Chris Angulo

Don’t Fall In Love With Footballers

This week our time machine takes us back only a very short time to look at the goals of Tom Knowles, following his recent departure for Walsall.

Tom was born in Cambridge and graduated from the Cambridge United academy to join their youth team at the age of 17. His time at Cambridge was characterised by numerous loans out to local non-league clubs such as Cambridge City, St Neots and St Ives (not the Cornwall one). With Cambridge challenging for promotion from League Two, Tom’s first team opportunities were limited and a deal was agreed to take him to Yeovil for an undisclosed fee in November 2020, shortly after turning 22.

After a number of appearances mostly from the bench, he broke into the Glovers’ first team with the 3-1 home win over Dover in January 2021. He was almost ever-present from that game onwards, scoring 7 goals and 5 assists from 24 starts and 9 sub appearances in 2019/20. His first goal came in February away at Hartlepool and what a belter it was, a long range shot into the top corner. All of his goals that season were expertly taken, not a tap-in among them. The only ‘easy’ goal at home to King’s Lynn still showed incredible anticipation to intercept an under-hit pass and take it around the goalie. His second goal of that game was probably the pick of that season, another shot from outside the area curled around the diving keeper.

Most of his first appearances were during the pandemic in front of empty stadiums, but when the fans returned in 2021/22 he became the main man, taking the No. 11 shirt and scoring 11 goals and 14 assists from 43 starts and 7 sub appearances, in a team that was not overflowing with goal-scoring opportunities. He got off to a relatively slow start, with his first goal not coming until the end of October against Woking although he went on a bit of a spree after that, with brilliant goals against Eastleigh and Bromley. He seemed to be in a goal of the season competition season with himself, with the occasional interruption from Charlie Wakefield. He scored so many great goals last season that I had to cut come of them out to make a Top 20, otherwise they would have been virtually all Tom Knowles. His 14 assists were the most in a single season since Ed Upson made 18 in the promotion campaign of 2012/13. He scored three from outside the area, including my own personal favourite in the 2-1 win at home to Eastleigh. Another highlight was when he dispossessed two Barnet players from their own free kick and then proceeded to run over half the length of the pitch to beat the keeper. It was not a surprise when he left, perhaps more so that he didn’t go higher up than Walsall, but having taken their No. 10 shirt we wish him all the best there.

Reviewing all of Tom’s goals and how consistently high the quality was, it’s hard not to draw comparisons with the legendary Gavin Williams. Tom scored 18 goals and 19 assists in 74 starts, that’s exactly one return, or in modern parlance ‘goal involvement’ every other game.

In his first spell with us between 2002 and 2004, Gavin Williams made 107 starts, scoring 21 goals and 23 assists, or one GI every 2.4 games. Combining his later spells between 2010 and 2013 he made another 54 starts, scoring 13 goals and 14 assists, or one GI every two games – exactly the same as Knowles, but two divisions higher and to be fair, almost ten years older. When Gavin joined us in 2002 he was only 21, although he had been playing for our feeder team Hereford for almost five years.

It’s not an exact comparison but it is an interesting one – at Conference level, Tom’s GI of 1 in 2 was much higher than Gavin’s of 1 in 2.8, and it’s not controversial to say that Williams was playing in a much better team. The 2002/03 team scored 121 goals in all competitions, followed by 84 in 2003/04 and 108 in 2004/05. Of course this is a double-edged sword, as the team scored far more often meaning it was more likely he would score or assist, but there were more creative players around him to contribute – in 02/03, McIndoe and Johnson got 39 assists between them, and in 03/04 Johnson got 20 on his own.

By contrast the teams Knowles was involved in scored 67 in 2020/21 and 72 in 2021/22. Last season he was involved in almost exactly half (48%) of all the goals scored while he was on the pitch – either scoring or assisting 25 times out of 52 goals scored in the games that he started.

As for Super Gav, in 2002/03 he scored six which were all pretty good, my personal favourite was the screamer he scored against Doncaster to level the scores at Huish Park. The best of 2003/04 was the solo goal at Kidderminster, and the only time he scored from open play in 2004/05 before his move to West Ham was a brilliant team goal against Bristol Rovers both started and finished by the man himself.

In his later spells, he popped up with a few free kicks including one on his second debut against Hartlepool, and his only goal of 2010/11 against Swindon. The best of 2011/12 was an absolute beauty against Oldham, and his last goal for the club in December 2012 against the same team was probably the best of the lot as he picked up the ball inside his own half, dribbled past a couple of players and several divots in the pitch, and scored from the better part of 35 yards. In fact he seemed to really enjoy playing against Oldham, scoring five and assisting twice in four games against them between 2010 and 2012.



Yeovil Town 3 Plymouth Argyle 2 (AET) – Tuesday 24th August 2004

On 24th August 2004, Yeovil were drawn at home to then-Championship Plymouth in the first round of the League Cup. They would make national headlines across the media the next day due to the bizarre circumstances of the first goal, the first of a unique hat-trick scored by Lee Johnson.

The contentious goal came after 28 minutes when Plymouth defender Graham Coughlan left the pitch for treatment following a blow to the face. From the resultant throw-in, Lee Johnson picked up the ball around the half way line and hoofed it up the pitch towards Luke McCormick in the Westland End goal. McCormick misjudged the ball completely, and let it bounce past him into the net. There was no attempt to score from Johnson, the ball wasn’t even hit that hard as it bounced pathetically into the net.

By the time Plymouth had gathered themselves enough to kick off again, instruction had come from Gary Johnson to the Yeovil players to allow the visitors to score an equalising goal unopposed, which Stevie Crawford then did.

It was this rare act of sportsmanship in allowing the opposition to score an uncontested goal which would be repeated and written about across the country’s media the following day.

However there were still more than 60 minutes – at least – of the game to go. Having been gifted one goal Plymouth were then presented with another before half time, this time from the referee as a penalty was awarded for an apparent infringement against Liam Fontaine although it was not clear to anyone what for. Dead ball specialist Paul Wotton stepped up and fired the visitors ahead – it was not his first involvement in the game for the future Glover, as he could have seen red for a professional foul in the first minute. Wotton was later one of an influx of players who would save the Glovers from League One relegation by helping to take them from bottom at Christmas to 14th in May 2011.

Plymouth dominated much of the second half but were unable to add to their lead, and the travelling fans were silenced when Lee Johnson picked up another throw around 40 yards out, ran unopposed towards the box and let fly a shot into the top right hand corner from well outside the penalty area. McCormick got a hand to it, but was unable to keep it out.

The game went to extra time, with Yeovil adopting a 3-4-3, changed from the 4-4-2 they had started with. Just before break, that man Wotton was involved again when he brought down Darren Way for a foul around 30 yards out. Up stepped Lee Johnson again to give Yeovil the lead with the best of the three, a scorching free kick hit so hard that the cameras almost missed it – and not for the last time that season.

With Plymouth out of energy and out of ideas, Yeovil held on for a historic win which marked their first Championship side knocked out of the League Cup – a feat they would repeat the following season with a 2-0 win away at Ipswich.

This was surely the longest range hat-trick of all time, with a combined distance of around 120 yards. There can’t be many – if any – players who have scored from the half way line and gone on to score a hat trick in the same game. Although Lee Johnson had often taken free kicks and corners whenever the opportunity arose since joining Yeovil in 2001, he really stepped up his game in 2004/05. Having proved himself more than capable at League Two level with an incredible 20 assists and five goals in 2003/04, Johnson scored 11 goals and 17 assists in the League Two title-winning season. Seven of those 11 were scored from outside the area, including all three of the hat-trick against Plymouth as well as a free kick against Grimsby and another screamer against Wycombe. By comparison, no Yeovil player has achieved more than 20 assists in one season in the 18 years since then – the closest was Ed Upson in 2012/13 with 18.

By a strange coincidence, Gary Johnson also instructed his team to allow an uncontested goal during his second spell as manager of the Glovers in August 2013. Incredibly this also occurred in the League Cup, this time against Birmingham, and in more controversial circumstances – chasing the game at 2-1 down in injury time, Byron Webster opted not to return the ball to the opposition and instead chipped the keeper to level at 2-2. In extra time, Luke Ayling scored an absolute screamer with his left foot to put the Glovers 3-2 up, and it was only after the break in extra time that Johnson instructed his players to concede. The match was levelled at 3-3 and Birmingham went on to win on penalties. The circumstances here were arguably different, as against Plymouth Lee Johnson had no intention of scoring and it was a mistake by the goalkeeper (although you could argue that if your keeper can’t intercept a ball from 50 yards out, that’s probably on him). However against Birmingham, if you’re 2-1 up going into injury time, wouldn’t you expect the opposition to do anything they can to equalise, especially if your own team has been wasting time to see out the game? Also Byron Webster made that decision, and offering the opposition a goal more than 15 minutes later makes much less sense, especially as Ayling’s screamer deserved to be the winner of the tie. Seeing Lee Clark’s furious puckered up face after his team had won that game, it would have been even funnier if he’d had to face the media having lost.

It also wasn’t the only time Lee Johnson was involved in a comedy goal – particularly in 2002/03 and 2003/04, the Glovers played a very fast multi-ball game and would very often take quick set pieces to catch out the opposition. This happened on at least two noteworthy occasions – in their first ever League match at Rochdale, Johnson caught the opposition completely unaware following a foul to put the Glovers 2-0 up. A few months before in the televised match against Doncaster, it was Johnson again but this time he was the beneficiary of some quick thinking by Kevin Gall. With the Doncaster keeper penalised for intercepting a back-pass, while the players were arguing with the referee Gall wrestled the ball from the keeper, placed it on the six yard line and passed to Johnson who scored. What was better, it put Yeovil 3-0 up at half time against one of their biggest rivals, on the memorable day that the Glovers were confirmed as Conference Champions after 108 years as a non-league club.

Team that day: Chris Weale, Adam Lockwood (sub. Paul Terry, 57), Michael Rose, Terry Skiverton, Liam Fontaine, Darren Way, Lee Johnson, Kevin Gall, Adrian Caceres (sub. Roy O’Brien, 65), Bartosz Tarachulski (sub. Simon Weatherstone, 89), Phil Jevons. Subs not used: Steve Collis, Kezie Ibe


Walsall 0 Yeovil Town 2 (AET) – Tuesday 9th August 2016

In August 2016, Matt Dolan scored one of the greatest ever goals for Yeovil, a Beckham-esque 65-yard effort from inside his own half against Walsall in the first round of the League Cup.

Yeovil were in League Two at the time and their opponents in League One, having recently been to Wembley in the Football League Trophy under Dean Smith, so it sort of counts as an upset as well. After a goalless 90 minutes at the Bescot, an Alex Lacey header was deflected in by Bakayoko to give the Glovers the lead in the first half of extra time. Dolan’s spectacular effort sealed the deal in the 111th minute. Yeovil would go on to play Everton at Goodison in the second round, trailing 1-0 to a goal from Aaron Lennon for much of the match, before further goals from Ross Barkley and Kone wrapped up the win. Everton put out a strong line-up in front of just under 25,000 – Lukaku played 90 minutes, but didn’t score.

Hero on that night Matt Dolan was not best-known for his scoring exploits, scoring 9 goals in 103 appearances. He first joined us on loan from parent club Middlesbrough in January 2013 as cover for the injured Joe Edwards. He made his league debut for Yeovil just before his 20th birthday in a 2-0 win against Sheffield Utd that was part of our eight-match winning run on the way to the League One play-offs. His first loan spell was cut short by injury but he made a return right at the end of the season, scoring a goal and assist on his first start back, a vital 2-1 win at Notts County which ended a run of one win in eight and took us back into the play-off places. The winner that day came from a direct free kick, his only goal that season. He played in five of the last ten matches, and came on briefly as a substitute for James Hayter in the play-off final.

Over the next few years Matt had spells at home town club Hartlepool as well as Bradford, before making a surprise return to Yeovil in 2015 after the Glovers were relegated to League Two. Over the next two seasons he was ever-present, making 94 appearances and scoring eight times. Many of his goals were penalties, but aside from that highlights were probably the goal that kick-started the fightback that would end with an injury-time 4-3 win at Barnet, and the free kicks he scored both home and away in wins over Crewe in the same season, the second of which in April 2017 was his last goal for the club.

Refusing a new contract at the end of 2016/17, Matt signed for fellow League Two side Newport, where he still plays today, making over 200 appearances to date.

Team that day: Artur Krysiak, Liam Shephard (sub. Bevis Mugabi, 54), Ryan Dickson, Matt Butcher, Alex Lacey, Matt Dolan, Alex Lawless, Kevin Dawson, Otis Khan (sub. Tahvon Campbell, 101), Ryan Hedges, Tom Eaves (sub. Omar Sowunmi, 115). Subs not used: Jonny Maddison, Joe Lea

By coincidence, this day 18th August back in 2009 also saw another long range effort for the Glovers, this time Ryan Mason’s spectacular volley against Exeter, when the 18-year old was on loan from Spurs.




Yeovil Town 2 Colchester 0 – Saturday 18th August 1990

The last of our throwback series on the move to the new stadium 32 years ago brings us to the first competitive match, at the start of the 1990/91 season. We have already covered the last match at Huish and the opening of Huish Park which was celebrated with a friendly against Newcastle United. On Saturday 18th August 1990 came the opening Conference fixture with the visit of Colchester United. Under manager Brian Hall, the Glovers included many well known faces such as Mickey Spencer, Paul Wilson and Mark Shail. The Glovers won 2-0 with a goal in each half from Spencer and Conning. It was a classic kit as well, with the white shirt, green shorts and ‘Bass’ sponsorship. That’s one shirt I wouldn’t mind us bringing back, we used a very similar style as the away kit in 2002/03, although I don’t think it got many outings – Northwich (also in green) and Dagenham (Bank Holiday Monday, home kit still in the wash) are the only ones that spring to mind.

Mickey Spencer joined Yeovil from Wokingham in 1989 after buying himself out of the army. He went on to be one of only six players to have scored over 100 goals for the Glovers in the post-war era. He was virtually ever-present, making over 50 appearances in four of his six years with the club between 1989 and 1995. Mickey saw a lot in his time with us – the move to Huish Park, league clubs knocked out of the FA Cup in 1991, 92 and 93, culminating in that famous match against Arsenal during which he certainly left his mark on England’s right back with what is generously known as a ‘forward’s challenge’. Sadly his time ended with relegation to the Isthmian League in 1995, but he will always be remembered as a legend. We’ll even forgive him for signing for Bath. Only one player has scored over 100 goals in green and white since Mickey departed and that was one Warren Patmore who had an equally illustrious career with us, with just as many ups, downs and FA Cup exploits.

Colchester had recently been relegated from what was then called the Fourth Division. In those days there tended to be a considerable gap between the relegated clubs and Conference teams –the Conference (or Alliance Premier League as it was originally called) was created to put forward one team for promotion each season rather than have multiple clubs competing against each other for ‘election’ which would inevitably result in them taking votes off each other. Cases of successful election were rare, and were often a result of needing to replace league clubs who had gone out of business. There was a bottleneck at the top of the non-league pyramid which was a barrier to entry as the same clubs were re-elected year after year.

This did not immediately fix the problem as in the early years of the Alliance Premier League there was no automatic promotion and the winners still had to be elected. In reality, not a single club was elected from the Alliance Premier, as every year the winners were denied until the introduction of automatic promotion in 1986/87, the same year as it was renamed the ‘Vauxhall Conference’; even though GM haven’t sponsored the division since 1998, it is often still referred to as that. The winners that year, Scarborough, became the first club to be promoted from the Conference, under the leadership of one Neil Warnock. The following two years saw relegated teams bounce back up at the first attempt, as Lincoln in 1988 and Darlington in 1989 were able to remain full time which gave them a significant advantage over the rest of the division who were mostly, if not all, still full time. Colchester were relegated in 1990 and took two attempts, finishing 2nd in 1991 and first on goal difference in 1992, narrowly beating out Martin O’Neill’s Wycombe. Colchester also managed the rare feat of winning the Conference and FA Trophy double in 1991. An achievement that, as good as we were in 2003, Yeovil were unable to replicate.





Scunthorpe 3 Yeovil Town 4 – Saturday 1st October 2005

Most Yeovil fans who were alive at the time will have no problems remembering the incredible 4-3 top of the table clash against Scunthorpe in February 2005. The Glovers were 2-1 down at the break, but managed to turn it around in the second half thanks to a Lee Johsnon free kick, a header from Rory Fallon who still had directions to the ground written on his hand having only signed on loan that afternoon, and of course the incredible 35-yarder from Arron Davies that sealed the deal.

However, what some may not remember was that the next time we played the Iron in October of the same year also ended 4-3 to the men in green and white, this time having to come back from 2-0 down.

The meeting took place in League One, with both teams having been promoted from League Two in 2004/05. At the time of the match, both sides were in mid-table. Yeovil had recently lost Gary Johnson as manager, with this being Steve Thompson’s third game in charge (of this spell). He won his first game at home to Port Vale, but then the following Tuesday the Glovers surrendered a 1-0 half time lead to lose 4-1 away at Southend. Although a poor performance at the time, especially in the second half, Southend would go on to win the league with their strike force of Shaun Goater, Freddy Eastwood and future Glover Wayne Gray bullying a lot of defences that season.

It looked like it might be another one of those days, as Yeovil were 2-0 down inside the first 20 minutes. The hosts boasted a potent strike force of 19-year olds Andy Keogh and Billy Sharp, both of whom would go on to play in the Premier League. The Yeovil defence was at sixes and sevens, with Liam Fontaine struggling at left back and Nathan Jones having a severe off day in midfield. Although he would go on to be our captain and one of the most consistent players under Russell Slade, his first season’s performances were much more up and down and this one was definitely a down. After Sharp and Keogh both scored, Jones was hauled off after 25 minutes as, without much to lose Steve Thompson re-organised his attack, bringing on Matt Harrold to partner Bastianini up front and putting Jevons on the left. As great a player as Phil Jevons was for us, he did occasionally present a bit of a selection headache – if you partner him with a target man, you have no pace up front and a possible shortage of goals. If you partner him with a quicker man, you have no height. It was less of an issue in League Two, as Davies and Gall could both join from midfield, but in League One we were seeing a lot less of the ball. As time went on, Jevons was increasingly played in midfield with Harrold and Davies providing the best combination of physical presence, pace and finishing as a partnership. Arriving as a 21-year old from Brentford in the summer of 2005, Matt Harrold started mostly from the bench at the start of the season and it was this game that saw him come of age as a Yeovil player. He only stayed one season at Huish Park as he was not a part of Russell Slade’s plans after the arrival of Wayne Gray and Lee Morris, but would go on to have a long Football League career at the likes of Wycombe, Bristol Rovers and Southend.

Gary Johnson had put a lot of faith in Bastianini to bring both physical presence and goals, but he took time to settle and was not really a physical player. Although he will probably go down with many Glovers fans as an expensive mistake, he did have his qualities and was involved in all four goals at Scunthorpe, providing direct assists for three out of them. He probably felt the pressure of being the main man and who knows, if any of his attempted lobs from the half way line had gone in instead of fractionally over the bar, his career at Yeovil might have been a very different one.

Crucially in this game, Bastianini missed some early chances to the frustration of his team mates, but became much more productive when being less selfish and creating chances for others, playing excellent balls to Harrold for both of his goals.

With the score still at 0-2, the home side got in behind the Yeovil defence again only for Skiverton to slide in with a perfectly timed tackle from behind inside the area – mis-time that, and we could well have been 3-0 down and down to ten men, but it became the turning point of the match.

The comeback started with Jevons’ ball to set up Way in the 26th minute, and Jevons himself lashing home a loose ball to level the scores before half time. Scunthorpe were rattled and were much more timid after half time, allowing the Glovers to take a 4-2 lead. With 25 minutes still to go, there was still time for them to pull one back, with Sharp scoring his second from close range after a goalmouth scramble. The game became end to end and very bad tempered – both Skiverton and Way were ordered off the field to receive treatment despite having been fouled, as both had to have blood-stained shirts replaced and Skiverton re-appeared with a Terry Butcher-style bandage on his head. Very late on Keogh slid in a rebound and the ground erupted as it took quite some time for both fans and players to register that it had been disallowed for offside. There was more incident in injury time, as substitute Wayne Corden picked up the ball unmarked on the edge of the box and crashed his shot off the crossbar, it landed inside the area but Yeovil were able to clear and hold on for the win, sending us from 21st up to 15th in the table.

The following week the Glovers completed their third consecutive game against fellow promoted sides at home to Swansea, which they also won 1-0. The result took us up to 8th and finally gave us some breathing space after a very difficult start to life in League One.

Team that day: Chris Weale, Kevin Amankwaah, Liam Fontaine, Terry Skiverton, Efe Sodje, Darren Way, Lee Johnson, Nathan Jones (Matt Harrold, 25), Arron Davies, Pablo Bastianini (Paul Terry, 73), Phil Jevons. Subs not used: Steve Collis, Adam Lockwood, David Poole


Yeovil Town 1 Newcastle Utd 2 – Saturday 4th August 1990

Yeovil finally completed their long proposed move to a new stadium at Houndstone in 1990, after discussions had begun as early as 1985.

As we all know the old Huish ground was sold to Tesco, land was purchased from the army and the new stadium became one of the first to open after the 1989 Hillsborough disaster, with no pens or fences in sight.

At the time, the Glovers were experiencing a relatively prosperous time on the pitch under the old school management of Brian Hall, having won the Isthmian League in 1988 and finishing 7th in the Conference in 1990. They finished that season winning the Bob Lord Trophy and signed off their time at the historic old ground with a 1-0 win against Telford, with the last goal at the ground being scored on a scorching hot day by Neil Cordice.

The opening match at Huish Park took place on Saturday 4th August against Newcastle United. The Glovers lost 2-1, but did at least score their first goal at their new home on that day, thanks to a smart finish from Andy Wallace. At that time Newcastle were in the second tier, experiencing a few years in the doldrums before their revitalisation in the mid-90’s under Kevin Keegan. Keegan arrived in 1992, leading them to promotion to the Premier League the following season where they would soon challenge Man Utd for the title in 1996 and 1997. However a team slightly less illustrious than the one that would contain the likes of Alan Shearer, David Ginola and Faustino Asprilla were the visitors to Huish Park, with veterans Mark McGhee and John Anderson scoring the Magpies’ goals, before Wallace reduced the arrears in the second half.

The first competitive game took place on 18th August 1990, a Conference fixture against recently relegated Colchester. The Glovers won 2-0, with goals from Mickey Spencer and Peter Conning. Colchester’s stay in the Conference was a short one, finishing 2nd in 1991 and winners in 1992 – with 94 points, but only goal difference ahead of Wycombe. The Glovers were mid-table in their first few years at Huish Park, peaking at 4th in 1992/93.

The attendance for the Newcastle game was 5,093, which stood as a record until the visit of Hereford in the second round of the FA Cup in 1992 brought in over 8,000. This was beaten when the marginally more attractive fixture of Arsenal in the following round set a new record of 8,612 which stood until the home terrace was expanded and covered, attracting 8,868 against Rushden in 2001.

Yeovil Town 2 Bury 1 – Saturday 17th April 2004

Not many players make the kind of instant impact that striker Dani Rodrigues did when he arrived at Yeovil in April 2004, and his first game was one that all who were there will probably always remember.

Although the Glovers found themselves able to adjust well on the whole to League Two, finding themselves 3rd at Christmas, they experienced a difficult run of form after the FA Cup match against Liverpool, winning only four of the next 16 games which saw them slide down to 9th and out of the play-off picture. With Jackson and Gall both unable to find the net after Christmas, Edwards injured and Stansfield out of favour, goals were getting harder to come by. Gary Johnson brought in loan strikers Lee Matthews from Bristol City and Andy Bishop from Walsall with mixed results, but he was not happy with them and neither stayed long. With fives games to go and hopes of reaching the play-offs fading away, he signed out of contract Portuguese striker Dani Rodrigues (no relation to Hugo), who was a free agent at the time.

Dani had started his career in the Portuguese second tier at Feirense, before coming to the UK for a brief loan at Bournemouth in 1998. However, during this loan Southampton had spotted his talent and poached him from their south coast neighbours, signing him on a permanent contract at the age of 19. In his first full season he was top scorer for the reserves and after a couple of appearances for the Saints’ first team, was sent out on loan to Bristol City but broke his ankle, and after breaking the same ankle again before reaching full fitness was released by Southampton in 2002. Signing for Walsall, he stayed for a year making only one substitute appearance. He spent a season in Greece at top flight club Ionikos, which is where he joined us on a short term contract at the end of March 2004.

His debut came as a substitute in the home match against Bury on 17th April 2004. The mid-table Shakers had nothing to play for, but took a surprise lead just before half time through Dave Nugent. Early in the second half Gary Johnson shook things up, bringing on Rodrigues for his debut in place of Adam Stansfield on 49 minutes.

Rodrigues made one of the most spectacular debuts it is possible to make, scoring with an incredible overhead kick just five minutes after coming on, which will stand for many as one of the best goals ever scored at Huish Park. He topped that off by scoring a much less spectacular deflected second goal to put Yeovil ahead just four minutes later. The Glovers held on, as the arrival of the Portuguese striker propelled them into the final strait of the campaign. They won their next two games away at York and again at Southend, as two more goals from Rodrigues in a 2-0 win at Roots Hall pushed the Glovers into the play-off places with two games to go.

Yeovil just fell at the final hurdle, as defeat at home to promoted Hull despite Dani’s namesake Hugo scoring his only goal for the club, was followed by a late win at Lincoln on the last day, but it wasn’t quite enough.

Dani missed the last game through a minor injury, so it was down to substitutes Stansfield and Edwards to get the goals along with Gavin Williams. While many Glovers fans were keen to retain Dani’s services going into the 2004/05 season, there were some doubts about his extensive historical injury problems, as well as our ability to offer the kind of money he would be looking for. In the end, he signed for Bournemouth, who were in League One at the time and were able to offer the money and contract that we could not. He spent two years at Dean Court, where he scored 7 goals from 60 appearances. Yeovil instead signed Phil Jevons, who all things considered worked out fairly well as he was top scorer for the next two seasons.

After that Dani became slightly nomadic again, playing for the New Zealand Knights in Auckland before returning to the south coast again for Eastleigh and Dorchester, and then moving to Cyprus and playing for a number of clubs there. He was never really prolific at any of the clubs he played for, moving fairly frequently, so unfortunately was not able to fulfil the promise he had shown early in his career. Even though his appearance stats for Yeovil may read Played: 4; Goals 4, he will always be remembered for that one spectacular goal in April 2004.

Team that day: Steve Collis, Adam Lockwood, Colin Miles, Terry Skiverton, Hugo Rodrigues (sub. Andy Lindegaard, 52), Paul Terry, Lee Johnson, Nick Crittenden, Kevin Gall (sub. Nathan Talbott, 90), Jake Edwards, Adam Stansfield (sub. Dani Rodrigues, 49). Subs not used: Ryan Northmore, Kirk Jackson




The signing of a 21-year old Gavin Williams from Hereford in June 2002 was arguably the key that turned Yeovil into not only Conference title contenders, but eventual champions by a comfortable distance. After scoring six goals and ten assists in the title-winning season, he would go on to be the player of the season in Yeovil’s first Football League campaign. At a time when the Glovers found goalscoring the most difficult part of the step up, he was the club’s leading scorer with 13 goals and 9 assists, including a spectacular solo effort against Kidderminster and a last minute winner in the last game of the season against Lincoln.

In the following season that would eventually see Yeovil crowned champions of League Two, he sustained a wrist injury in the second game that saw him miss the early part of the season. He returned in dramatic fashion, scoring a late penalty to secure a 1-0 win at home to Swansea, annoying the opposition with his customary Cardiff ‘Ayatollah’ celebration even though it was not in front of the away fans (this time). Knowing it would wind up the opposition fans, he was well known for his eye for mischief.

Gavin scored two goals and four assists from 14 starts that season, before being sold to Championship side West Ham for £250,000. His other goal was in the memorable game against Bristol Rovers at the Memorial Stadium, which saw the home side have two men sent off but still come back to draw 2-2. It was an excellent move which was started in his own half and then finished off with a curling shot by the Welsh wizard. It was always eventful with Super Gav around, such as the time he had a penalty saved against Shrewsbury on the day Yeovil went top of League Two in 2004 – it was ordered re-taken for an infringement, but the re-take was saved again, the only time I think I have ever seen a penalty missed twice (or saved, to be fair). His last action in his first spell for the Glovers was to be (rightly) sent off in the away game at Lincoln in November 2004. Although it was his only straight red for us – his other dismissal against Torquay in 2004 coming for two bookings – let’s be honest he came close to a few others as he was a player who liked to tread that fine line when it came to discipline, and as we all know he loved to wind up the opposition players and fans.

Gavin’s first goal for West Ham came in the 2-1 defeat at Leeds in February 2004. West Ham were on their way to promotion from the Championship, and once they became a Premier League club he found it difficult to break into the team, making only one appearance in the League Cup. He was loaned out to Ipswich in November 2005, making the deal permanent for £300,000 during the transfer window.

He remained at Ipswich until 2008 when, finding his first team opportunities limited, he linked back up with Gary Johnson for a second time, signing for Bristol City where he joined his former team-mates Lee Johnson, Michael McIndoe and Chris Weale.

Towards the end of his time at Bristol City, we were unexpectedly reunited with Super Gav when he was brought in on loan by manager Terry Skiverton in 2010 – we have covered his second debut before, as in typical Gav fashion he got one goal, one assist and a red card all in just over an hour. He scored five goals in that loan spell, and came back for another loan in 2010/11 before re-signing permanently at the age of 31 at the start of 2011/12. During that season, he was reunited for a third time with Gary Johnson, returning as manager in January 2012, and went on to make a further 28 appearances in the League One promotion season in 2012/13. He scored several more spectacular goals in those latter spells, including that game against Hartlepool, away at Oldham, at home to Scunthorpe which was unfortunately lost in the fog, and then his final goal for us was probably the best of all, at home to Oldham again.

Gavin left us for the final time in the summer of 2013, following promotion to the Championship. After a brief spell at Woking during which he scored five goals, he packed up football for good in December 2013, calling time on a career of 558 games and 92 goals.

Or so he thought.

Following the death of his father, Gavin’s contract with Woking was terminated by mutual consent so that he could return home to Merthyr. He had no intention of getting involved with football there, but Merthyr Town manager Garry Shephard called him to ask if he wanted a game, and kept calling and calling until eventually he said yes. In 2014, he became assistant manager, stepping up to manager from 2016 to eventually calling it a day in 2021. He saw the club through some very difficult times financially, and at one point was told he had to make a 70% cut in the playing budget before the next game. Despite some players offering to play for free, he did not feel it was fair to ask them to do that as he could not guarantee their future wages, so for one game against Chesham he was forced to field not only youth team players, but also members of his office staff. With a 15-year old in goal and one of the office workers at centre half, Merthyr lost 13-1 in a game that has gone down in the club’s history.

There is an an article on the Wales Online site which goes into the situation and is well worth a read.

There is also footage of a goal the player-manager scored in the FA Trophy against Cinderford in 2016 which, even at the age of 36 evoked the Gavin Williams we all knew from his time at Yeovil.


Yeovil Town 1 Fulham 0 – Monday 15th November 1993

To celebrate the return to Yeovil Town of green and white stripes for the first time in almost 30 years, we’re taking a look back at when the striped shirts of Yeovil were enhancing their FA Cup reputation in the early 90’s.

After the move to Huish Park in 1990, Yeovil found themselves embarking on a number of FA Cup runs despite the turmoil off the pitch. In 1991/92, they beat Walsall 1-0 in a replay after drawing 1-1 at Huish Park. The following season saw the epic run to the third round, despatching League sides Torquay and Hereford before bowing out at home to an Ian Wright hat-trick against Arsenal.

This was possibly what tempted the Sky TV cameras to come to Huish Park for the First Round tie against Fulham in November 1993. Sky had taken over coverage of the newly re-branded Premier League along with some FA Cup ties in 1992, so they were still the new kids on the block. This would be the first time that Yeovil were shown live on television, in front of over 6,000 fans. Fulham were on their way down at the time, in Division Two (now League One), from which they were relegated at the end of the season to play in the bottom tier for the first time in their history. After three years in the basement division, they were purchased by Harrod’s owner Mohamed Al-Fayed who led them back up through the divisions, appointing Kevin Keegan as manager along the way and taking them back to the Premier League in 2001.

In a slightly turgid game low on chances, Andy Wallace popped up with an inspired solo goal to settle the tie in injury time. Besides Wallace, the team at that time contained such well-remembered players as Paul Wilson and Mickey Spencer. Yeovil’s player-manager at the time was Steve Rutter, although this would be one of his last games in charge as he stepped down at the end of the year and was replaced by the returning Brian Hall. Despite the success of a 4th placed finish and FA Cup tie against Arsenal in 1992/93, the squad was ageing and there was no money to replace them. The return of Brian Hall was not enough to turn the team’s fortunes around and the Glovers were relegated from the Conference in 1994/95.

Although his last games for Yeovil came at a difficult time for the club on and off the pitch, Andy Wallace would end his time as one of the club’s top scorers with 61 goals from 298 appearances, a few places below his team-mate Mickey Spencer, who with 104 goals from 281 appearances is still at No. 5 in the list of post-war goalscorers for Yeovil Town.

Yeovil Town 2 Hereford Utd 2 – Tuesday 21st April 2009

It’s always a special moment when your goalkeeper scores, as it’s usually when you are in desperate need of a goal and are throwing the kitchen sink forward in a last ditch hope of getting something out of a game. Whether it’s Paul Robinson for Leeds, Jimmy Glass for Carlisle or Alisson for Liverpool, it’s usually fairly dramatic. And when it’s the locally born lad returning to help his home town avoid relegation by scoring in injury time against their old rivals, it doesn’t come much more dramatic than that.

Yeovil have had their share of scoring goalkeepers down the years, as Tony Pennock not only scored a penalty in the 4-0 win over Chertsey in 1997, he also saved and then scored a penalty in the FA Cup First Round shoot-out the following year. Back in 1991, David Fry famously scored from his own half with a wind-assisted goal in the 7-2 demolition of Slough Town. Former loan goalkeeper Asmir Begovic scored a similar goal in the Premier League for Stoke in 2013.

Following the sacking of Russell Slade in February 2009, it took some time for rookie manager Terry Skiverton to steady the ship. Following a run of three points from eight games, the Glovers were able to get back on track thanks largely to a trio of loan signings from Spurs in the shape of Andros Townsend, Jonathan Obika and Danny Hutchins. In addition came former player and legend Chris Weale, who left for Bristol City in 2006 but came back on loan to help out in 2009. Yeovil-born Weale had come up through the youth and reserve teams at Yeovil, making his Conference debut in the 2-1 win against Boston in February 2001, just after his 19th birthday. He made over 200 appearances between 2001 and 2006, winning the FA Trophy, Conference and League Two. He memorably pulled off a blinding save in the first minute of the FA Trophy from future team mate Kirk Jackson, and saved a penalty from Conference top scorer Paul Barnes in the 4-0 demolition of Doncaster on the day the Glovers sealed the Conference title. In the League, he also saved a penalty in the 1-0 win over Kidderminster in 2004.

All four players made their debuts at the same time, in the home draw against MK Dons. This began a run of 11 points from the next five games, as Weale kept an impressive five clean sheets in his first five games. This run took Yeovil up to 16th and almost to safety, but they just needed a few more points to get them over the line. Potentially winnable games against Cheltenham and Hartlepool were both lost, leaving the Glovers hovering above the relegation zone and running out of games.

With just three games to go, the visit of old rivals Hereford seemed like a home banker. Experiencing a brief spell out of their depth in League One, they were bottom of the league and heading for relegation. A win would be enough to mathematically secure league status for Yeovil. However things didn’t go to plan as a first half goal from Myrie-Williams put the Bulls ahead and another after the break from Guinan put them 2-0 up. As the lowest scorers in the division, Yeovil were up against it. Luke Rodgers did pull one back on 78 minutes but it didn’t look like it would be enough, until in injury time the Glovers got a corner and Weale decided to go up for it. He could not get to the resultant ball in, but it did end in a shot from Peltier that was saved by the keeper, resulting in another corner. Last chance saloon, and Weale stayed up. Rising like a salmon, he smashed a header home for the equaliser, resulting in the kind of pile-on usually only seen in primary school playgrounds.

He had secured a point that, while not making Yeovil mathematically safe on the night, would turn out to be enough – it put the Glovers on 50 points, and in the end Northampton would occupy the last relegation place with 49, so effectively you could say Wealey’s goal did save Yeovil from relegation. As soon as the match re-started the referee blew his whistle, and we’d scored with literally the last kick of the game.

Team that day: Chris Weale, Danny Hutchins, Nathan Smith, Aaron Brown, Lee Peltier, Kieran Murtagh, Danny Schofield, Paul Warne (Andy Welsh, 62), Andros Townsend, Jonathan Obika (Luke Rodgers, 73), Gavin Tomlin. Subs not used: Wagenaar, Alcock, Maguire