The FA Cup has always been an important competition to Yeovil Town – who still hold the record for the most League club scalps as a non-League club – and this season’s campaign got underway with a 0-0 draw at home to Taunton Town yesterday.

The final whistle was met with boos from the stands at Huish Park and a recognition that it will take a journey up the A358 to the county town for a replay on Tuesday night if Chris Hargreaves’ men are to make it to the competition’s first round.

It was a hard watch for any Yeovil fan and here Rich Willcox-Smith, who some of you will have heard on last Friday’s podcast was in the away end this weekend, gives his  conclusions…..

Grant Smith. Picture courtesy of Mike Kunz.

Yeovil were slow to start: After last weekend’s impressive 1-0 home win over a decent Solihull Moors side, I was expecting Yeovil to come out with an extra spring in there step but actually they were very slow to start. For large parts of the first half, they were second best to a side sat a division below them. The crossbar was the Glovers’ friend to save them going into the half-time interval a goal down. Taunton midfielder Ross Stearns effort hitting the woodwork gave the Yeovil back line a sigh of relief. The big frame of Ben Richards-Everton is usually enough to scare most forwards. But today he looked like he had met his match in visiting striker Nick McCootie.

Players looked uninterested and frustrated: The first shot on target for the home side did not come until a minute in to the second half, by which time Taunton had called Grant Smith in the Yeovil goal in to action on a number of occasions. There was at least a fr*st*a*t*ion [the F-word is still banned here, Rich – Ed] from the Glovers players which could easily have been described as many of them looking uninterested. Presumably something was said in the dressing room at half-time – possibly ‘have a shot’ – but it was still limited to efforts from outside the box and not enough to test Jack Bycroft in the Taunton goal.

Malachi Linton. Picture courtesy of Mike Kunz.

The lack of goals is concerning: Building upon my previous two points, we saw Malachi Linton, Alex Fisher and Jake Scrimshaw – the three out-and-out strikers in the Yeovil Town squad – and there was very little to threaten. No Charlie Wakefield isn’t a striker. It is now 14 games in to the season and 13 goals have been scored with our top scorer is still left wing-back Jamie Reckord. For context, that’s exactly the same number we scored in the first 14 games of last season when our strike force was widely considered as powder puff. Yeovil could still have been playing come Sunday morning and no goals would have come, the only saving grace from that is that Taunton didn’t really give Grant Smith much to do.

There’s no Plan B: The plan yesterday seemed to be to play the ball sideways and back, there was very little going forwards and even when Fisher and Scrimshaw came on, it seemed to be the same tactics and nothing to try and take on a fired up Taunton side. We can only hope that seeing the Peacocks in the flesh will give Chris Hargreaves something to work on in the 72 hours before the replay – otherwise, it’s difficult to have too much confidence going in to the replay.

The final whistle was toxic: The final whistle was met by boos from the home supporters in the biggest crowd of the season at Huish Park. I could hear it over the cheers coming from the away supporters, so it must have been loud! I’ve not heard anything like that since the dark days of Darren Way’s time as manager and our slump out of the Football League. I thought those days were gone, but it looked – or more to the point sounded – like they were back with a vengeance yesterday. To be fair, it’s hard to argue with the response of the paying public – that was one of the poorest displays I have seen from a team playing in green-and-white.


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