Gloversblog

It was a dead rubber as the National League South’s bottom side, Dover Athletic, hosted the champions, that’s Yeovil Town, if you didn’t know! And the Glovers signed off the season in style with a 3-1 win at Crabble.

Dave was there to bring the curtain down on the campaign.

Farewell National League South: That’s all, folks! The National League South season is done and we wrapped it up nicely with a bow on it. For a game that meant nothing in terms of league positions to either side it was competitive in flashes with long periods of passing practice in between those flashes for the visiting champions. All respect to Dover, they have a lovely set-up at Crabble (no ‘the’ remember?) and I have no doubt they will be back up the pyramid again soon.

Picture courtesy of Gary Brown

Dylan Morgan could be a gem: If there’s one thing you can draw from yesterday it was that there could be a very handy player growing in Dylan Morgan. Yes, he was playing against a team which had been relegated three weeks previous, but the precision with which he finished his chances yesterday show he could be quite a goal-scoring midfield player. In the same way Jake Wannell has gone from a shaky start to life at Yeovil to a defensive colossus (he’s the Somerset Cannavaro), with the right coaching and no doubt a bit of luck, Morgan could do the same.

Was that goodbye from a few?: It was good to see some players we have not seen much of lately getting a good run out. Josh Owers got the full match, Jake Hyde got half-an-hour and both looked like they were enjoying being out there again. As we discussed on the last podcast, there was a definite feeling that this could have been farewell from a few. Alex Fisher’s wave to the travelling fans looked like goodbye. If I’m not just reading too much in to that, the man will bow out as a true hero – got us over the line and a thoroughly good chap.

This is how I always want to remember Alex Fisher.

An important summer: As Mark Cooper says, now it’s time to see what we are really made of. On the face of it the National League Premier is wide open, as he describes it, but every club in it will be thinking the same thing. What we decide to do this summer will be important, we’ve had a undoubtedly impressive budget on the playing side this season, and that will probably equate to something more middling at a higher level. You get the sense Cooper knows what he wants to do and it’s really down to the economic realities, but I am hopeful we can be competitive next season.

The Crabble burger was everything I remember: Now we are on to the real important stuff, but the Crabble burger was everything I remember it being. And at £4.80, it was a bargain as well. Maybe it could have done with the cheese slices melting for a little longer – but I’ll take it. If you got one, I trust you enjoyed it too.

The Crabble Burger

So once again we put our trust in a group of people who don’t even appear to know what days of the week the weekend falls on to maintain the soul of the world’s greatest cup competition.

The Football Association and the Premier League have cooked up a deal which stops the likes of Jurgen Klopp whinging that he’s down to his last 75 highly-talented players, and denied generations of football fans yet to come the true magic of the FA Cup.

If you are wondering what I am going on (whinging?) about, it is the decision to cut replays from the FA Cup First Round onwards seemingly without consulting anyone but themselves.

Oh no wait, apparently they did. But presumably the thousands of clubs who reacted in disgust in the 24 hours which followed the latest calamitous decision to come out of the cigar smoke-filled boardrooms these people reside in just did not realise it.

Yeovil Town – like almost everyone else – said they heard about it on Thursday, the same as the rest of us. I know who I believe on that one, and they’re not based at St George’s Park or Wembley.

It’s not about the money, apparently, which is easy to say when you have loads of it, but let’s look beyond even the money. As we spoke about on our latest podcast, what about the memories?

Just think if we hadn’t had the night at Hereford in which literally saved Yeovil Town from financial extinction in 1992? What if we never saw Matty Hayfield’s goal take Cardiff City to the death at Huish Park in 1999? What if Tom Knowles never got a chance to smash that W*ymouth steward in the head with his penalty kick or Grant Smith’s shagger hips in 2021?

Yes, there’s money involved in it the outrage which has followed the decision, but surely the dream of a replay at a Premier League club or taking a higher division club back to your place is what the FA Cup is all about. No doubt the FA will refer to “the magic of the Cup” in the years to come, but this decision proves they would not know that magic is if it punched them in the face.

As Ben said on the pod, who turns on Wolves-Brighton (unless you support either of those clubs, of course) and immediately feels they are in the presence of magic? Give me pampered prima donnas mixing it on a ploughed field of a pitch where they can feel the breath of a supporter when they take a throw-in over that sterile dross any day.

Thankfully it looks like clubs – including Yeovil Town – are ready to take a stand to get a better deal. Can they get replays reinstated? Unlikely, but money may be the only language which the people who have made this decision understand. So take them for every penny you can!

Agree? Then put your name to a petition calling for change: https://t.co/Vwyzjs5vQe

#SaveTheFACup

The wait is finally over. Ian was at Huish Park to see Yeovil Town lift a league trophy for the first time since 2005. Here are his conclusions from a memorable afternoon in the sun…

Sam Pearson put his body on the line to equalise. 📸 Gary Brown

We needed a jolt to spark us into life. The party was in full flow at Huish Park but Luke Coulson’s early header was the wake up call that there was a game of football in the way of the trophy lift. Coulson’s free header silenced the bouncing Huish Park momentarily, but two minutes later Sam Pearson put his body on the line to get the equaliser and Yeovil never looked back.

Yeovil were dominant. Mark Cooper’s side, pressure free, controlled possession and played some excellent football. Short, sharp passing led to some good chances in both halves and Yeovil should have done more with the chances they had. After 45 games of high pressure, the Glovers enjoyed the occasion and put on the kind of performance we saw during The Run.

Alex Fisher scores. 📸 Gary Brown

Feed the Fish! A year ago Alex Fisher suffered an horrific injury in front of the Thatchers Stand and yesterday it went full circle as he scored Yeovil’s third and got to celebrate in front of those supporters. Say what you want about Alex Fisher, but he is a phenomenal representative of Yeovil Town and it was great to see him get that goal on the spot where his career almost came to an end. He’s scored some huge goals this season after returning from injury and played an important part in getting Yeovil back into the National League.

Pearson and Morgan took their chances. Pearson’s early miss last weekend was forgotten about with his goal yesterday and he and Brooklyn Genesini struck up an exciting, pacey partnership on the right hand side. Dylan Morgan’s appearances have been sporadic lately, but I thought he had a great game. He was all over the pitch, showed some brilliant bits of skill and his goal was well struck – albeit with a Dartford deflection.

Champions! 📸 Gary Brown

This title feels so sweet. There is a massive cohort of Glovers who’ve never seen a League win, who are probably sick of hearing about 1997, 2002, 2003, 2005 and 2013. They’ve finally witnessed it themselves and know what its like. The celebrations at Huish Park were fantastic to see after the last decade of disappointment. This club has been through the ringer since that historic Championship season. Four relegations, negligent ownership, three failed takeovers and nearly entering administration 12 months ago before Martin Hellier completed his takeover. All of that (and plenty more) has made this win feels so much sweeter. Congratulations to everyone at Huish Park who’s made this happen, let’s do it again next year…

Worthing well and truly pooped the party at Huish Park in front of another 6000+ crowd. Yeovil weren’t at the races and fell to a disappointing 3-1 defeat. Here are Ian’s five conclusions from the press box…

Polite enquiries are made. 📸 Gary Brown

Gareth Thomas had a shocker. Let’s get this one out of the way early doors. I can’t remember many referees who’ve gone through a game making no decisions in the middle of the pitch when they needed making, but being certain on decisions where there was doubt, in areas that make a difference. In truth, I couldn’t see the penalty decision, it looked like Pearce got the wrong side of Wannell and felt contact and went for it and looking at the highlights, there’s maybe a pull by Wannell. The offside is as tight as they get without taking 20 minutes to draw lines, but enough people (who would know and have access to see it again) told me it was on. Huish Park was denied a glorious moment which Thomas will always be remembered for now. The FA assessor was in attendance and in conversation with Yeovil’s coaching staff after the match. As woeful as he Thomas was, the scenes at the final whistle will surely see some form of punishment for the club.

We never felt in control. The praise in the aftermath of the Torquay win was how in control Yeovil were for the entire game, but it never felt like we had it against Worthing. We kept the ball at times, but it was a bit of a basketball match. We know Worthing score a lot of goals, and they can play some free-flowing stuff and they were effective in preventing us from playing out. The controlled possession we’ve enjoyed wasn’t there. Defensively we didn’t look comfortable and up front we snatched at chances when composure was needed and couldn’t get the final ball right.

📸 Gary Brown

We looked vulnerable at the back. I’ve not said that very many times at all this season, given how we’ve controlled games and how dominant we’ve been at the back. But, Morgan Williams and Jake Wannell didn’t look their best with the ball, and Cashman and Pearce seemed to pull them all over the pitch. Fage and Felix enjoyed plenty of space on the wings and Dolaghan caused problems from deep and got his rewards following Foulston’s error. The defence have barely put a foot wrong all season, and like Mark Cooper said, the forward players needed to take their chances.

We missed so many chances. I wanted an early nerve-settler and in the third minute, Sam Pearson has a 24 karat chance to settle the entire town. Clearly he didn’t expect a chance of that magnitude to fall to him in that fashion and he snatched at it and skied the ball. Sonny Blu Lo-Everton has a chance too, that Worthing’s keeper somehow saves, but Lo-Everton should score from such close range. Frank Nouble has a couple of half chances on his left foot from the edge of the box that he can only put over the bar. Half time substitute Rhys Murphy earns a penalty that he doesn’t convert. Morgan Williams goes close with a header, too. Yeovil could, and probably should, have been 2-0 up before Pearce converts his penalty. 

Alex Fisher celebrates his goal. Picture courtesy of Gary Brown.

We’re nearly there. As disappointing and infuriating as it was to not have our moment at Huish Park, a point against Truro on Thursday is all it will take to clinch the league. The expectation, anticipation and hype around Worthing’s visit would have made victory at home so much sweeter and maybe it was too good to be true. We’re Yeovil Town, and if we’ve learn something over the last decade, it’s that we never make it easy. It was a big game, with a lot of attention on it and as much as Mark Cooper tried to play it down in the build up and keep the players grounded, the pressure of the occasion seemed to get to the players. They’ll recover, learn from it and after 11 long years, we’ll celebrate promotion on Thursday.

Six more points, folks. That’s what Yeovil Town need to finish their first season in National League South as champions after a 3-0 win over Torquay United in front of a league record crowd (yes, another one). Dave was in the Thatcher’s to see it and here’s what he made of it.

 

We were in total control: From minute one to minute 90+7, we were thoroughly in control. Our defence looked assured, the midfield never looked flustered or overrun, and going forwards we always looked like we had the better of a Torquay side who, admittedly were not at full strength, but still had players quite capable of causing problems. We dominated them in every department. How nice was it to spend the last 20 minutes just enjoying being in complete control? 

He’s the Somerset Cannavaro……just don’t mention his second half ‘free kick’. Sorry, Jake. Picture courtesy of Gary Brown.

Clean sheet #17: Let’s take a moment to appreciate our defence. With our two first-choice full-backs missing, we did not miss a beat. Everything Joe Day needed to do, he did well, I thought Genesini and Foulston both looked every inch worthy replacements for Smith and Whittle, now that really is saying something. But what a performance from Jake Wannell and Morgan Williams, they will be shaking the Torquay frontline out of their pockets.

It’s Jahmari: I gave Jahmari Clarke some criticism at Braintree where he was pretty ineffective and I don’t mind admitting for the first 20 minutes against Torquay I was thinking the same. He’ll not get a much easier finish than his first goal, but he was in the right place to turn it home and that is a what a good striker does. That second goal showed exactly what he can do though. He did what he had been threatening to do at Braintree and the first half yesterday, spun his man and showed a composure in front of goal to finish. Plus he threw in some poophousery with his celebration  and who doesn’t love that? More to come from this kid. Maybe not with us, but there’s something there.

Huish Park did its bit: Huish Park has come in for not being overly supportive when our play has been about controlling the game, but yesterday it did its bit. I’m not get talking about another record-breaking attendance, I’m talking about the supportive noises which reverberated around the place for the entire game. The Thatcher’s was absolutely bouncing and you could see the players fed off it. When we’re good, boy are we good. 

I believe: It’s taken me until now to shake off ten years of hurt, but I’m a believer. That performance today showed this team has its mojo back and, when I look at our remaining games, they have enough (more than enough) to get the six points we need to seal the title. Now I’m gonna believe you, WE’RE GONNA WIN THE LEAGUE!

A Frank Nouble flicked header was enough to seal three pints at Braintree Town yesterday. Dave was in the away end in Essex and here’s what he made of it all….

What a win:
Do not underestimate the importance of the three points we picked up in Essex. With many questioning whether we were wobbling and Braintree in fine form – 14 unbeaten having not lost since New Year’s Day – getting our first win in three matches cannot be underestimated. Yes, it could have been even better had Taunton not screwed up against Chelmsford, but just think how things would have looked if we hadn’t won. 
 
Frank deserved that: If there was one player who deserved to be the hero yesterday, for me it was Frank Nouble. He’s looked out of sorts during our recent stumble, but he was absolutely everywhere against Braintree. He never gave them a moment’s peace and his goal was a masterpiece straight off the training ground.
 
Picture courtesy of Gary Brown.
 
Genesini looks a gem: The loss of Michael Smith is huge and not even Brooklyn Genesini’s biggest fan would claim he is a like-for-like replacement but, on this performance, he is not a bad one. Thought he looked energetic and rarely beaten by his man. An honourable mention for Charlie Cooper (yes, I hear you call me a ‘fanboy’) but yet again he was there to do the dirty stuff and we controlled things as a result.
 
Clarke never got in to it: Jahmari Clarke has all the attributes to be an effective striker. Tall, powerful, obvious skill on the ball, but this really was not his day. For someone of his stature he did not ruffle too many feathers in a very diminutive Braintree backline which looked to struggle with balls in to the box. Olly Thomas on the other hand looked a real handful when he came off the bench. With so many games coming up in a short space of time, we are going to need them all.
 
It was an anonymous performance from Jahmari Clarke.
 
Just keep grinding: This was not pretty, it didn’t need to be pretty, it needed to be three points. Nouble’s first goal in two months, another clean sheet and a big W, all this against a Braintree side whose form before Saturday cannot be underestimated even if they seemed off colour yesterday. Six games left, nine points needed to seal the title. Just keep grinding them out, boys.

Charlie Cooper battling in midfield.

The gap at that top of National League South is now seven points (with a game in hand) over Chelmsford City, but goals are proving difficult to come by for Yeovil Town. A goalless draw at Slough Town yesterday did nothing for the Glovers’ goals for column and here’s how Marcus Duncomb saw the game from his vantage point in the away side (first half)/end (second half).

I didn’t realise quite how much influence a right back can have on a whole team. I know Michael Smith was playing in the Europa Conference League last season and scoring worldies against Germany a few years ago… BUT I still didn’t expect a right back to hold quite so much importance to our team. Whether it’s his technical ability or his calmness and leadership on the pitch, he is sorely missed. This is no dig at Genesini, but not having Smith effects the whole team – especially whoever is playing on the right wing.

New signing Brooklyn Genesini. Picture courtesy of YTFC.

Speaking of right backs, Brooklyn Genesini is definitely more of a wing back than a full back. The Yeovil lad started the game at right wing back and throughout the game was one of our more assured performers. He was still sound as a more natural full back towards the end when we switched to four at the back, but he looked more comfortable going forward so I wonder if we may stick with the five/three at the back until Michael Smith is back. Still, it’s nice not to have dealt with the issue rather than sticking square pegs in round holes for the rest of the season!

We’ve now got four very tall frontmen. Towards the end of the game there was a moment where we had Jahmari Clarke, Alex Fisher and Frank Nouble (all 6ft3) as our front three, with Olly Thomas not in the squad. Earlier in the season Cooperball was certainly more about passing it around and patiently waiting to create opportunities, but now with the height of those three I think there’s certainly an argument to be made to play our football a bit more direct. Especially as we enter the crunch point of the season – at this point I’d like to start seeing us win ugly in games where our normal patient style isn’t working. We missed that in Slough.

Jordan Stevens. Picture courtesy of Gary Brown

We can get more out of Jordan Stevens. It took me a while to work out his role in our formation at Slough yesterday. Cooper was playing as the deepest midfielder and then Worthington and Stevens were playing in the advanced midfield roles. Stevens struggled to influence the game with his pace and energy in a packed middle of the pitch – it was when he instinctively drifted out wide that he showed glimpses of his danger. There’s a serious player in there and unlocking it (and wrapping him in cotton wool) could be crucial to us securing the title.

We’re missing a poacher type striker to finish off the scraps in the box. Jahmari Clarke looked exciting and played the ball across the face of the box twice in a short space of time, but without Hyde and Murphy, our two more classic number 9s, there was no one there to fire home. This has been the case for a few games now and while the energy and hard work of players like Fisher is definitely adding something, you can never say no to a classic fox in the box striker to win you a game from a messy goal.

Chippenham made it four points from a possible six against Yeovil this season, as they inflicted a double dose of home defeat on the Glovers. An uninspiring performance was witnessed by Tom, who has given us his Five Conclusions…

Alex Fisher celebrates his goal against Farnborough.

Classy from Fisher! There were some pretty dour performances out there tonight, but one player that did impress me was Alex Fisher. His header was taken expertly, meeting Olly Thomas’ wonderful cross to give Yeovil the lead. I think his determination alone earned him my Man of the Match (and the sponsor’s Man of the Match as well). His work rate, and success in aerial duels across his 90 minutes were great to see, and I think he’ll continue to play a part in Yeovil’s run-in. Credit must also go to Sonny-Blu Lo-Everton, and Alex Whittle, who also put in solid performances.

Credit to ChippenhamAs much as Yeovil clearly weren’t up to the races tonight, credit to Chippenham for executing their gameplan to a tee. I spoke to Steve Rutter before the game, and he said we had to be careful of a potential banana skin here, as their away form, particularly against better teams, has been impressive this season – and we saw exactly that. Calm in defence, with Fisher’s goal the only real lapse in performance for the visitors, three well taken goals to give them three well earned points.

Jordan Young. Picture courtesy of Gary Brown.

It’s time to discuss Jordan Young. He started the season quietly, before setting fire following his opening goal against Tonbridge Angels, but since his contract extension at the start of 2024, I’ll be honest and say I’ve seen nothing from our number 11 at all. Tonight was no different, as we saw Young either trying too much at once and being dispossessed, or being pushed out of the game. I don’t know where the Jordan Young of 2023 has gone, but I’d desperately like him back for the end of the season please!

Some positives… It’s easy to be negative after a loss, but there were some positives to take from tonight. Josh Owers gave a good account of himself when he replaced the injured Charlie Cooper, that pairing with Sonny-Blu gave us a little bit of both defensive stability, and a little bit going forward with our special number 16. We looked a bit more fluid in the second half compared to the first, before the goals took the wind out of our sails, and the ideas were there from Nouble and Stevens, nothing was coming off for us though. It’s not all doom and gloom yet!

However… we got away with it tonight. Yes, I’ve listed off the positives above, but these are games we need to be clinching, and widening the gap at the top. We have got seriously lucky tonight, with Chelmsford and Worthing both losing too, there’s no need to panic but we have got to be careful that this doesn’t set a precedent for the end of the season. Up the Yeo!

Welling United secured their second win over Yeovil Town this season, completing the double and ending the Glovers’ unbeaten record at home. It was not a pretty afternoon at Huish Park, and here are Ian’s Five Conclusions…

Jay Foulston challenges for the ball. Picture courtesy of Gary Brown.

It all fell apart when Michael Smith went off. His quality is undeniable and we’re a significantly better team with him in it. But, surely he’s not THAT important. After Smith’s injury in the 15th minute, Yeovil lost all flow, rhythm and patterns of play. There was a very brief switch to a back three, with Jay Foulston left of the three, but that quickly shifted back to a back four with moved Foulston to right back. He really struggled. He didn’t look comfortable offensively or defensively and the part of Jordan Young’s game that depends on the overlapping and defensive security of Smith was lost too.

Our attackers are struggling. Mark Cooper said that the goals had ‘dried up’ following the match and it was a match where there was little flow from the forward players. Frank Nouble and Sonny Blu Lo-Everton swapped positions in the first half to try and make things happen. (I thought Nouble looked more effective through the middle.) Jordan Young had another game where nothing clicked. He had some sloppy moments in possession and didn’t make the impact we’ve come to expect. Sam Pearson wasn’t able to get into a full flow and show his pace and neither was Jordan Stevens. It was only when Olly Thomas came on and he had a couple of decent chances, that Yeovil really threatened.

Olly Thomas shoots at goal. Picture courtesy of Gary Brown.

You have to give credit to Welling. They’ve done us in league twice now, and with two very different teams. They weathered the early storm from Yeovil and managed to create a few half chances and shots from distance. Their goal came from a calamitous error from Charlie Cooper, but it was a great finish from Anthony Grant who rifled the ball into the top corner from a tight angle. With less than 20 minutes on the clock, it then became an exercise in seeing the game out and the Wings did it masterfully. Time taken in dead ball situations, patience in the corners keeping the ball away from Yeovil. 

We seemed to lose our composure. Morgan Williams and Jake Wannell have been a calming influence at the back all season, but there was a mad spell in the second half where they were caught out by Welling and conceded fouls. Wannell relished the first half battle with Reece Grant and largely controlled it, but in a second half where most players seemed to get shaky, it was noticeable when they struggled. Perhaps because their standards have been so high. Through the midfield we kept trying to go long, hitting hopeful balls towards Sam Pearson, who was on a hiding to nothing against Welling’s big back line. 

Morgan Williams rises highest. Picture courtesy of Gary Brown.

Don’t panic! With Chelmsford’s win against Truro City yesterday evening, the gap at the top is nine points with a game in hand. There’s a chance to move on quickly against Chippenham and Tuesday and with a bright cameo from Olly Thomas, we could soon have a focal point at the top of the pitch. It was hard to stomach defeat at the final whistle, and there was almost a stunned silence when proceedings came to an end. So remarkable has the home form been, that defeat was hard to take. However, we have the buffer at the top and a chasing pack that’s inconsistent. On to Tuesday!

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.