Latest Yeovil Town News (Page 71)

Yeovil Town manager Darren Sarll has vowed to give his squad players time on the pitch in next weekend’s FA Trophy Tie against Woking.

Speaking to BBC Somerset’s Sheridan Robins after the Glovers 1-0 National League win over Barnet on Saturday, the manager singled out Alex Bradley, Reuben Reid and goalkeeper Max Evans as being in line for some game tie in the tie.

Alex Bradley in conversation with manager Darren Sarll.

Everyone knows they are going to be used, especially next week when we play Woking.

“Alex (Bradley) thoroughly deserves to start a game, Knowlesy needs to start a game, it is so important Reuben (Reid) gets a minimum of an hour. Max Evans deserves a game.

“I don’t think I can afford to say it is a good time to rotate the squad because there’s not much after the XI that makes it a squad.

Alex Bradley hasn’t completed 90 minutes in a National League game since the 1-0 loss to Stockport at the back end of last season, but has come the bench in each of the last five games, with three of those appearances lasting less than five minutes.

Reuben Reid has made a couple of appearances from the bench since his return from injury and the suggestion is he could be in line for a longer stint in the side, whilst back-up goalkeeper Max Evans has only played in the Somerset Premier Cup this season.

Tom Knowles has only played 41 minutes since going off having been judo slammed to the floor by Dover defender Danny Collinge a fortnight ago, and the boss also hopes to have left-back Jordan Barnett back from an illness which has kept him out for the last two matches.

Despite the changes, Sarll promised that he still has a desire to go far in the competition, speaking of Terry Skiverton’s desire to try and repeat the Glovers’ 2002 success.

The manager added: “It is a competition Terry speaks so well of, so we will not degrade it, that keeps us making sure we have to keep playing the same group.

“Everyone will be involved and we will try and beat Woking, it is important we keep that winning feeling.

“People can change the team too much, but we will only be able to make two or three changes, but it won’t be wholesale at all.”

Tickets for the game are heavily reduced with under-16s going FREE, to get yours visit the official website – here.

Venue: Huish Park
Saturday December 11th, 3pm kick-off

Conditions: Drizzly
Pitch: More like a carpet than Ian’s actual carpet

Attendance: 2,024 (98 away supporters)

Scorers: Adi Yussuf 9 (1-0)

Referee: Ryan Atkin

Bookings:
Yeovil Town: Gorman 22, Williams 31, Lo-Everton 39, Bradley 90+5
Barnet: Beard 70, The entire bench 87

Sending off:
Barnet: Mason-Clarke 87



Yeovil Town
: (4-3-3)

Grant Smith
Dan Moss, Max Hunt, Luke Wilkinson, Morgan Williams
Matt Worthington, Josh Staunton, Dale Gorman
Sonny Blu Lo-Everton, Adi Yussuf, Charlie Wakefield

Substitutes: Tom Knowles (for Adi Yussuf, 73), Reuben Reid (for Charlie Wakefield, 88), Alex Bradley (for Dale Gorman, 90+4), Max Evans.

Barnet: Oxborough, Thomas, Turley, Hall, Brundle, Mason-Clark, Greenridge, Fonguck (for Payne, 81), Taylor, Tasdemir (for Richards-Everton, 71), Beard.

Substitutes (not used): Askew, Bloomfield, Granville.

 


Match Report

A first half goal from striker Adi Yussuf sealed a third consecutive win which extended Yeovil Town’s unbeaten run to eleven first-team matches – and yes, the Somerset Premier Cup still counts!

The game is unable to report on without breaking the Gloverscast‘s Rule 1 of not commenting on National League referees.

It appeared that the man in the middle Ryan Atkin was convinced the 2,024 people at Huish Park turned up to watch him.

We’d discipline Ian for so many references to the official in this report, but we can do nothing up agree with him…..

First half

Yeovil manager Darren Sarll named an unchanged starting XI from the 1-0 win over Stevenage in the FA Cup seven days earlier, but was only able to name four substitutes with young midfielder Ollie Haste away with the English Colleges team.

The Glovers controlled the opening stages and Adi Yussuf came close to opening the scoring. The Tanzanian got a touch onto a fizzed Dale Gorman cross the ball bounced off the shoulder of Aston Oxborough onto the crossbar.

Adi Yussuf rises highest to head a ninth-minute winner against Barnet.
Picture courtesy of Mike Kunz.

Yeovil took the lead moments later through the same combination. Gorman looped a left footed cross to the back post and YUSSUF powerfully headed past the helpless Oxborough.

It all got a bit confusing in the 22nd minute with Gorman getting a yellow card from referee Ryan Atkin for time-wasting when he was waiting to take a free-kick.

Not quite sure what happened but Rule #1 and all. (For the newcomers, we know the National League refs are useless so we’ve given up complaining about them).

Midway through the first half, as Barnet gained a foothold, Yussuf and the giant Reiss Greenidge began a classic defender vs attacker battle of shirt pulling and handbag had the potential to boil over.

Morgan Williams went into the book in the 30th minute with a clumsy tackle on the speedy Ryan Hall.

Sonny Blu Lo-Everton was given yellow in the 39th for a fairly innocuous looking tackle but it was, perhaps, a booking for an accumulation of things. He was given a talking to early on for a challenge from behind that was probably worthy of a yellow.

It got heated towards end of the half, with Ephram Mason-Clark going down very easily under pressure Luke Wilkinson. It was never a penalty and the referee felt that way too.

Moments later Lo-Everton was fouled in not dissimilar circumstances from that which he was booked for. (Rule #1)

The referee drew the half to a close and was booed off by the Huish Park faithful. Presumably for this desire to speed up Yeovil set pieces but not Barnet’s.

Half time: Yeovil Town 1 Barnet 0

Second half

As a purple haze took over the skies in the second half Barnet had a couple of early shots from distance. The Bees controlled the opening spells and certainly had more of a threat about them than Yeovil.

As games go it was a very even affair, but as Barnet began to chase the game pockets started opening.

Charlie Wakefield was the outlet on the right and was full of energy as usual. His low cross around the hour mark drew a corner which the Glovers couldn’t capitalise on.

You knows it’s a bit of a dull affair when people start waking their phone torches about, and on 65 it became that level of dull.

Errors started to creep into the Barnet team and Yeovil looked the more likely of the sides to find a goal.

Yeovil continued to find spaces spaces create half opening. Gorman had a tame effort saved around the 66th minute.

Moments later some neat footwork by Yussuf opened up space on the halfway line and he released Lo-Everton. The Watford loanee carved out a bit of space but his shot went into the side netting.

66.6% of our midfield nearly combined to find the second with Matt Worthington finding his follicle compatriot Gorman in the edge of the box, but the Northern Irishman’s first touch took him wide of goal. Maybe he was too close to shoot?

Barnet applied some pressure late on with the Glovers forced into some robust defending. There was another shout for a penalty which eas denied and suddenly all hell broke loose.

Barnet’s Ephron Mason-Clark is shown a red card.
Picture courtesy of Mike Kunz.

Handbags of the highest order resulted in a  red card for Mason-Clark after a coming together with Gorman, followed by four yellows in the direction of the Barnet bench, in another never-before-seen at Huish Park.

As the rain fell Barnet chased, Yeovil held firm and earned themselves a decent win against an in-form Barnet although they did have opportunities to make it a bit more relaxing than it was!

Full time: Yeovil Town 1 Barnet 0

 

Yeovil Town name an unchanged starting line-up for the National League match at home to Barnet today (3pm kick-off).

Glovers’ boss Darren Sarll can only name four substitutes again with youth team midfielder Ollie Haste, who has featured on the bench in recent games, misses out. He was called up for the English Colleges national team who have a game on Tuesday.

There is no place in the squad for left-back Jordan Barnett who missed out through illness last weekend.

For the visitors, there is no place for top-scorer Adam Marriott, who has become a father this week, or ex-MK Dons winger Daniel Powell, who was praised by boss Dean Brennan in the week.

Ex-Yeovil academy player Mitch Brundle starts in midfield.

Yeovil Town: Smith, Moss, Wilkinson, Hunt, Williams, Staunton, Gorman, Worthington, Lo-Everton, Wakefield, Yussuf.

Substitutes: Evans, Bradley, Knowles,  Reid.

Barnet: Oxborough, Thomas, Turley, Hall, Brundle, Mason-Clark, Greenridge, Fonguck, Taylor, Tasdemir, Beard.

Substitutes: Askew, Payne, Richards-Everton, Bloomfield, Granville.

 

Dan Moss. Picture courtesy of Mike Kunz.

No less than three Yeovil Town players have been rewarded with a place in the FA Cup Team of the Round for Round 2.

The Glovers beat Stevenage 1-0 live on the BBC to land a record 21st Football League scalp in the competition as a non-league side.

Goalkeeper Grant Smith, and on loan duo Dan Moss and Sonny Blu Lo Everton have been given a place in the side as voted for by Twitter users.

The mythical XI also includes representatives of Kidderminster, Mansfield and Leyton Orient, but Yeovil are the only side with three entrants.

Smith made a number of crucial saves, whilst Lo Everton slid the ball through to assist the match winner from Charlie Wakefield.

Dan Moss was voted Man of the Match by the BBC team and is rightly listed in the side following a string of brilliant performances.

A huge congratulations to all three.

Yeovil Town will host AFC Bournemouth in the 3rd Round on Saturday 8th of January at 17:30pm

Left-back Jordan Barnett will not be available for tomorrow’s home match with Barnet, manager Darren Sarll has said.

Jordan Barnett
Picture courtesy of Mike Kunz.

The former Notts County man sat out last weekend’s FA Cup win over Stevenage with an illness and the boss said he was not expecting him back until the FA Trophy tie with Woking next weekend.

Sarll said: “Jordan (Barnett) has not enough training time after his illness, so I don’t think he’ll make it because I don’t really want to risk him. He will be okay for next week.”

He added that striker Reuben Reid is also looking to return to the starting line-up for the game against Woking.

The experienced frontman came off the bench for the final nine minutes against Stevenage and the boss said he had given him “a big lift.”

He added: “For a chap who’s trained for or five times in three months, his first touch is scary and the way he saw the game out at the end and used his body to move the defender, he is a very good player.

“I’m hoping he’ll start next Saturday against Woking, that’s a good time to get half a match or 60 minutes in to him.”

Reuben Reid. Picture courtesy of Mike Kunz.

In other news from the Friday morning press conference:

  • The players were given a two-and-a-half day break after last weekend’s win and the manager spoke about using players who have not featured as much cover the Christmas period:
    Sarll said: “We just need to get through Saturday without any more injuries and we can go in to next weekend (against Woking in the FA Trophy) and we’ll have to change the team.
    “Players like Alex Bradley have been brilliant, he needs game time amongst others, so it’s a chance to shuffle the pack and see a few others.”
  • With the Omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus forcing games to be cancelled, Sarll said the team was continuing to be regularly tested.
    He said: “We  are very lucky with the medical team we have here, as soon as we have a symptom we lock down the changing room.
    “But I think this is going to be life, so you have to adapt or get left behind. A COVID break is always on the cards at any points, but I think I have accept that as the norm now.”
  • There was praise for midfielder Matt Worthington for his role in the  goal which won the FA Cup tie against Stevenage last weekend.
    He said: “The player who came from Bournemouth was a deep-lying midfield player who received the ball from deep and would never really venture forward.
    “Now we have this marauding, old-fashioned number eight that goes box to box, and he’s really grown in to a player he was never going to be three years ago.”

Darren Sarll has said his focus is on preparing his Yeovil Town team for this weekend’s home match with Barnet – despite takeover talks off the pitch at Huish Park.

Last Sunday, Chairman Scott Priestnall issued a statement when he gave two groups he was negotiating with to buy the club seven days to complete a deal with one group, led by former Cardiff City commercial director Julian Jenkins, confirming that it was in talks to buy the club.

Darren Sarll
Yeovil Town manager Darren Sarll.
Picture courtesy of Mike Kunz,.

Asked about the situation ahead of the weekend’s match, Sarll said: “If you want stability and clarity, don’t work in football! I have never had it in 21 years.

“I only ever concentrate on things I can affect, I don’t concentrate on the things I can’t control.

“The things I can affect are what we do in training every day, trying to send players out in the best shape mentally and physically down the tunnel.

“We are punching so far above our weight and we are just trying to keep it going on Saturday.

He said he had not spoken with the players about the statement, adding: “The owner of the business will do what he thinks is right for him and his business.

“Scott (Priestnall, club chairman) is the boss and he will make decisions and act accordingly, I am the manager of the team and I will act accordingly.

The manager also spoke about whether he felt he had been supported with investment in the squad admitting he was “short of players” but saying he was happy with his side’s form going in to the weekend.

Yeovil were able to name five players on the substitutes’ bench for last weekend’s FA Cup second round win over Stevenage, including back-up goalkeeper Max Evans and youth team midfielder Ollie Haste.

In the previous fixture, the 2-0 win away at Wrexham ten days ago, they were only able to name four replacements.

Sarll said: “From a footballing point of view we are in a good places, players are enjoying their time with us and it’s a nice moment when players are improving at the same time.

“Look at (central defender Max) Hunt, (on-loan Watford forward) Sonny (Blu Lo-Everton), (on-loan Millwall full-back) Dan Moss, (winger-turned-striker Charlie) Wakefield and (midfielder) Matthew (Worthington) are improving on our watch which is a nice thing to be able to say as a coach.

“We could do with a couple of extra players to allow us to work on more in training, but on the pitch it is going grand.

“I might be moaning in a couple of weeks, but at the moment we are enjoying the work we are doing.”

 

Over the past six games there, this weekend’s visitors to Huish Park are top of the National League form table.

Barnet have picked up five wins and one defeat in their past half-dozen games with that loss coming in a derby away at Wealdstone, the former club of Bees’ boss Dean Brennan, in the middle of November.

Their wins started with an impressive three points at $tockport and then with solid home form against Aldershot, Torquay and then Maidenhead United who they dispatched 3-0 last Saturday.

Brennan was particularly pleased to see his side keep on their second clean sheet of the season six days ago.

Speaking after that win, he said: “Clean sheets win titles – not that I am saying I will win the title! But the success I have had as a manager, the two titles I have won those sides have had the best clean sheet records.

That is how you have success, so I am delighted for us to get another clean sheet.

Brennan, who started the season as Director of Football at The Hive, stepped in to the managerial hot-seat when Harry Kewell was sacked after a dismal start to the season.

Since arriving in the job, Barnet have only lost three – at home to Boreham Wood in the FA Cup, big-spending Wrexham in the league and the defeat at Wealdstone.

Top of the showing charts for the visitors is Adam Marriott, who is known to Glovers’ boss Darren Sarll from their days together at Stevenage.

The striker has a modest return of four goals in 13 matches, but has got three in his last three outings including a double in the 2-1 win at Woking a fortnight ago.

Marriott did become a father this week, so hopefully his new arrival has given him a sleepless night or two before arriving in Somerset.

In the latest Gloverscast podcast we spoke to Mem from the Barnet BeesPod who picked out wide players Ephron Mason-Clark and Rob Hall as ones to watch for the visitors. If you haven’t heard Ian’s chat with Mem, listen – here.


FROM THE MANAGER

Speaking ahead of the match, Barnet manager Dean Brennan said he was looking forward to a good game at the weekend.

It will be a good game, two teams in really good form, two teams with pace and with a lot of team spirit.

“It is important we go there and don’t get beat, we want to play on the front foot which we always will do.

“We want to nullify their pace, I know Charlie Wakefield quite well having managed him before at Wealdstone last year.

“They have an experienced head in (Luke) Wilkinson in defence and two (number) eights in midfield who run hard in (Dale) Gorman and (Matt) Worthington, so it is going to be an interesting game.

“There is no easy games in this division, so we respect the opposition but we can only control what we can do, so we will get on the front foot and try and be as positive as we can.

“I am expecting a good game, I think it will be an good game with two attack-minded sides with good pace probably playing the same formation, so hopefully there will be lots of goals and hopefully for us.”

 


TEAM NEWS

Former MK Dons midfielder Daniel Powell made his comeback in the 3-0 win over Maidenhead United.

The 30-year-old has been missing for the past two months after picking up an injury, but came off the bench for the final 30 minutes last weekend.

Manager Dean Brennan said: “He’s a big player for us and he’ll be key in the gruelling Christmas period to come.

Defender Sam Woods is back in training but the trip to Somerset is likely to come too soon for him and midfielder Kian Flanagan will also be missing through injury.

Young midfielder Antonis Vasiliou has been loaned out to Isthmian League side Ashford Town (Middlesex).


A FOOT IN BOTH CAMPS

Barnet’s Mitch Brundle will be the main playing link between the two sides this weekend despite having never actually played for Yeovil Town.

The midfielder was a scholar in the Glovers’ academy for two years before being released in 2013 when he went on to join Bristol City.

Having latterly turned out for Cheltenham, Dover and Dagenham, he arrived at The Hive in the summer and has been a regular fixture in midfield, scoring the Bees’ second in their 3-0 win over Maidenhead United last weekend.

If we’re not allowed to have Jordan Barnett as a connection, then a few other players  who have a foot in both camps include:

  • Scott Loach – Yeovil Town (2015), Barnet (2019-2021)
  • Ben Nugent – Yeovil Town (2014-15), Barnet (2020-21)
  • Sam Hoskins – Yeovil Town (2013-2015), Barnet – loan (2014)
  • Keanu Marsh-Brown – Yeovil Town (2012-13), Barnet (2013-15)
  • Iffy Allen – Barnet (2012-15), Yeovil Town (2015-16)
  • Dean Parrett – Yeovil Town (2012), Barnet (2020-21)
  • Bondz N’Gala – Yeovil Town (2011-12), Barnet(2014-16)
  • Izale McLeod – Barnet (2010-2012), Yeovil Town (2016)
  • Sam Cowler – Yeovil Town – loan (2012), Barnet (2012-13, 2014-15)
  • Giuliano Grazioli – Yeovil Town (1995), Barnet (2003-2008)

 

 

 

Another busy week in YTFC. Ian and Dave chat Julian Jenkins’ tweet, the Cup draw and Kieran Maguire’s deep dive on Yeovil-related Companies House things. Ian welcomes Mem from Beespod back to talk about Barnet and that diving c*nt Harry Kewell’s dismal spell. Enjoy!

Thanks for listening!

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Toby Stephens claps the Yeovil fans

Yeovil Town loanee Toby Stephens clocked up another 90 minutes for Hemel Hempstead on Tuesday night.

The young midfielder played the full game in the Tudor’s 2-0 win over Birkhamstead in the Herts County Cup

After missing out at the weekend, sitting on the bench for the game against Dulwich Hamlet, Stephens played in midfield for the much changed Tudor’s line up.

Stephens has a week left to go on his initial one month deal having joined from the Glovers on 19th of November.

Loan Stats

Appearances: 3

Minutes: 257

Goals: 0

Bristol Rovers 0 Yeovil Town 1 – Saturday 13th December 2003

I grew up in an era when Yeovil didn’t really have any derbies. Bath and Weymouth were in lower divisions and had been for many years. We would encounter them occasionally in cup competitions, but those generally went our way and it was hard to feel much for them having never seen us play at the same level or suffer one of our many historical Boxing Day defeats to them. When I first started going to Huish Park in the 90’s we would get Forest Green or occasionally Cheltenham for our ‘festive’ fixtures, and it’s not really the same as a proper derby. The closest to that feeling I got was for Hereford, who had been Southern League rivals in the early 70’s (and promoted off the back of one decent cup result rather than league performances, let’s not forget that) but were relegated back to the Conference the same year that we were promoted, in 1997. That was the first year I saw an extreme police presence at Huish Park, helicopters circling the stadium and lots of gesturing from 14 year old lads outside the away end. We tended to beat them as well so that was always fun.

Everything changed with promotion in 2003, with the prospect of playing lots of other south west clubs – Plymouth, Swindon, Bournemouth, Torquay and of course the two Bristol clubs. Exeter suffered a very badly timed relegation so we would have to wait a few more years to play them. Most of these were fairly good-natured in my experience, but the real needle was saved for the Bristol clubs, and in particular Bristol Rovers. I don’t think there was any real hatred with most of those clubs because we didn’t have any history with them, but with Rovers it was different. Of course, we would play Bristol City a couple of years later and Gary Johnson would end up leaving us for The Big Club Up The Road (TM), coming back for a few former Yeovil players at the end of the season. Certainly there was no love lost when he left us for them in 2005, the 2-1 win over them which took us up to 2nd in League One with two late goals was particularly enjoyable, and the roar which greeted Wayne Gray’s second was probably the loudest noise I have heard at Huish Park to date.

However there could be a really unpleasant atmosphere when we played Bristol Rovers, especially in those first couple of seasons. We did play them in the LDV Trophy in 2001, when the top Conference sides were ‘invited’ to take part in the Football League Trophy. We took around 1100 fans, they stuck us in a corner, and we played fairly well to earn a 1-1 draw, with McIndoe scoring our goal but then missing a penalty in the resultant shoot-out. That gave us our first taste of the delights of the Memorial Stadium but it was dialled up to 11 the following season. At the Memorial Stadium you get shoved into a corner terrace with one of the worst views in English football (people complain about our terrace but at least you can see from it), if you’re not lucky enough to get one of the ’temporary’ seats. The Mem is a bit of a white elephant of a stadium as all of the various stands are different heights and widths and don’t run the full length of the pitch so you have a bit of green plastic seating here, half a terrace there. The main stand is sufficiently high that home fans can lob pasties and other projectiles at away fans – which I am sure they do not do and have never done. Certainly we’ve only ever had a warm welcome when we have been there, with dozens of friendly police officers escorting us to our vehicles, even if (as in our case) our vehicle was nowhere near the area they were escorting us to. It’s a charming ground. It used to be owned by the rugby club who no longer play there having moved to Ashton Gate (that must have stung), and although there has been talk of a new stadium for many years, nothing has materialised yet.

When we first played Rovers in the league they were at a low point. They finished 23rd in League Two in 2001/02, the last year that only one club went down. They only avoided relegation in 2002/03 with a late run of ten points in the last four games. So in 2003 they probably saw us arrogant upstarts, the annoying little brothers who they could previously patronise with a pat on the head, but they didn’t like it when we started playing at the same level as them, and turned out to be better. We won home and away in 2003/04 which I am sure only annoyed them more.

There was some additional needle in the dugout – in 2003, Rovers were managed by the very old school Ray Graydon, who was sacked shortly afterwards and replaced with a caretaker manager until the appointment of Ian Atkins in 2004. This was when the bad blood was probably at its height as there was no love lost at all between Atkins and Gary Johnson which stemmed from the time that Atkins was sacked at Cambridge to be replaced by Johnson in the mid-90’s. The two are about as opposite in their approach to football as it is possible to get – Johnson preferring to play attacking football on the ground, while Atkins would rather defend for 90 minutes and hoof it up to a big man. For a long time he was the manager clubs called when they were trying to battle out of relegation, like a lower league Neil Warnock. The Rovers fans already didn’t like us before Atkins was appointed, but he made sure to turn resentment up by a few degrees, leading to the night at the Mem in 2004 when the home side had two players sent off (and arguably should have been more) in a 2-2 draw. We won’t dwell on how that game ended as a draw, but instead enjoy this sublime goal from Gavin Williams. The return fixture was more one-sided, as Yeovil ran out 4-2 winners on their way to the League Two title. There were usually plenty of goals and red cards when the two teams played.

Speaking of sublime goals, there was just the one goal and one red card in the December 2003 meeting, with both going to Yeovil. In an admittedly fairly low quality game, a screamer from outside the penalty area from Nick Crittenden just before half time settled the match and sent Yeovil up to third. The Glovers were on a good run of 10 wins in 13 matches, including an FA Cup win against Barnet which set up a third round tie at home to Liverpool. It was certainly a good time to be a Yeovil fan and that might have been partly why Rovers didn’t like us very much, the little club was upstaging them. Rovers were a bit toothless, and never really threatened even after Jake Edwards was sent off for very foolishly retaliating to being stamped on by Ijah Anderson. Edwards had only just come on as a substitute, and would rule himself out of the upcoming match against Liverpool through suspension. Despite having a man advantage for almost 25 minutes, the home side didn’t do much with it and Yeovil came home with the points. Match-winner Crittenden did not play a huge amount in what would be his last season at the club, as Paul Terry tended to play on the right of midfield, but on this occasion was needed in the centre while Way was injured. Crittenden scored one other league goal that season, in the 2-1 defeat against Leyton Orient.

We didn’t like Bristol City either and I’m sure they didn’t like us, especially in 2006/07 when as it turned out we were both going for promotion from League One. But, what with them being TBCUTR (TM), perhaps we knew we probably wouldn’t be playing them that often and Rovers were the team we could really get in the mire with. Top end of League Two, bottom end of League One, was where we spent a number of seasons and so did they, as we often found ourselves at a similar level. Indeed, when we got to the Playoff Final in 2007, I arrived in London at the same time as loads of Bristol Rovers fans as I went up for the weekend and their final against Shrewsbury was the day before ours against Blackpool. They won, which meant we would play them in League One from 07/08 until 10/11 when they were relegated again. These games tended to be less heated, and the most memorable was perhaps the late comeback to win 2-1 in 2009 thanks to Terrell Forbes’ first ever league goal. The 2-2 draw at Huish Park the previous season was also a very enjoyable game. Rovers ended up being relegated to the Conference in 2014, where they would bounce back at the first attempt, via the playoffs. So in 2015/16 the two clubs met again, but unfortunately just in passing as Rovers won both games and were promoted that season. In 2020/21 they were relegated back to League Two so who knows we may play them again soon, and I hope we get to play them while Joey Barton is still in charge it is bound to be eventful.

Goodnight Irene is a dirge though, isn’t it? How that gets anyone going for a football match is beyond me. When I first heard it at the Mem I nearly fell asleep, I thought it was being played at half speed.

Team that day: Chris Weale, Adam Lockwood, Colin Pluck, Terry Skiverton, Hugo Rodrigues, Paul Terry, Lee Johnson, Nick Crittenden, Gavin Williams, Kirk Jackson (sub. Jake Edwards 59), Kevin Gall (sub. Adam Stansfield 79). Unused sub: Steve Collis, Jamie Gosling, Lee Elam.