Yesterday was not a great day for anyone involved with Yeovil Town with a hopeless first half performance and then stupidity in the stands culminating in a 2-1 defeat at Maidstone United. Dave made his second journey to the South East in as many weekends and here are his conclusions.
The first half killed us: For months we have said that “if we do what we do well, we’ll win” and the simple fact is we didn’t yesterday. Defensively we were all over the show in the first half. Mark Cooper described it as “soft in the box” and he was being generous, we looked like strangers playing together. I can count on one finger the amount of times Jake Wannell has looked exposed this season and now I need two. But he was not alone, throughout the team we allowed ourselves to get bullied by a Maidstone side who looked like world-beaters in the first half. Every credit to them, they deserved their win.
We missed Cooper and Smith: There was a Michael Smith-shaped hole down the right side of our defence. We started with Morgan Williams out there and, after the first goal, we went back to Matt Worthington there, and all Maidstone’s threat came from that side in the first half. The quality and experience of Smith cannot be underestimated, but the control, bite and experience of Charlie Cooper was also noticeably absent in midfield. The things he often gets criticised for doing – putting his foot on the ball, retaining possession – we missed them all.
Sam Pearson is not a number nine: It was our mistakes in defence which cost us the game, but going forwards we never got going. Sam Pearson is a talented player, the kind who gives defenders nightmares with his pace and trickery but we persisted with knocking long balls against the 6’5″ Reiss Greenidge in the Maidstone defence. It didn’t work and we could not seem to find another way through in the first half. Second half things improved. When Olly Thomas came on, he was more of a number nine, but the damage was done by then.
No-one comes out looking good: Sadly, the off-the-pitch stuff has to be referenced for the first time this season. My conclusion? Everyone looks bad. Pyros lit and then thrown in to the away supporters – idiotic. Pictures of Lee Collins being held up by home fans – disgraceful. This is the first time this season I can say a small section of our support have let themselves down, just last weekend St Albans City fans (no segregation there) were saying how good we were. There’s a place for banter, atmosphere, having a go at opposing fans, but this quickly turned in to something which was none of those things. There was blame on both sides and no-one comes out looking good.
‘Only’ ten points clear: Let’s not get carried away, there wasn’t a huge amount to be positive about our performance, but that is why our advantage at the top is so important. Those battling wins at places like Eastbourne, Taunton and Bath the last-gasp winner at Worthing, our unbeaten home form, they have all put the ground work in. It was a poor performance, Maidstone deserved their win, but we move on to Tonbridge.
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