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The 31-year-old was at Bristol Rovers for a season-and-a-half, and made 36 appearances in total scoring one goal for the Gas. He was signed from non-league Hayes and Yeading United in 2017 but left in January 2019 for Swindon Town, and helped them win the League Two title, making 44 appearances in total before he was released at the end of the 2021/22 campaign.

Broadbent, who played for Southampton, Portsmouth and Bournemouth's academies but instead made his step into the professional game through the non-league. He was in the army for six years, serving as a Lance Bombadier with the Royal Artillery in Afghanistan, and later returned to the UK to play non-league football.

He was at Eastleigh last year and played 30 times, but was persuaded by former Sunderland and Engand striker Kevin Phillips to join him up in the North East.

As a result of South Shield's promotion, they will potentially come up against Gloucester City, who have had several Bristol Rovers players in the past. King's Lynn, who were formerly managed by Tommy Widdrington before his departure to Aldershot, currently lead the division and have the likes of Josh Barrett and Theo Widdrington on their books.

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