Yeovil Town’s 11th win in a row came against National League opposition yesterday, as the Glovers despatched Gateshead in the FA Cup. Here are Ian’s conclusions from Huish Park…

It felt pretty comfortable, despite the scoreline. As with the Southend game in the previous round, the early goal (sorry Rhys, it looks like an OG) got us off to the best possible start and it could have been 4-0 at half time. Stevens misses a sitter before he scores and Matt Worthington should have scored form close range too. There was no doubt about the third goal though as Murphy fired in after a slip from a Gateshead defender in the box. Gateshead’s two goals came from the softest of soft penalties and a lucky ricochet and while it was nervy in the stands, the players looked composed to see it out. For all the talk about Gateshead’s style, there was lots of style but they didn’t produce much substance against our defence.

Michael Smith. Picture courtesy of Mike Kunz.

It’s Michael Smith’s world and we’re just living in it. If he blocked one cross yesterday, he blocked one hundred. The impact he’s made on our performances and our right side is huge. Morgan Williams, who was already solid, has excelled with Smith outside of him. Jordan Steven’s attacking movement is better with Smith’s ability to pick out those runs. He’s composed under-pressure and yesterday was another quality performance. Does anyone else still feel like he’s in third gear?

Jordan Stevens is starting to show he’s a difference maker. Despite Mark Cooper saying he wanted to take him off after five minutes, Stevens showed his quality throughout. His pace is undeniable, just when you think he’s going at full-tilt he shows another level and leaves opponents behind. He took his goal well, when you watch it back he had a lot of time and gives it the subtlest Peter Dinklage of Mair’s leg. Without getting too Football Manager, he’s getting in all the right areas in an attacking sense, if he continues to improve as he has since returning from injury, we’ll have suitors to warn off.

Yeovil town celebrate their third goal against Gateshead
Yeovil town celebrate their third goal against Gateshead. Picture courtesy of Gary Brown.

We have so many attacking options. We left out Jordan Young yesterday. Just think about that. He’s arguably our most in-form player and he didn’t start. There was room for Will Dawes who impressed again. We reverted back to Nouble and Murphy up front too, which is my preferred pairing up top. We’ve seen how important partnerships are up front, Madden and Hayter, Jackson and Gall, Jevons and Tarachulski, Forinton and Patmore. If you get one that works you can become unstoppable. 

Another match where more than 3200 turned out to see the Glovers

The supporters were out in force once again. 3241 were at Huish Park yesterday, many of whom would have had to negotiate some iffy roads after the storm. This wasn’t a part of any ticket deal or included in season tickets, but there’s a feeling building around the club. Each win brings more confidence on the pitch and that is now translating off the pitch. The grumbles about the quality of the football feel like they were a lifetime ago. If I said in April that Mark Cooper would lead Yeovil to 11 wins in a row by the end of 2023, I think most would have questioned my sanity, but here we are. And I like it…

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