Yeovil Town’s FA Trophy campaign came to an end in familiar fashion with an exit after penalty shoot-out for the second successive season.

Last season it was lower division Needham Market, this time around it was Dorking Wanderers – who are at least in the same division – but the result was the same, it’s concentrate on National League survival and the Somerset Men’s Premier Cup for Yeovil Town.

Here’s how Ian saw it…….


It wasn’t a game of quality in the final thirds. Yeovil were defensively strong (as per usual) and were barely troubled by Dorking going forward, whilst at the other end, Will Buse had a quiet afternoon stepping in for Grant Smith. Josh Staunton had Yeovil’s first attempt on target in the 70th minute with a header that was straight at the keeper. The Glovers rallied for a spell in the final stages, and thought they’d got it through Staunton but for an offside flag. We probably deserved the win on the balance of the second half, but without finding a goal we are always at risk of defeat.

We don’t like a penalty shootout. It feels like it’s becoming a bit of a thing now. We scraped through in the lowest quality shoot-out ever last season again W*ymouth in last season’s FA Cup, lost horrendously to Needham Market and yesterday we struggled again from the spot. The early work Mark Cooper did with building confidence will have taken a bit of a hit yesterday off the back of this, but what surprised me was who stepped up. Our usual takers Alex Fisher and Matt Worthington were off the pitch, but we had attacking players Malachi Linton, Charlie Wakefield, Andrew Oluwabori on for the shootout – but Jordan Drew Maguire, Max Hunt and Jamie Andrews took them. 

I’m not sure where the goals are coming from. We tried another combination in the attacking areas yesterday, with Chiori Johson in at left wing and Maguire-Drew on the right. Maguire-Drew looked like a player who hasn’t played a lot of football and although he added quality with his set pieces, he needs match fitness. Is a one-month loan enough to get it in? Alex Fisher, a mainstay in Cooper’s side so far, didn’t have his greatest afternoon and I wonder at what point we start Louis Britton. He’s been billed as a goal scorer who gets in the six-yard box which was what we were crying out for as the game wore on.

Alex Fisher battles for the ball. Picture courtesy of Mike Kunz.

The attendance yesterday has to be of concern. It was our first sub-1000 attendance for a first-team fixture for years. If we disregard SMPC and friendlies, the last time we played a first team fixture with less than 1000 supporters was in November 2018 against West Ham United Under-21s in the Check-a-Trade Trophy which was in the thick of a boycott of that competition across the country. Before that, we played Kingstonian in the Nationwide Variety Cup in April 2001 in front of 295. In the same season and competition we played Kettering in front of 709 supporters. In 1997, we played Boreham Wood in the ICIS Charity Shield with 873. Last season when we played Woking in the same round of the competition there were 1493 at Huish Park. Obviously, there were circumstances which would have led to that, the freezing cold, the late notice of pitch inspection, the last weekend before Christmas, but the level of drop off is a damning indictment of the progress (or lack of it) at the club.

Survival is all that’s left to play for. With defeat yesterday and no FA Trophy run on the cards now, all that’s left to play for next season is survival. On Friday’s podcast we spoke about how a cup run would give us a lift and something to get excited about in a season which has provided very little in the way of excitement. Alas, the “drama” of the penalty shootout put an end to it in the first hurdle and all we have now is to hope we have enough quality to remain a National League club.

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Michael Quinton
1 year ago

Nothing has changed, Hargreaves/Cooper, can’t score, can’t pass. Not exactly storming up the league or on a cup run. Disaster, 5 at the back!!!!