Yeovil Town’s start to life in National League South began with a rude awakening and defeat at Hemel Hempstead Town on Saturday.

A goal from hosts’ striker Joe Iaciofano ten minutes from time was the difference. He capitalised on an error by Glovers’ keeper Will Buse who was involved in a calamitous mix-up with wing-back Zac Bell.

For their part, Yeovil huffed and puffed but could not find anything approaching the free-flowing play and goal-scoring which they had shown in pre-season.

Two thirds of the Gloverscast were there, and as part of the packed out away end, here’s how Dave saw proceedings.

First half

The opening exchanges showed exactly what an artificial surface was going to be like.

As well as sloping in half-a-dozen different places, there was no doubt the ball moved a lot quicker off this surface, and the home players knew exactly how and unsurprisingly adapted quicker to the conditions.
The first meaningful chance for either side saw Yeovil have the ball in the back of the net after ten minutes. Good play by Rhys Murphy on the left of the box saw his cross headed home by Jordan Maguire-Drew. But the assistant has his flag raised before the ball crossed the line.

The first booking of the match, handed out by Zac Kennard-Kettle, the son of former EFL referee Trevor Kettle (yes, that one), went to Zac Bell presumably for something he said. Three cards in under 30 minutes suggest he is indeed him father’s son.

Nine minutes later a spell of pressure saw Murphy denied by the offside flag again. Matt Worthington lifted the ball back in to the box, Murphy slipped his marker only to have his shot stopped by hosts’ keeper Craig King. The flag also up to deny him.
On 36 minutes, good play by Maguire-Drew who, aside from being denied by the linesman’s flag, had not seen a great deal of the ball, saw it drop to Murphy whose shot went over the bar.
That sparked a spell of sustained pressure with first Jake Wannell and then Charlie Cooper having efforts blocked.
Defender Jake Wannell, who impressed on his debut.
Picture courtesy of Dan Finill.

Maguire-Drew and Murphy combined again just before half-time but again the effort from the striker went over the bar.

The possession count was certainly in the favour of the home side but chances were at a premium although one came when a break forward saw Joe Re fire over.
The end of the first half saw rule changes to try and counter time wasting mean six minutes were added on. It is not an excuse for a fairly pedestrian display, but I would not be surprised if the home side contributed to the vast majority of this additional time.

Half time: Hemel Hempstead 0 Yeovil Town 0

Second half

The first opportunity of the second half fell to the home side who strung together a good passing move which saw Joe Iaciofano one-on-one with Will Buse, who spread himself well to deny the striker.

Yeovil keeper Will Buse does well to save at the feet of Hemel striker Joe Iaciofano.
Picture courtesy of Dan Finill.

On the hour, Montel McKenzie saw an effort tipped over the bar, and on 63 minutes the first Yeovil opportunity dropped to Morgan Williams after a moment of sustained pressure from the visitors. JM-D’s cross dropped to him inside the box but he could not get a decent connection and the effort went over.

Looking for a spark, Sonny Blu Lo-Everton was introduced in place of defender Jamie Sendles-White. That saw him move up front alongside Murphy and Nouble with JM-D dropping back in to the right side of midfield.

But it was Hemel who were creating the better chances with McKenzie flicking an effort over the bar after 70 minutes.

The breakthrough came for the home side came with a complete gift. A mix-up between Buse and Zac Bell saw the keeper a long way out of his goal to meet IACIOFANO who got enough on it to steer it in to the corner of the net. It was nothing more than Hemel deserved having exerted the greater threat, whilst Yeovil looked decidedly lacklustre going forwards.

Hemel Hempstead striker Joe Iaciofano steers home the game’s only goal.
Picture courtesy of Dan Finill.

There was a delay in the game not long after with trouble amongst Glovers fans – it seemed to involve supporters shaking the goal posts, a delay we could all have done without – whilst the referee and stewards tried to deal with the incident.

Once the game restarted, chances continued to come for the Glovers, Alex Whittle combined well with Frank Nouble, but the former Torquay man headed over with the game drifting towards a conclusion.

Yeovil threw on on loan Bristol City striker Olly Thomas for JM-D with ten minutes left and brought Jordan Young into the fray with added on time well underway, but to no effect.

The Glovers will head into four home games in a row with something of a reality check fresh in their minds.

Full time: Hemel Hempstead 1 Yeovil Town 0

Match Details

Venue: Vauxhall Road
Saturday, 5th August, 3pm kick-off

Pitch: Plastic and sloping in at least half-a-dozen places
Conditions: Stopped raining at kick-off but not a minute sooner

Attendance: 1276 (no away number given)

Scorers: Joe Iaciofano 78

Yeovil Town:
Zac Bell (14), Jamie Sendles-White (22)
Hemel Hempstead: Reece Grant (28) George Williams (90+1) Elias Grant (90+8).

Referee: Zac Kennard-Kettle
Assts: Ryan Dix & Shaun Barry

Yeovil Town (4-3-3)

Substitutes: Sonny Blu-Lo Everton (for Sendles-White 65), Josh Owers, Olly Thomas (for Jordan Maguire-Drew, 81), Will Dawes, Jordan Young (for Nouble 90+5)x

Hemel Hempstead Town: Craig King, Montel McKenzie, Josh Williams, Kyle Ajayi, Jethro Hanson (for Eli Grant, 45+4), George Williams, Joe Iaciofano (for Finlay Corrigan 81), Joe Re, Chris Smith, Reece Grant (for Tyrese Briscoe 75), Arj Krasniqi.

Substitutes: Sayoud, Corrigan, Briscoe, Eli Grant, Carman.

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11 months ago

Still, good news about the chocolate oranges.

Martin Hellier
11 months ago

Almost as if keeping a manager who relegated the team the season before is a bad idea…

Andy Pandy
11 months ago
Reply to  Martin Hellier

Are you the real Martin Hellier or an imposter?