Ollie Marsh

Parkside, home of Aveley FC

When the 2023/24 end-of-season DVD is released, fans won’t be flocking to the club shop to relive their Monday night trip to Aveley. However, despite a drab affair, Ollie Marsh was just about able to muster some conclusions:

We didn’t really look like scoring… after seven minutes. When golden chances fell to Jordan Young and Alex Fisher in the opening ten, it looked like a long night was in store for Aveley. Both were played in on goal in similar fashion; Young fluffed his lines after taking way too long to pull the trigger, while Fisher put his laces through it and was thwarted by the keeper. But after that, we struggled to put together the free flowing moves we’re used to seeing. Fisher and Frank Nouble got a half each, and Young, Jordan Stevens and Dylan Morgan seemed to be chopping and changing behind them throughout, but to no avail. The combination to unlock the Millers defence couldn’t be found.

Aveley did what they did very well. It became clear early on that Aveley had been set up to nullify. They were structured, organised, and disciplined, fearlessly pressing and applying pressure whenever Yeovil had the ball. They also packed a punch on the counter-attack and could perhaps be disappointed that they couldn’t find a way to nick it. There was also a pricklier side to their game which amounted to niggly fouls and slightly excessive physicality. One aerial dual between Will Dawes and Charlee Hughes – a pantomime villain in the reverse fixture earlier this season – led to Dawes having to limp off. But they played their gameplan to near-perfection, and the home fans seemed happy with both the method and result.

The Parkside pitch can get in the bin. There won’t be too many opportunities to break the Gloverscast rule on mentioning non-traditional playing surfaces, so I’ll take full advantage here. It probably would have been better to play the game on the car park outside the stadium, rather than the football-pitch shaped stretch of concrete painted green inside it.

I’m so happy Super Joe Day’s in goal. While it was as nothingy as nothing could get after the half time, the highlights package will at least feature one clip from the second period. The fact that Joe Day had an altogether quieter evening only makes his sublime fingertip stop from Ikechi Eze’s would-be worldie in the dying embers of the game more impressive.

Four points from two away games is good going. Yeovil managed to get through two tricky away ties with a tight turnaround between them, and did so unbeaten. The win at Farnborough was great fun and this was not, but there should be no disappointment with that return overall. Mark Cooper showed that his small but perfectly formed squad had enough depth to rotate efficiently, and the results – combined with Worthing doing the business against Chelmsford – keep us well on track.

Yeovil Town return to league action on Saturday as they travel to Worthing in the National League South.

Fresh from completing a cupset against Southend United last week, the Glovers will be hoping to keep their seven-game winning run going.

Worthing’s storming start to the season – which saw them win five of their first six games.- has waned somewhat, but they still sit in the play-off spots.

Mark Cooper’s side will have to contend with a *surface that shall not be named* at the snappily-named Sussex Transport Community Stadium, as they search for their first win of the season on the non-traditional green stuff.

Yeovil Town News 

Cooper has been doing his research on the Rebels, who he described as a “pure football team”.

He said: “They are a team with good players in it and, as I say every week, we will do our homework and give them due respect and make sure we are ready to be really good without the ball but stick to our principles and what we are doing.

“We will train on the 3G (surface at Huish Park) tomorrow (Friday). We obviously have a disadvantage, there’s no hiding the fact that those teams who play on (a 3G surface) have a distinct advantage, it’s their own (surface) and every one is different.

“But we can’t use that as an excuse, we have to find a way and we will try and do that. We all know what we think of them, but we’ve just got to get on with it.”

With the boss saying that he has “the same group” of players that beat Southend, it’s assumed that we’ll be travelling without the injured pair of Charlie Cooper and Jamie Sendles-White.

New signing Sonny Cox, who arrived on loan from Exeter City earlier in the week, will be available for selection.

Worthing News 

Worthing gaffer Adam Hinshelwood signed a new long-term contract on Thursday, having headed up the Mackerel Men for just shy of a decade.

Speaking to Worthing’s website, the 39-year-old said: “I’m still very ambitious, and, with the talks we’ve had, it looks like the club is as well.”

His side will be without Joe Felix, who is serving a three-match ban after seeing red in the 2-2 draw against Truro.

However, their squad has been boosted by the return of midfielder Jesse Starkey, and defender Liam Vincent, who has joined on loan from Portsmouth for the second time in as many seasons.

Both players got their first minutes of the campaign in midweek, in an impressive Sussex Senior Cup performance which saw the Mackerel Men beat League Two Crawley Town 6-2.

Following that victory, Hinshelwood said: “There are players that have been waiting for that opportunity and it’s definitely made my job really tough now trying to pick a team for Saturday because the lads done brilliantly.

“I think we’ve got players this season in attack that can really hurt the opposition. Bailey (Smith) with his pace and Joan Luque is some player, he really is.

“It’s a real big week and it feels like they’ve come together, really fancied it, really rolled up their sleeves and want to be part of the big games this week.”

Worthing are proudly wearing the badge of ‘highest-ranking non-league side in Sussex’, and a scalp against Glovers this weekend would be another sign of their progression.

“Obviously Yeovil are at the top of the league and in the Championship not long ago so it’s not going to be an easy game and we’ve got to be up for it.

“We have to really play with our intensity and if we can bring that, with the quality we possess, I really feel that we can be a handful this year.”

Jordan Young is relishing Saturday’s FA Cup tie with ninth-tier AFC Stoneham.

The forward had a successful run in the competition with Chippenham last year, beating Lincoln to reach the Second Round.

“It’s an exciting week, FA Cup week,” Young said. “I think it’s a massive competition and I’m looking forward to it.

“I had a good run last year and it’s so exciting. If you can go on a good run and get a good team, it’s exciting.

“We’re obviously focused on the league but that was last week and this week we’re really looking forward to having an exciting cup game.

“I know a little bit about them. Every game’s going to be tough because they’re going to be bang up for it so we’ve just got to concentrate on ourselves and go from there.”

The 22-year-old is enjoying a run in Mark Cooper’s team, contributing a goal and two assists in his last two games.

“I’m quite a confident player even when I’m not playing. I’m confident in myself and I just need that run of games getting in the team and thankfully I’ve done well.

“It’s tough because sometimes you want a run of games to get going, but we’ve got a really good squad with good players and rotation can help as well.”

Young has particularly impressed with his set pieces, including a sublime free-kick against Weston-super-Mare.

“I think at the start of the season we struggled with set pieces a little bit, but we really worked on it and you can tell now it’s paying off.

“We’ve got some big boys and all we need to do is go and attack it and we’ll score goals.”

“The good thing is we’re winning and we’re not playing as well as we can do. So once we get to that level, I’m sure we’ll be fine.”

Mark Cooper described Yeovil’s upcoming FA Cup tie with AFC Stoneham as a “no-win” situation.

The Wessex League Premier Division side, who ply their trade three divisions below the Glovers, will travel to Huish Park looking to cause an upset.

Cooper said: “It’s a ‘no-win’ for us and it’s a ‘win-win’ for Stoneham because everyone expects us to win. For us, it’s about paying total respect to Stoneham.

“It’s about them, it’s their day but we have a job to do and our only job is to make sure we try and get in the next round.

“They’ve not played lots of league games yet but I think they’re at the top of their league. We had them watched at Cowes on Saturday, so we’re paying as much respect as we would to a Torquay United or whoever we were playing.”

When asked if he’d consider rotating his team for the visit of the Purples, Cooper had a simple answer.

“No. We’re trying to win the game so I’m going to play the strongest team I can. I’ve never had an easy game and I don’t expect one.”

Experienced defender Michael Smith could be in line to make his debut after signing for the Glovers following his release from Hearts.

“He’s been on our radar for a while and obviously Michael with his stock and having played 30-odd games in the Scottish Premier and Europe last year, he was a little bit out of our price range.

Michael Smith signed on Tuesday

“He was exploring the possibilities of League One and he’s had some big offers to go back to Scotland but he wanted to settle in Bristol because of his family and that’s the only reason we’ve managed to get him. He could have gone back to Scotland for treble the amount that he’s getting paid with us and it just fell lucky for us at the right time.”

The Northern Ireland international will be hoping his first Huish Park appearance is as successful as the drum that made its debut on the terrace last week!

“I think the Chairman’s just got that to drown out the moaners! I asked him for that to shut them blokes up behind me!

“I thought it was great, the players loved it. When there’s those dull lulls in the game, it keeps going. I think it adds to the experience, definitely.”