Green and White Goals (Page 3)

Southend United 0 Yeovil Town 2 – Saturday 24th April 2004

After a good run up to Christmas which had seen Yeovil push up to 3rd in the Third Division table, the Glovers stuttered into a poor run of form which saw their promotion chase fade in the New Year, following departure in the FA Cup at the hands of Liverpool. Gary Johnson’s men found themselves a bit short up front, with previous season’s top scorer Kirk Jackson struggling at League level and Kevin Gall’s ten goals all coming before January. Jake Edwards performed okay, scoring 10 goals in 20 starts, and he was an intelligent player but perhaps not the dominant force the manager was looking for. After Christmas, Johnson started to look for alternatives in the striking department. He brought in Andy Bishop on loan from Walsall, who scored two goals and two assists in four games, including a vital winner in a 1-0 home win over promotion-chasing Oxford, but was sent back after a disappointing performance at Huddersfield, when to be fair the entire team performed poorly. He would be released by Walsall at the end of the season and go on to have very successful spells at York and Bury proving himself a very capable striker, scoring over 20 goals for three seasons in a row. In also came Lee Matthews from Bristol City, a giant striker who returned one assist from four games.

After Matthews returned to Bristol City, in came Portuguese striker Dani Rodrigues, who was a free agent signed on a short term contract after leaving Greek club Ionikos.

Yeovil were just scraping enough wins to stay in touch with the playoffs, beating Cambridge 4-1 and Bristol Rovers 4-0, but they continued to slide down the table with five games without a win, landing in 9th after a poor Easter return of only one point. Results around this time showed how Yeovil were just falling short – going 1-0 up against Mansfield and 2-0 up against Torquay, both promotion-chasing sides, only to draw both games. Easter saw two points dropped at home in a 0-0 draw against Cheltenham, followed by an end to end game at Boston’s York Street. 1-0 up in the first few minutes, at 2-2 Yeovil were given a penalty which Gavin Williams converted, only for it to be ordered re-taken. The re-take was saved, and with the scores level going into injury time Boston’s Lee Thompson found himself with the entire Yeovil half of the pitch to himself, although admittedly from a position about three miles offside, it does beg the question of why, in the 90th minute away from home with the scores at 2-2, Yeovil did not have a single player defending in their own half.

With the Glovers down to 9th, the following week they entertained Bury with new boy Rodrigues named as substitute. With the visitors leading 1-0, Rodrigues came off the bench in the second half to equalise with one of the most spectacular goals ever seen at Huish Park, an overhead kick from inside the area. He followed it up with a less spectacular second, as Yeovil ran out 2-1 winners to turn around their rotten recent form.

The Bury win was followed up with a vital match at York the following Tuesday, a game in hand as the originally scheduled match had been rained off at late notice. York had started the season like a train but by the end were struggling badly, and would eventually be relegated despite topping the table early in the season. Goals from Lindegaard and Terry gave Yeovil the win, taking them back up to 7th and suddenly the playoffs were back on!

Although Southend were not having a great season and had been comfortably despatched 4-0 in November with a masterclass from Lee Johnson, they had improved and pulled themselves up to mid-table with a run of only three defeats in 19 games. Following the sacking of Steve Wignall, former player Steve Tilson not only steered the Shrimpers clear of relegation in 03/04, but led them to two consecutive promotions in the following two seasons, so on paper it did look like a very hard game. However, two first half goals from Rodrigues were to secure the win and Yeovil remained in 7th. Around 700 Yeovil fans made the trip to the Essex seaside, for a sunny day out that would be echoed exactly a year later for a much more critical game as the two went head to head for the League Two title.

Unfortunately the following week, defeat at home to promotion-bound Hull City in front of a full house pushed the Glovers back down to 8th, and Hugo Rodrigues’ only goal for the club was not enough.

This left Yeovil going into the final game of the season with only an outside chance of promotion – they needed to better the result of Northampton who were away at Mansfield, not an easy match by any means. Yeovil did their part, going 2-0 up in the second half with goals from substitutes Stansfield and Edwards, but again they threw it away to let Lincoln back in at 2-2. Gavin Williams pulled a long range free kick out of his back pocket in the last minute but it wasn’t enough as Northampton won, a result enough to see them into the playoffs, where they would play Mansfield again.

Despite the disappointment of missing out on the last day though, that couldn’t detract from what had been by any measure a very successful first season, showing that the majority of Yeovil’s Conference-winning squad were good enough to challenge in League Two. Only the addition of more potency up front was really needed to push for promotion again, and the third major trophy in four years.

Team that day: Steve Collis, Andy Lindegaard, Colin Pluck, Adam Lockwood, Hugo Rodrigues, Darren Way (sub. Simon Weatherstone, 67), Lee Johnson, Paul Terry, Gavin Williams, Jake Edwards (sub. Nick Crittenden, 87), Dani Rodrigues (sub. Adam Stansfield, 81). Unused subs: Ryan Northmore, Nathan Talbott.

 

Northwich Victoria 0 Yeovil Town 2 – Saturday 16th March 2002

The FA Trophy Quarter Final in 2002 was a hugely significant match for Yeovil Town. Despite our pedigree as a non-league team and the record-breaking number of wins against Football League teams in the FA Cup, Yeovil had not reached the semi-finals of the FA Trophy since back to back appearances in 1971 and 72. They had only reached the Quarter Final once since, losing at home to Macclesfield in 1992.

My first experience watching Yeovil in the FA Trophy was a dismal 89th minute 1-0 defeat at Isthmian League Yeading in 1998. The 286 people present on that West London trading estate is almost certainly the lowest crowd to ever watch Yeovil in a Trophy match. Following that was another last minute defeat at eventual winners Kingstonian in 1999, and a pretty spineless home defeat to the same team a year later – 1-0 again, but not in the last minute this time. Kingstonian would go on to win the final at Wembley for the second year in a row, beating Yeovil on the way both times. In 1998/99, we had set a Conference record of only two away defeats in a season, matched by Gary Johnson’s team in 2001/02. The Glovers had actually not lost away all season until losing their unbeaten record at Barrow the week before the Trophy tie.

In 2000/01, the FA Trophy games came after Christmas when the Glovers were really struggling for form after a 100% home run had seen us clear at the top of the Conference. A very narrow 2-1 win after going a goal down saw us squeak past minnows Bath, followed by a 4-2 win at Emley despite having Tony Pennock sent off. The 5th round tie was away at Northern Premier League Burton, putting in what was one of the worst performances I saw that season, deservedly going 2-0 down before a 90th minute Andy Lindegaard goal which was not much of a consolation. The Burton match came in the middle of a six match winless run which saw Rushden go top of the Conference and title hopes begin to fade away, it was a very dark time.

Cut to a year later, and despite all the upheaval in between, things were looking much brighter – after a mixed start, Gary Johnson’s team were coming together and were up to 2nd in the Conference after an unbeaten run of 18 league and cup matches. Star of the show was obviously Adam Stansfield, whose scoring prowess gave the team a huge confidence boost having scored 11 goals in 11 games and five goals already in the Trophy, scoring in every round.

After casting aside local side Tiverton, strong Conference opponents in Doncaster and previous holders Canvey Island, the Glovers were drawn away at Northwich Victoria. Always a difficult place to go, Northwich were a founder member of the Conference in 1979, then known as the Alliance Premier League, and were one of only three teams who had been ever present, the other two being Telford and Kettering. Northwich’s home, Drill Field, is thought to have been the oldest ground in the world to be in continuous use, having hosted football since 1875. 2001/02 would actually be the last year that Northwich played at Drill Field – at the end of the 2002 season, they ground-shared with rivals Witton Albion, while their new stadium was being built. They moved to the new Victoria Stadium in 2005, which was also home for a time to Manchester United’s reserves. The new stadium was only a few hundred metres from Witton’s ground. In 2012, the club were evicted from the stadium after it was sold to a neighbouring chemical company, and were forced to share at Stafford Rangers some 40 miles away. This was also during a time of financial problems and several relegations which saw a breakaway club, 1874 Northwich, formed by supporters. Northwich Victoria still exist, and are back to sharing with Witton Albion, but currently lie below 1974 Northwich in the non-league pyramid.

Drill Field had a traditional non-league style grandstand on one side and the relatively new covered Dane Bank terrace opposite, with both ends open. The Dane Bank offered a superb view, and housed around 800 or so travelling Yeovil fans on the day. The Dane Bank would follow the Vics to their new Victoria Stadium in 2005, and when that was demolished in 2012, was re-purposed and transported to Broadhusrt Park, the home of FC United of Manchester.

Yeovil went into the game with a back three of White, Skiverton and Pluck, with Anthony Tonkin at left wing back in place of the suspended Michael McIndoe who had been sent off against Hereford. Replacing the injured Darren Way was a rare outing in midfield for Roy O’Brien, who was also joined by Frenchman Olivier Brassart alongside the usual Lee Johnson. Carl Alford started up front with the on-fire Adam Stansfield. The Vics boasted a similar striker in Gregg Blundell, who had scored a spectacular goal in the opening-day 3-2 win at Huish Park in Gary Johnson’s first game, and got himself sent off for over-celebrating into the bargain. The reverse fixture had gone Yeovil’s way, with the Glovers winning 3-1 at Drill Field in November, with Adam Stansfield getting his first goal for the club.

At this point in the season, Yeovil were scoring a lot of goals, but conceding a lot as well. They had not kept a single clean sheet at home in the league so far. However they had won nine and drawn three of their 12 games since Christmas, and were unbeaten in 18 games, scoring 34 and conceding 16. However this game was surprisingly comfortable as the Glovers absolutely dominated the first half, going close several times and hitting the woodwork before Adam Stansfield converted a Tonkin cross to make it 1-0 on 35 minutes. Right on half time, a Lee Johnson free kick beat everyone and was bundled home by Carl Alford from close range. 2-0 at half time, and Yeovil were in command.

At half time, Stansfield was replaced by Chris Giles as he had taken a knock. The second half was much more controlled, as the Glovers dictated the pace and Roy O’Brien in particular was absolutely superb, breaking up opposition play. Vics manager Jimmy Quinn brought himself on with about 20 minutes to go, but his plans for a comeback were scuppered just minutes later. Vics midfielder Val Owen clattered Carl Alford on the touchline, right in front of the dugouts. Alford appeared to retaliate and both players were sent off as there is reportedly fighting in the tunnel as the players depart. This took any remaining sting out of the game, as Yeovil were able to play out time. Giles struggled to lead the line on his own, but Gary Johnson brought on Lockwood to play five at the back and there was nowhere for Northwich to go. It was a very significant game that Yeovil were completely up for, and although it didn’t take the shine off the day, Northwich barely turned up – much like we had against Kingstonian in 2000 and Burton in 2001! The Glovers were in top form, had a settled side, and steamed in to the FA Trophy Semi-Final to face Nigel Clough’s Burton Albion.

Team that day: Chris Weale, Tom White, Terry Skiverton, Colin Pluck, Anthony Tonkin, Nick Crittenden, Roy O’Brien (sub. Adam Lockwood, 75), Lee Johnson, Olivier Brassart (sub Andy Lindegaard, 77), Carl Alford (sent off, 79), Adam Stansfield (sub. Chris Giles, 46). Subs not used: Jon Sheffield, Darren Way

Yeovil Town 4 Scunthorpe United 3 – Tuesday 22nd February 2005

After finishing 8th in our first Football League season with a points total of 74 which would have been enough to secure a play-off place in almost any other year, optimism was high at the beginning of 2004/05 that Yeovil could go one further and push for promotion. After a stuttering start and a 3-1 opening day defeat at Bury, the Glovers recovered and briefly went top of League Two after beating Shrewsbury away in September. However, a run of six games without a win followed, leaving the us in 8th following defeat to leaders Scunthorpe at the end of October. The match at Glanford Park was a very close one, as a patched up Yeovil side missing Skiverton, Guyett, Lockwood and O’Brien in defence, and Tarachulski also carrying an injury up front, did well to keep the leaders out for 80-odd minutes. The game was settled by two controversial incidents – in the first half, a Jevons goal was ruled out for offside when the replay clearly showed him to be on. Scunthorpe’s winning goal not only appeared to have been cleared off the line by Lee Johnson, but the corner from which it came should not have been awarded as the ball went out of play in the build-up. So despite losing the game the Glovers could at least console themselves that they could hold their own against the leaders even with a number of absences through injury.

When the two teams met again in February 2005, the tables had been turned – Scunthorpe, once seven points clear at the top, had their lead wiped out by Yeovil’s remarkable run of consecutive wins over Christmas. On 18th December, the Iron led the table with 47 points to the Glovers’ 40. On 3rd January, an equally appalling run for Scunthorpe saw them on 49 points against Yeovil’s 52, as Yeovil came back from 2-1 down to beat Shrewsbury 4-2 with ten men to finally go top of League Two. Despite the occasional setback, the Glovers remained top and were two points clear when the two teams met at Huish Park on a very cold Tuesday night in February.

Yeovil took an early lead, as the Scunthorpe defence were caught out by a long range effort from Bartosz Tarachulski. The visitors then stunned the home side with two goals in front of the Westland Stand before half time, from two poorly-defended set-pieces. The first was especially controversial as there was a foul on the touchline against Yeovil which the linesman was furiously flagging for, but the referee overruled him and gave a free kick the other way, from which Paul Hayes scored. The home fans were still booing the referee at half time as the Glovers went in 2-1 down, despite arguably having the better of the first half – all of the goals had come slightly against the run of play, as the home side played much better after they had scored.

Somewhat unfortunate to be 2-1 down at half time, Yeovil came steaming out in the second half and were very soon level, as Lee Johnson blasted a free kick through the wall to make it 2-2 on 47 minutes. Following the equaliser, the visitors had much the better of the second half and much of the crowd would probably have settled for 2-2. New loan signing from Bristol City Kevin Amankwaah was brought on to shore up the defence, and would have a hand in Yeovil’s two late goals, turning defence into attack. Another new signing on loan from Swindon, Rory Fallon, was brought on for Tarachulski, who was getting no change out of the Scunthorpe defence and was getting increasingly frustrated as the referee was giving a foul every time he dared to try and get off the ground. With the big man already on a yellow, defender Andy Butler attempted to con the referee by falling dramatically to the ground clutching his face claiming he’d been elbowed, and although the replay shows there was clearly no contact, it was perhaps wisest to take Bartosz off.

With their backs against the wall, Yeovil struck back to win the game with two goals in the last ten minutes, both initiated by clearances from Amankwaah – the first up to Jevons, who appeared to have been fouled in the area but the referee took the easy option of giving a corner instead of a penalty. From that corner, Fallon steamed in with a close range header to make it 3-2 with his first and only goal for the club. Fallon had only signed on loan that afternoon, and famously still had directions to the ground written on his hand during the game.

While Yeovil fans were asking themselves whether the Glovers would be able to withstand the last ten minutes of pressure, Arron Davies popped up with a 35-yard screamer out of nowhere to settle the game. With Scunthorpe pressing, a clearance from Amankwaah pretty much on the byline was held up by Fallon, fed to Davies inside his own half, who carried the ball forward and unleashed an unstoppable shot for one of the best goals ever seen at Huish Park in one of the biggest games. The goal came around 15 seconds after Scunthorpe had been in possession in the Yeovil penalty area.

There was still time for some late drama, as Hayes bundled in a 90th minute goal to make it 4-3, but as the snow began to fall there was no time for any further action and Yeovil held out to win, extending their lead at the top of League Two to five points. Also having already beaten Swansea twice, the Glovers had only one game remaining against the other promotion contenders – Southend away, on the penultimate game of the season.

Team that day: Chris Weale, Andy Lindegaard, Michael Rose, Terry Skiverton, Scott Guyett, Darren Way, Lee Johnson, Kevin Gall (sub. Andrejs Stolcers 45 (sub. Kevin Amankwaah 79)), Arron Davies, Bartosz Tarachulski (sub. Rory Fallon 70), Phil Jevons. Subs not used: Steve Collis, Paul Terry

Doncaster Rovers 4 Yeovil Town 5 – Saturday 23rd February 2002

When Yeovil played Doncaster in the FA Trophy Fourth Round in 2001/02, the Glovers were in a free-scoring run of form. Since the rebuilding job begun by Gary Johnson in the summer, the addition of Adam Stansfield from Elmore in November turned Yeovil from mid-table inconsistency to a more dangerous proposition. They continued to be dogged by defensive problems, caused by a new-look back line of (when fit) Lockwood, Tonkin, Skiverton and Pluck, who were taking time to get used to each other given significant injury problems in defence. Colin Pluck (later Miles) was missing for much of the first part of the season and when he returned, Skiverton was out for an equally long time. Meanwhile Roy O’Brien suffered a broken leg, forcing Tom White to play on through very difficult personal circumstances, which he did admirably. Defending in the first half of the season was often disastrous to the point of being comical, but at least once Stansfield arrived goals started to go in at the other end with more frequency.

In February 2002, Yeovil were in an incredible run of games – a 4-0 spanking of Hayes in a monsoon at Church Road was followed by a remarkable 5-1 win at Morecambe. The following week, the Glovers played out an entertaining 3-3 draw with leaders Dagenham, which they arguably could have won. A run of 20 league and cup games unbeaten saw them up to 3rd in the table behind leading pair Boston and Dagenham. The week after the Doncaster replay came a dramatic late 2-1 win at home over rivals Hereford. After a decidedly dodgy first three months or so of the season, things were finally starting to come together for Gary Johnson’s side. Between the beginning of January and the middle of March the Glovers were unbeaten, scoring 36 goals in 13 games but also conceding 16 – in this time they scored in every single game, but also only kept three clean sheets, the goals were flying in.

Following the 3-1 win at Tiverton Town in the Third Round, Yeovil were drawn at home against fourth-placed Doncaster. The original tie was due to be played on 2nd February, but was postponed three times due to a waterlogged pitch, as Huish Park was an absolute quagmire at the time. It finally went ahead on Tuesday 19th, and of course ended in a draw – Paul Barnes capitalised on a Lockwood mistake early on, but Adam Stansfield secured a replay with a 79th minute header. Stansfield was in a rich vein of form at the time, scoring 13 goals in 13 games and also grabbing 7 assists, scoring in 6 out of the 7 games prior to Doncaster so it was no surprise to see him pop up with a late equaliser.

The original tie had been so delayed that the replay took place on Saturday 23rd February, the day the 5th Round had been scheduled to take place, so the winners already knew they would be facing Trophy holders Canvey Island at home in the next round.

Despite the Glovers’ good form at the time, they were suffering from severe selection problems. A bout of flu had run through the club, with Colin Pluck, Olivier Brassart, Darren Way and even Gary Johnson among the victims. In addition, Lee Johnson and Kim Grant had been injured during the first game and were unavailable for the replay. This left severe shortages in midfield, with only 39-year old Steve Thompson, already pulled out of retirement to cover the ongoing injury crisis, fully fit. Roy O’Brien was on the bench, but had not started a game since breaking a leg against Scarborough in September.

Playing into a strong wind, Yeovil got off to a terrible start, conceding a penalty after five minutes, although even with the benefit of a replay it is not clear what the offence was as nobody appealed for it. Jamie Paterson converted, and young striker Robert Gill scored a header to make it 2-0 after 22 minutes. The Glovers went in at half time 2-0 down and it could have been a lot worse as Doncaster had multiple chances to increase their lead, with only the post and at least two goal line clearances keeping the score down to two.

Brassart and Way had started in midfield alongside Thommo, but were both forced to withdraw due to illness, on 29 minutes and 52 minutes respectively. To make matters worse, Thompson pulled a muscle and had to be withdrawn at half time to be replaced by Roy O’Brien, playing pretty much alone in central midfield on his first game in five months.

Playing with the wind behind them, the odds were still very much against Yeovil in the second half. Donny continued to dominate, and there was at least one more goal line clearance and a last ditch save from Weale before the Glovers got back into it. Before that though, from a Yeovil corner that was cleared, Robert Gill ran half the length of the pitch to beat Weale and put the home side 3-0 up after 49 minutes. Surely game over, as some Yeovil fans in the 150 or so away following took that as their cue to head back to Somerset, and the stadium PA announced that the next round would take place against Canvey Island the following Tuesday.

The tide soon turned though, as on 52 minutes Darren Way, who had made a mistake in letting the ball pass him in the build-up to Doncaster’s third goal, was replaced by Carl Alford as Yeovil went to three up front with Giles and Stansfield. Just five minutes later, the comeback began as an in-swinging Nick Crittenden free kick was headed home from close range by Colin Pluck to make it 3-1. On 75 minutes, it was Crittenden again who provided the assist, using the wind to his advantage to swing in another deep cross, for Alford to head home for 3-2.

At this point Doncaster made the mistake of withdrawing top scorer Paul Barnes, replacing him with the giant Mark Sale, presumably in an effort to hold up the ball. However Sale is not a goalscorer, and clumsily fell over the ball when if he had controlled it better he would have been through on goal.

For the last 15 minutes, it rained goals as there was almost no time for any action in between – following Alford’s goal on 75 minutes, a deep McIndoe free kick on 79 minutes was stabbed home from close range by Adam Stansfield to make it 3-3. On 86 minutes, Stansfield scored easily the best goal of the game with an incredible 30-yard lob to put the Glovers 4-3 up. With Yeovil finally in front, you’d think this would be the last of the scoring, but just two minutes later Doncaster broke forward, and a cross was converted by Gareth Owen in the box to make it 4-4, as hundreds of home fans flooding for the exits suddenly stopped to watch the game again.

However, precisely 10 seconds after the re-start, a foul on McIndoe on the half-way line gave Yeovil a free kick. McIndoe passed inside to White, who launched a long ball into the box. A headed clearance fell to Skiverton 20 yards out, who shot through a melee of players to beat the keeper and put Yeovil 5-4 up for the last goal of the game. Despite the flood of goals there was still a minute plus four more of injury time, during which the home side did push forward, and had a late appeal for a penalty turned down. It wasn’t the end of the action but it was the end of the scoring, as the whistle finally blew with Yeovil winning incredibly 5-4 with four goals in the last 15 minutes with, let’s not forget, about half of their team missing through illness and injury.

It is probably fair to say that despite Yeovil’s fairly poor record in the FA Trophy up until this point, a lot of people felt that after that incredible game, our name was on the cup. However it was still early in the competition, with four more rounds to go. Holders Canvey Island awaited in the next round, which was due to be played the following Tuesday but was again postponed. Ishtmian League Canvey had beaten Conference sides Stevenage, Telford, Chester and Forest Green on their way to winning the Trophy in 2001, but were yet to face a Conference team in this season’s competition.

That game ended up being played on Tuesday 5th March – the Tuesday after that dramatic late win against Hereford that would see McIndoe sent off and Andy Lindegaard score an injury time winner – and was a bit more comfortable this time, with Yeovil going 2-0 up through Stansfield and Crittenden, and surviving a late scare to win 2-1. The next round saw the Glovers in the Quarter Final for the first time in almost ten years, drawn away at Northwich Victoria, the other team in green and white, and time to dust off the sky blue away kit for only the second time.

Team that day: Chris Weale, Adam Lockwood, Terry Skiverton, Colin Pluck, Darren Way (sub. Carl Alford, 52), Steve Thompson (sub. Roy O’Brien, 46), Olivier Brassart (sub. Tom White, 29), Nick Crittenden, Michael McIndoe, Chris Giles, Adam Stansfield. Subs not used: Jon Sheffield, Andy Lindegaard

 

Yeovil Town 3 Scunthorpe 0 – Saturday 16th February 2013

Gary Johnson’s second spell at Yeovil was surely more successful than anyone could have expected. The Glovers had among the lowest playing budgets in League One, and for every season after the play-offs of 2006/07 avoiding relegation was an achievement and some years it was tighter than others. In 2011/12, Yeovil had been bottom in November before the arrival of Johnson in January turned the team’s fortunes around, as they ended the season in 17th.

A good start had seen the Glovers go top early in the 2012/13 season, but after that followed a horrific run of six defeats in a row. This was was halted by the arrival of a relatively unknown young Irish striker on loan from Carlisle. Paddy Madden was 22 at the time he signed, having been unable to make much impact at his first English club after moving from Ireland, scoring no goals in 14 appearances for the Cumbrians in 2011/12. But there was something about Gary Johnson that was able to bring out the best in Madden as he made an immediate impact, scoring twice on his debut against Colchester, and scoring six goals in his first seven starts. Yeovil’s form stabilised with Madden in the team, as he formed a productive partnership with James Hayter.

One game that Madden didn’t score in was the impressive 2-1 win away at Portsmouth at the end of December. This began a remarkable run of eight consecutive wins, which would lift the Glovers from 12th up to 3rd in the League One table, and in a position to challenge for the play-offs.

The goals were flowing during this period, with comfortable wins 3-0 over Leyton Orient, 3-0 over Brentford, 3-1 over Preston and 4-1 over Oldham. The Glovers brushed aside Scunthorpe 3-0 on 16th February, with goals from Webster in the first half, and two towards the end from Hayter and Madden. There was some controversy, as the visitors had an appeal for a penalty turned down for a challenge from behind from Webster on Sodje, and may have felt that the later penalty awarded for a foul on Foley after a marauding run into the box was also somewhat harsh.

Madden was particularly on fire at this time, scoring in eight consecutive games after Portsmouth. His final goal in that incredible run was in the 1-1 draw at promotion-chasing Doncaster which complete a spell of 11 goals in 8 games, a run that Messi would be proud of. His loan was converted to a permanent transfer in January, for an undisclosed fee thought to be around £50,000. With the addition of that extremely elusive 20-goal a season striker, the first at the club since Phil Jevons in 2004/05, Yeovil were able to push on. Madden scored 23 goals in 39 games, ending the season as League One’s top scorer. He actually had a dry spell of six games without a goal at the end of the season and didn’t score in either of the play-off games against Sheffield United, but did provide the assist for Ed Upson’s winning goal at Huish Park. He ended his run of blanks in spectacular fashion win an incredible goal in the opening minutes against Brentford at Wembley which set Yeovil on their way to a 2-1 win and Championship football for the first time in their history, just ten years after promotion from the Conference.

Paddy found life in the Championship somewhat harder and he did not score in the 2013/14 season, although to be fair he was handed very few starts, starting the first three Championship games before being dropped, and after that he struggled to get back into the team. He was surprisingly transfer-listed by Gary Johnson in November, and sold to Scunthorpe for a reported £300,000 in January, even though he still had a year and a half left on his contract. While Gary Johnson suggested that he might not be ‘Championship standard’, that seemed like a strange statement to make given that not many of the squad were, and surely Madden was at least good enough for League One, where Yeovil seemed to be heading.

Despite dropping to League Two his new club Scunthorpe were promoted that season, following which Madden proved he was indeed League One standard, where he spent the next seven seasons. He scored 17 and 23 goals in his first two seasons, and after a lean 2016/17, was sold to fellow League One outfit Fleetwood for around £150,000 where he scored 19 goals in 2018/19 and 19 again in 2019/20. He contracted Covid in 2021, and after recovering made the surprise drop from League One to the National League. High-spending Stockport splashed out an estimated £150,000 for the now 31-year old on a 3.5 year contract. At the point he left Fleetwood he was their all-time Football League top goalscorer, in addition to being the 10th highest ever scorer at Scunthorpe, having scored almost 200 goals in his career from Bohemians in lreland 14 years ago, to the National League with Stockport today.

Team that day: Marek Stech, Luke Ayling, Jamie McAllister (sub. Nathan Ralph 83), Byron Webster, Dan Burn, Joe Edwards, Ed Upson, Kevin Dawson, Sam Foley (sub. Lewis Young 82), James Hayter (sub. Kwesi Appiah 82), Paddy Madden. Subs not used: Gareth Stewart, Richard Hinds, Dominic Blizzard, Gavin Williams.

Yeovil Town 2 Hartlepool 0 – Saturday 7th January 2006

In 2005/06, following two promotions in three years, it took some time for Yeovil to adjust to life in League One – it was a big step up in quality, and the team which scored over 100 goals and only failed to hit the target in three league games in 2004/05 was finding defences much more solid and difficult to break down. Yeovil only scored one goal in their first four games – from a defender, Kevin Amankwaah – and it took until Hartlepool away in September to register their first win, a scrappy 1-0 thanks to new signing Pablo Bastianini. Despite the difficult start and the loss of Gary Johnson after 11 games to Bristol City, as the games progressed the team did gain confidence under Steve Thompson and start to drag their way up the table. Thommo’s Yeovil won 13 points from his first 6 games in charge, including impressive wins over Swansea, Scunthorpe and a 3-0 stuffing of Nottingham Forest. The Glovers gradually moved up to mid-table and even once or twice were in a position to potentially think about playoffs.

The Christmas period was a mixed bag, with decent wins against Barnsley and Doncaster, a 4-1 hiding at Tranmere and a slightly disappointing draw in the first ever league tie against Bristol City, given they had lost nine in a row and had been bottom of the table in December. Following a decent 1-0 win at Doncaster, the Glovers welcomed Hartlepool to Huish Park, who were despatched 2-0 with both goals coming from Phil Jevons, the first an overhead scissor-kick following an impressive run from Kevin Amankwaah, who had been one of the most consistent performers in the first part of the season, and one of those who seemed most at home at his new level.

The win took Yeovil up to 10th, with 36 points from 27 games and seemingly any fears of relegation behind them. However, a takeover was happening behind the scenes, and everything was about to change. Former manager David Webb became the new owner, purchasing the majority of shares from Jon Goddard-Watts. Webb immediately set about reducing the budget despite the crowds being around 6,500, even higher than League Two and increased revenue in the previous two seasons from two significant FA Cup runs including televised matches. Yeovil started to sell their assets, with Darren Way sold to Swansea for £150,000, and Lee Johnson to Hearts for the criminal sum of £50,000. The two players who had been ever-present from 2001-2005 and were the heartbeat of the team, left the club within days of each other. Efe Sodje was also sold, to Southend, and more would depart at the end of the season.

Hartlepool would be Lee Johnson’s last game for Yeovil, after around 4.5 years, 230 appearances, 28 goals, 80 assists and two promotions. He had settled in well at League One – going on to play around 130 times in the Championship for Bristol City – and appeared to be playing with more freedom once Gary Johnson was no longer the manager. He was ever-present from the moment he arrived to the day he left, playing around 50 games a season aside from the occasional suspension. His usual midfield partner Darren Way had been out of the team for part of 2005/06 due to injury, and last played in November 2005 against his future club Swansea. 18-year old Chris Cohen had already come in on loan from West Ham to cover for Way and was an instant hit but Anthony Barry, signed from Accrington to replace Johnson, only played a few games before sustaining a horrific injury against Chesterfield and missing the rest of the season. In also came Daniel Webb who, being signed from non-league Weymouth, did not appear to be a League One striker. In two years at the club, he made ten substitute appearances, making no starts and scoring no goals before dropping back into non-league, where he failed to hold down a first team place at Isthmian League AFC Wimbledon.

As soon as those key players were sold, results began to suffer. After Hartlepool, which was Lee Johnson’s last game, there followed a run of only two wins in 13 games, as Yeovil slid down to 20th and relegation suddenly became a real possibility again. A vital 3-0 win at Chesterfield halted the slide despite major injuries to Anthony Barry and on-loan Tommy Doherty, and another crucial win at struggling Walsall in March gave the Glovers hope. Still hovering around 20th, a late rally with victories against Gillingham and a surprise away win at Huddersfield courtesy of another Phil Jevons brace, was just enough to see the Glovers safe and finish the season in the dizzy heights of 16th, six points clear of relegation.

The departures did not end there, as the playing budget was cut further and more players were sold or allowed to leave for nothing. At the end of the season Phil Jevons and Chris Weale both left on free transfers to re-join Gary Johnson at Bristol City. Amankwaah was sold to Swansea for £250,000. There was not much sign of the proceeds of these sales being put back into the team, except for the absolute steal of making Chris Cohen a permanent signing from West Ham for around £90,000. New manager Russell Slade saw his playing squad reduced from over 20 to around 16 as a revolving door of loan players became the new recruitment policy. Fortunately, Slade proved himself able to work with a small budget as he had done at his previous clubs, and also a canny mover in the transfer market, bringing in players such as Marcus Stewart, Lee Morris and Leon Best. Despite the apparent decrease in resources, Yeovil were able to stabilise in League One for several years and even get to the playoff final in 2006/07, very much against the odds. In the summer of 2006, Webb sold his shares to John Fry who became the owner after many years as Chairman.

At the start of the 2005/06 season, nine players in the Yeovil squad had been at the club since the Conference days. By the start of the following season, only Skiverton and Lindegaard remained. By the start of 2007/08, only Skiverton and Guyett remained of the team who had won League Two just two years earlier.

Team that day: Steve Collis, Kevin Amankwaah (sub. Andy Lindegaard 35), Nathan Jones, Terry Skiverton, Scott Guyett, Chris Cohen, Lee Johnson, Paul Terry, David Poole (sub. Arron Davies 85), Matt Harrold, Phil Jevons (sub. Kevin Gall 86). Subs not used: Chris Weale, Luke Oliver

 

Yeovil Town 3 Brentford 0 – Saturday 2nd February 2013

Yeovil went on a remarkable run over the winter of 2012/13, winning eight in a row which took them from 12th up to 3rd in League One. The run included impressive victories away at Portsmouth, Sheffield United and Coventry, and big wins at home over Leyton Orient and Brentford. Following the mid-season arrivals of Dan Burn and Paddy Madden, the team had a very settled look with a strong starting XI. Recently arrived was Madden’s compatriot Kevin Dawson, who made his league debut at Sheffield Utd and would be ever-present on the right wing for the rest of the season, scoring the first goal in the memorable playoff win at Huish Park.

Of course scorer of the decisive goal against Sheffield Utd and a key member of the team was Ed Upson, who arrived without much fanfare in the summer of 2010, but by 2012 was the heart of the midfield and had become an assist machine in the mould of Lee Johnson. He scored one of his best goals for Yeovil in this 3-0 win in February 2013, which took the Glovers up to 7th. The other goals came from Madden, and Dan Burn right at the end.

Probably crucial to Upson’s development was that he was given time to develop and grow into the team. Rising through the youth team at Ipswich, he never made a league appearance for them, and following brief loan spells at Barnet and Stevenage he was released in the summer of 2010, when he was signed for Yeovil by Terry Skiverton.

In his first season, he was bedded into the team slowly, mainly as a replacement when Shaun MacDonald was not available, making 16 starts. He actually scored his only goal of that season on one of his first starts, as a very patched-up Yeovil side took an early 2-0 lead at Hartlepool in the FA Cup but ended up losing 4-2.

The following season he was given the No. 8 shirt and was first choice in midfield, forming a partnership with Paul Wotton in the first half of the season and making 45 appearances in all competitions. He began to develop an eye for goal, scoring five times mostly from long range, including this absolute stunner against Wycombe, as well as other long range strikes against Hereford and Fleetwood, both in the FA Cup. He also scored in the first minute of a 2-2 derby draw against Exeter.

However a midfielder’s job is to create goals more than score them, and in his first full season Upson got a creditable 9 assists, the most in the team and just ahead of Andy Williams with 8. Assists have become a very useful way of a measuring a player’s contribution especially in attacking areas, and it can also highlight the value of those who might possibly be under-appreciated if they create a lot more goals than they score. For example, Kevin Gall contributed 14 assists in 2003/04 and 12 in 2004/05, which may indicate why Gary Johnson kept him in the team even when the goals dried up.

Assists are still not very reliably recorded, and tend to be spread throughout the team much more than goals but looking at the available data a team needs at least one player who is going to get in double figures to have a good season, and high teens is a very good return. Anything over 20 would be exceptional – a midfielder who gets 20 assists is much harder to find than a striker who gets 20 goals. In many seasons, Yeovil have not had a player in double figures for assists and have not had once since Sam Foley in 2015, although Tom Knowles should get well into the teens this season (2021/22) if he doesn’t get injured.

Some of our most successful seasons have seen Michael McIndoe get 23 (2002/03), Lee Johnson get 20 (2003/04), and Chris Cohen get 13 (2006/07). Sam Foley got a very impressive 13 in 2014/15 despite playing in a team that got relegated. King of the assist makers is undoubtedly Lee Johnson, who got around 80 in 4.5 years at the club, so consistently almost 20 a season. By contrast, in the years that Yeovil have struggled, we have not had anyone in double figures – in 2007/08, Anthony Barry came out top with 6. What were the wingers doing that season? Things did improve under Skivo, with Andy Welsh contributing 10 in 2009/10 and 12 in 2010/11, so perhaps he was under-appreciated a bit.

This brings us back to Ed Upson, whose incredible 6 goals and 18 assists in 2012/13 represents one of the best returns we’ve ever seen for an attacking midfielder. Not quite as good as Lee Johnson’s 11 goals and 17 assists in 2004/05, but that’s a high bar.

Like Johnson Jr, Upson also specialised in spectacular goals, memorably scoring two from long range against Bristol Rovers in the JPT, as well as the only goal in a 1-0 win over play-off rivals Tranmere. He would continue to raise his game at Championship level, securing 5 goals and 3 assists in half of a difficult season before moving to Millwall in January. With his contract running out, he had shown that he was capable of playing at a higher level than Yeovil and taking a transfer fee rather than allowing him to leave for nothing at the end of his contract was probably the right choice. He did leave us with some good Championship memories though, scoring Yeovil’s first Championship goal at Millwall on the first day, as well as two more long range efforts against Nottingham Forest in a 3-1 win.

He played in the Championship for two years, before being relegated to League One with Millwall. He remained with the Lions for another year, before spending two years at MK Dons and three at Bristol Rovers, all in League One, and it looks like he’s still got an eye for goal. He has since played for Newport and just moved to Stevenage so who knows, perhaps as he gets towards the end of his career we will see him again!

Team that day: Marek Stech, Luke Ayling, Jamie McAllister, Byron Webster, Dan Burn, Matt Dolan (sub. Joe Edwards 24), Ed Upson (sub. Dominic Blizzard 82), Kevin Dawson, Sam Foley, James Hayter (sub. Kwesi Appiah 74), Paddy Madden. Subs not used: Gareth Stewart, Richard Hinds, Lewis Young, Gavin Williams

Yeovil Town 1 Northampton Town 0 – Tuesday 12th February 2008

Following the unexpected Playoff Final of 2006/07, Russell Slade’s second season in charge of Yeovil turned out to be much more of a challenge. The core of the team – Mildenhall, Skiverton, Forbes, Jones, Guyett, Barry, Stewart – remained the same, and those who moved on seemed to see like for like replacements. The biggest loss was undoubtedly Chris Cohen, the player of the season sold for £1.2 million with Arron Davies to Nottingham Forest. Out also went Terry, Kalala, Morris, and Gray. In to replace them came Lee Peltier, Marc Bircham, Gary Dempsey, Paul Warne and Lloyd Owusu. Slade brought in Bircham and Dempsey to replace Kalala and Cohen in midfield, but both of them spent the first half of the season injured. Bircham, probably the biggest profile signing of the summer after playing over 150 times for QPR, did not work out and would make only 13 starts in two years at the club. Marvin Williams, a winger/striker signed from Millwall to replace Davies, was also injured early in the season and made very few appearances before moving on to Brentford. The other midfield signing, Ritchie Jones on loan from Manchester United, failed to make much of an impact.

The Glovers endured an uneven start to the season characterised by a new fragility at the back and a tendency to concede very late goals. Goals in the last few minutes against Tranmere, Leeds, Bristol Rovers, Millwall, Swansea and even bottom club Cheltenham all cost points in the first half of the season. The foundation of the team’s success in 2006/07 had been their resolute defence and ability to sit on a one goal lead. On only two occasions did Yeovil draw after scoring first (both early in the season), and they did not once lose in the league after scoring first, but in 2007/08 it became a recurring theme even though the defence was the same – the only difference was that Lee Peltier came in at right back in place of the numerous right backs needed to cover Mark Lynch’s serious injury in 2006. The key to the Glovers’ solidity appears to have been the two spoilers in midfield, Terry and Kalala, who were both gone. Matthew Rose was very capable in that role when fit, which wasn’t very often. I seem to recall him being known as Mr Glass at his previous clubs due to the frequency with which he was injured. To add to the injury problems, Steve Mildenhall suffered two extended absences to injuries sustained during games, both of which led to outfield players having to go in goal (Skiverton against Leyton Orient and Alcock against Walsall) due to there being no reserve keeper at the club. Three loan keepers were brought in at various times, all of them playing in the No. 31 shirt.

Despite these numerous injury setbacks, Yeovil were 8th at Christmas. With Gary Dempsey finally fit and available, winger Zoltan Stieber on loan from Aston Villa and striker Andy Kirk arriving from Northampton, things seemed to be looking up with the Glovers still in play-off contention, but it was all downhill from there. A 2-1 win at home to Brighton at the end of December was followed by a run of eight games without a win, as Yeovil slid from 8th down to 15th. With several key players still absent with injury, the squad became a revolving door of loan signings with players like Simon Church, Liam Bridcutt, Jean-Francois Christophe and Aidan Downes coming and then going again.

Without a win in 2008, the Glovers were getting desperate for any kind of result ahead of the visit of Northampton in February. A game fairly low on chances but which the home side had slightly the better of ticked into injury time, and with their last chance of the game an Anthony Barry corner was partially cleared, falling to Captain Fantastic Terry Skiverton who lashed home the ball with his left foot to secure a dramatic winner. It did not signal a change in fortunes but did halt the slide, as Yeovil limped on to the end of the season finishing in 18th, securing League One status by surprisingly spoiling the promotion party at Champions Swansea.

It was not the first time that Skiverton would pop up with a dramatic late goal. He scored a lot for a centre half, 44 in total at Yeovil. Not all of them with his head either, although he did injure himself more than once while scoring with a header. Memorable for most people would be the dramatic 89th-minute strike from outside the area to give Yeovil the 5-4 win in the FA Trophy replay at Doncaster. However he also scored many other crucial goals – in 2005, with the Glovers struggling to hold on to top spot in League Two, he scored both goals in a 2-1 win at Boston. In 1999, he scored the first two in a 5-1 demolition of Rushden at Huish Park. In 2002/03, he was the leading scorer for a time at the start of the season, as the Glovers tried to recover from the loss of Adam Stansfield on the first day. He scored 7 goals in his first 13 games, including a crucial injury time equaliser on the first day to complete a comeback from 2-0 down against Gravesend, and a late winner at Kettering a couple of weeks later, before celebrating the delayed return to Huish Park with another. My own personal favourite memory was when Yeovil went into the game against Doncaster in 2006 needing a win to avoid relegation, and Skivo scored in the 8th minute to send us on the way to a comfortable 3-0 win with a sublime shot from the edge of the area, off the inside of the post. What would turn out to be his last goal for the club was also a cracker – very similar to the one against Donny, the only goal in a 1-0 win over Tranmere in 2008. His best goal-scoring seasons were 2002/03 with 9, 7 in 1999/2000 and 6 in 2005/06.

He didn’t only play in defence either – in 2000/01, due to Warren Patmore’s troublesome hamstring and Barrington Belgrave’s suspension, he was deployed as an emergency striker at the end of the season as Yeovil attempted to chase down Rushden, donning Patmore’s No. 9 shirt at least twice. In one of his last seasons as a player he even had a go in goal, coming in to cover after Steve Mildenhall was injured against Leyton Orient as there was no keeper on the bench. The game was lost 1-0, but to be fair Mildenhall was injured in the process of conceding and Skivo did keep a clean sheet for the 30 or so minutes he was in goal.

Team that day: Scott Flinders, Lee Peltier, Nathan Jones, Scott Guyett, Terry Skiverton, Matthew Rose, Anthony Barry, Liam Bridcutt, Jaime Peters (sub. Marvin Williams 75), Lloyd Owusu (sub. Simon Church 68), Andy Kirk. Subs not used: Craig Alcock, Zoltan Stieber, Paul Warne

Yeovil Town 2 Exeter City 1 – Saturday 23rd January 2010

In January 2010, Huish Park hosted Exeter City for the first time ever in a League fixture. Yeovil’s rise to League One had coincided with a period in the doldrums for Exeter, who were relegated to the Conference the same year that Yeovil were promoted, and remained there until 2008.

Yeovil lined up in a new 4-3-3 formation with Williams, Bowditch and Obika up front. It was a scrappy affair, with Yeovil taking the lead through their first attack. The front line of Exeter had a very familiar look to it, as lining up for them were former Glovers Marcus Stewart and Adam Stansfield. Stansfield scored the equaliser, but Yeovil went ahead before half time through Spurs loanee Ryan Mason and the Grecians seemed to tire in the second half as both strikers were replaced and Yeovil cruised to victory in front of 6,282.

Adam Stansfield showed a lot of class in not celebrating his goal, although a common gesture now it was less common then. Especially given what a committed and whole-hearted player he was, and if anything he might have felt entitled to celebrate in front of the club who let him go in 2004. He did not get much of a chance for Yeovil in League Two, and here he was showing he could still score in League One. But his gesture showed how much of a place Yeovil had in his heart, as even though he played more games for Hereford and Exeter, Yeovil are a big part of Adam Stansfield’s story, and he is a big part of ours.

Adam arrived at Huish Park in November 2001, a couple of months into Gary Johnson’s first season. It was probably the lowest point of that season, as his debut came in a best-forgotten 3-0 drubbing at Southport which saw the Glovers 2-0 down inside the first ten minutes and Lee Johnson sent off. After the game Yeovil lay in 10th with some even questioning whether Gary Johnson was up to the job. However it was all improvement from there – the following week, Yeovil scrapped their way to a 1-0 win at Margate which began an unbeaten run of 20 league and cup games. It was taking time to build a side as Gary Johnson had inherited a team which had lost several of its best players over the summer, and he was facing the need to re-build. He took his time finding the right players to fill the two obvious gaps at right back and up front, which he eventually did with the two Adams, Lockwood and Stansfield. Although he had Carl Alford, Chris Giles, Scott Ramsay and later on Kim Grant, they were all of a similar build – he had a lot of big men up front, but no little man. Adam Stansfield was that little man. He had come seemingly from nowhere, after having signed at the age of 23 from Elmore, a Western League side based in Tiverton who played at the same level as Yeovil’s reserves. But even though it took him time to adjust, the fans took to him straight away due to his effort and commitment, he was the kind of player fans love with his constant running, and he always played with a smile on his face.

He came straight into the first team, and started every game he was available for except one, when he was rested at the end of the season against upcoming Trophy Final opponents Stevenage. His first goal came away at Northwich in his fourth game, and after taking a while to adjust to Conference football he went on an incredible run of 13 goals in 13 games, he could not stop scoring. He had gone from an unknown in Devon non-league to one of the first names on Yeovil’s team sheet in just a couple of months. He would end up scoring 16 goals in 30 starts, comfortably eclipsing his more experienced strike partner Carl Alford, although he arguably had a more productive partnership with Kim Grant. He was quick, would chase down defenders and could score with either foot. The obvious comparison at the time might have been Michael Owen, but he seemed more similar to Craig Bellamy, the way he hassled defenders and made a nuisance of himself. He also got his share of assists, grabbing ten to go with his 16 goals including a hat-trick in the 5-1 win at Morecambe.

Of course most will always associate Adam Stansfield with the 2002 FA Trophy run, where he scored 8 of his 16 goals including the memorable one in the Final, from a sublime first touch that left the defender in his dust. The run began back on his old turf, scoring twice in a 3-1 win at Tiverton. In the next round he scored a late equaliser to force a replay against Doncaster, and the two goals that would complete the comeback at Belle Vue in the replay. His incredible strike from distance to put Yeovil 4-3 up was even better, and from further out, than Terry Skiverton’s late winner. He would score in every round except the semi-final, and certainly had plenty of chances in the televised game against Burton, but with the tie already dead at 4-0 up, he did not appear to have his shooting boots on that day. One of his most memorable moments that season came after the final whistle, as he accidentally swore in the post-match interview after the FA Trophy Final, while excitably giving a ‘Shout to to the Elmore boys!’

Sadly Adam suffered a serious leg break just minutes into the historic 2002/03 campaign and he missed the entire season. Who knows how many goals he would have scored being supplied chances from Johnson, Crittenden, Williams and McIndoe for 50-odd games.

Thankfully he made a return in Yeovil’s first league season in 2003/04, although he was not first choice. Even though Yeovil struggled a little bit up front in their first season, the first choice was generally Kirk Jackson, and later Jake Edwards, partnered by Kevin Gall and although it seemed like the manager was often not very happy with his strikers (with Edwards and Gall both scoring ten, very few of which were after Christmas), Adam’s chances remained very limited. When given chances he was effective, scoring 6 goals in only 7 starts. In his first start against Swansea in September, he got a goal and an assist in a 2-0 win, and despite being dropped again, scored from the bench against York in the next game, but still didn’t start another game until the end of December. Later in the season he was given starts against Cambridge and Boston, scoring in both, but was not given runs in the team and was dropped again. From a personal point of view this seemed very unfair as when he played, he scored, but he was never given a run in the team even when other strikers weren’t delivering. His last appearance typified what must have been a frustrating year – on the last day of the season, Yeovil needed a win away at Lincoln to have a chance of the play-offs. Gall was played up front on his own, but with the game 0-0 at half time, Edwards and Stansfield were introduced at half time and both scored, Stansfield taking just two minutes to have an impact. He was released at the end of the season, and in my view slightly prematurely as he had done nothing to suggest he couldn’t make it at league level.

He spent the next two years at Hereford which we’ll forgive him for, scoring 24 goals in 2004/05, and 11 more in an injury-hit 2005/06. He helped Hereford to promotion from the Conference in 2006, and then did the same again for Exeter in 2008, achieving the unusual feat of being promoted from the Conference three times with different clubs. Managed by another former Glover in Paul Tisdale, Exeter went straight through League Two and were promoted automatically in 2009, which finally brought them to the same level as Yeovil from 2009 to 2012. Although not as prolific at Exeter, Adam remained a consistent performer, scoring 39 goals in 160 appearances through the Conference and up to League One. He scored eight goals in 30 games of what would turn out to be his final season.

Sadly, shortly after the game against Yeovil in January, Adam was diagnosed with bowel cancer in March of the same year. Although initial treatment was successful and he did report for pre-season training, his condition deteriorated and he died on 10th August 2010 at the very young age of 31. He was well liked by everyone and will be remembered by every club he played for. Exeter retired his No. 9 shirt for nine years, and he has stands named after him at Exeter and Elmore.

Adam was married to Marie just before he joined Yeovil and they had three children. His son Jay came through the Exeter Academy before signing for Championship side Fulham in 2019. He has just recently started appearing for Fulham’s first team, scoring his first goal in the League Cup against Birmingham on 24 August 2021, at the age of 20.

Team that day: Alex McCarthy, Craig Alcock, Nathan Jones, Stefan Stam, Steven Caulker, Jean-Paul Kalala, Shaun MacDonald, Ryan Mason (sub. Keiran Murtagh 60), Jonathan Obika (sub. Andy Welsh 67), Sam Williams, Dean Bowditch (sub. Nathan Smith 90). Subs not used: Ben Roberts, Terrell Forbes, Scott Murray, Aidan Downes

 

Doncaster Rovers 0 Yeovil Town 4 – Saturday 12th April 2002

On the day that Yeovil were confirmed Conference Champions in April 2002, they were scheduled to play at Doncaster live on Sky, after being ignored for much of the season. Despite Yeovil being top since September, Sky had showed their usual favour towards the ex-league teams and had not shown Yeovil since their first game back at Huish Park against Woking. In other circumstances this might have been a title decider, as Doncaster had probably been the pick of the chasing teams and looked most likely to challenge the Glovers. It is often the way that the two top teams play each other towards the end of the season, as happened when Yeovil hosted Rushden and Diamonds in April 2001.

It wasn’t to be though, as Donny had lost their games in hand and their challenge had fallen away. Yeovil had the chance to seal the title at home to Telford the previous week, but as Chester won they could technically be caught on goal difference, however unlikely that might be. So it appeared that Yeovil would have to beat Doncaster live on Sky in order to win the title, a tough proposition. As it happened, we were confirmed champions before the game started – the 5.30 kick-off meant all of the 3.00 games had finished. Chester dropped points at home to struggling Woking and could no longer catch the Glovers – they had scored two very late goals after going 2-0 down but it wasn’t enough and the game finished 2-2. There was jubilation among the 1000 or so travelling fans on the crumbling Doncaster terrace as the title was won without even kicking a ball. We hoped that the game wouldn’t be an anti-climax after all our hard work being ignored by Sky, and that we could still put on a show.

Fortunately that was exactly what happened, as Yeovil ran away with the game, beating one of their nearest rivals 4-0 on their own ground in front of their biggest crowd of the season. In fairness it had been a tight game until a flurry of goals at the end of the first half gave Yeovil a 3-0 lead. Darren Way barged his way into the box and in the process of falling over accidentally diverted the ball into the net for his only goal of the season. Michael McIndoe scored the second from the penalty spot, and Lee Johnson scored the third in the most unusual circumstances.

Defender Steve Foster blocked a cross in the box, and played it back to Andy Warrington who picked the ball up, giving away a free kick as it was a deliberate back-pass; Yeovil were given a free-kick about six yards out. Although this seems like a good thing it often ends in farce, as when the entire defending team lines up on the goal line it is very difficult to score from an indirect free-kick, as this example earlier in the season against Telford shows.

However, showing determination and speed of thought, Kevin Gall wrestled the ball away from the goalkeeper and took a quick free-kick to Lee Johnson who scored, all while the defenders were continuing to argue about the decision. The entire defence switched off, including the keeper who was still holding the ball but let go of it. Some have pointed out since that it was technically an illegal free-kick as the ball has to be placed at least six yards out even if the offence is on the goal-line so it was taken from the wrong place, but it would not have made any difference and the goal was allowed.

Kevin Gall scored a fourth just after half time and the game ended 4-0. The cherry on the cake came in the 89th minute, when Chris Weale saved a penalty from Conference top scorer Paul Barnes, keeping Kirk Jackson in with a shout of the golden boot at the end of the season.

Lee Johnson’s goal is something that exemplified Yeovil’s speed and initiative which was a big feature of the team around that time. Gary Johnson liked to keep the game moving, ball boys and girls were expected to give the ball back immediately by operating a ‘multi-ball’ system at Huish Park, there was no time-wasting and the game was kept moving as much as possible. This often gave Yeovil the advantage as it is much easier to attack a team which has not had time to set its defence, and it often caught the opposition out in both the Conference and League Two.

On several occasions this led directly to goals, such as Andy Lindegaard’s first against in-form Morecambe in a very tight game in January 2002 that ended 2-0, the second in the 3-1 win at Rochdale, and the first in the 4-0 home win over Bristol Rovers. Yeovil re-started the game so quickly that the TV cameras often missed goals, including one of their first goals in the Football League at Rochdale. These are the clearest examples but even with corners and throw-ins it gives a huge advantage to attack a team that is not ready. It was noticeable in later years that the Glovers could be quite ponderous coming forward, and no matter how good the players are that you have, if you are slow coming forward then you give the opposition time to line up against you and ensure they are all in formation and marking who they are supposed to mark. Sometimes speed is the best advantage. The quicker you can be, the less prepared the opposition is and the more likely you are to find gaps and force mistakes, which was a big feature of Gary Johnson’s team in the 2002-2005 era.

Team that day: Chris Weale, Roy O’Brien (sub. Adam Lockwood, 60), Terry Skiverton, Colin Pluck, Darren Way, Lee Johnson, Andy Lindegaard (sub. Abdou El Kholti, 65), Michael McIndoe, Gavin Williams, Kirk Jackson, Kevin Gall (sub. Nick Crittenden, 74). Subs not used: Steve Collis, Chris Giles