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.

Michael Smith. Picture courtesy of Gary Brown

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.

Setting off a pyro at 1-0 down is as embarassing as our defending for the goal.

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.

If you take one thing from yesterday, make it this.

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SheFellOver
4 months ago

You see, you do love Charlie Cooper! No criticism of the manger for making those changes to the line-up? How many minutes has Owers had all season and suddenly he’s asked to hold together the midfield?

David Coates
4 months ago
Reply to  SheFellOver

I don’t think I ever hid my admiration for what Charlie Cooper brings to the side. Plus, if not Owers in midfield (with the gaps we had elsewhere) then who? ??‍♂️

Darren Best
4 months ago

Kent is not a happy hunting ground for us. Unfortunately, Tonbridge is in Kent.

Jonathan Adams
4 months ago
Reply to  Darren Best

Plus Dartford and Welling technically. 1pt from poss 9 so far. Hope Tonbridge and Dover yield a better return!

Derek Hamilton
4 months ago

Good

Derek Hamilton
4 months ago

Good summary and chimes with what I heard on 3 Valleys. Despite careful management our senior players have broken down simultaneously. I think we need both an additional experienced defender and centre forward to get us over the line as soon as possible. For many reasons this is not a comfortable League for us to be in.

Phil A
4 months ago
Reply to  Derek Hamilton

Wonder what has happened to Jamie Sendles White? Although he probably isn’t ‘match fit’ he should be able to fill in if needed.

If you bring in a seasoned centre forward, they come at a seasoned pro cost. Not saying we can’t but everything has to fit to make them uproot to Somerset for three months. Oh for a Chris Dagnall type out there to knit it all together.