Venue: Gallagher Stadium, Maidstone
Saturday 29th October, 3pm kick-off
Conditions: Unseasonably hot for late October
Pitch: Fluffed plastic
Attendance: 2,147 (133 away supporters)
Scorers: Alex Fisher 13 (0-1), Regan Booty 90+6 pen (1-1)
Yeovil Town: Clarke 45, Richards-Everton 60, Worthington 71
Maidstone: Odusanya 23, Barkers 37, Booty 41, Galvin 45, Greenidge 52,
Referee: Jacob Miles
Morgan Williams Owen Bevan Max Hunt Ben Richards-Everton
Matt Worthington (Ollie Hulbert 72) Sam Perry (Charlie Wakefield 63)
Ewan Clarke (Chiori Johnson 63) Malachi Linton
Substitutes (not used): Gime Toure, Will Dawes
Maidstone United: Sandford, Hoyte, Galvin, Barham, Mensah, Odusanya, Booty, Pattisson, Greenidge, Deacon, Barkers. Subs: Mersin, Ellul, Alabi, Fawole, Gurung
A stoppage time penalty from Regan Booty prevented Yeovil Town from recording their first away win of the season at fellow relegation zone residents Maidstone United.
David Coates (almost inexplicably) travelled from Lancashire to Kent for the match, here’s how he saw the Glovers’ eighth draw of the season.
New Yeovil Town boss Mark Cooper watched his first game in charge from the stands in Kent, shielding his eyes as he looked out on the pitch – much like every travelling supporter risking a late October sunburn from behind the goal defended by hosts’ keeper Ryan Sandford.
An effort from Josh Staunton skied high, wide and not so handsome over the bar after just seven minutes was as close as the visitors got in the opening exchanges.
Maidstone were the first to carve out an opening when on nine minutes when a defence-splitting pass from Regan Booty picked out Christie Pattison whose cross evaded everyone.
Five minutes later, Yeovil were ahead. A beautifully struck ball forward from Owen Bevan was met by the head of Alex FISHER who beat his defender Jacob Mensah from the edge of the box to loop a ball over the out-of-position Sandford and give the Glovers the lead.
On 22 minutes, the ball was in the net from the visitors when Ewan Clark’s free-kick was flicked in to the net by Ben Richards-Everton following a scramble, but was adjudged to be offside. From behind the goal with the sun burning my corneas, it did not look offside but I’ll give the official the benefit of the doubt.
In the 40th minute, Yeovil should have doubled their advantage. A deft touch forward by Fisher played Matt Worthington on who didn’t either try to touch it round the susceptible Sandford or leather it and it ran harmlessly through to the keeper.
If there’s one thing the Mark Cooper era brought in that first half, it was more fight. Ethan Clark, quite possible the slightest player in the Yeovil line-up, gave a shove in the back of his marker and sent him flying over a chair on the sideline. The foul he drew from his marker immediately afterwards told you that this may be exactly what he needed to do a against a Maidstone team low on confidence. [Okay, having seeing this on the highlights, the Maidstone player made more of it than it was, but I will wager the push in the back would not have happened four days earlier].
The first half finished 1-0 but should have been more.
Half time: Maidstone 0 Yeovil Town 1
A early Richards-Everton header saw Yeovil come close after, but it was Maidstone who came closer on 53 minutes. They were given time and space on the edge of the visitors’ box to work Booty in to a shooting position which was nothing more than routine for Grant Smith, but cue some alarm bells.
Two minutes later, Smith was called in to his first meaningful action of the day to turn Jack Barham’s header from a left-wing cross over the bar.
The home side certainly came out with more of a spring in their step, but they were met by a more resilient response from Yeovil. But, whilst managing to keep their opponents out, the tendency to sit deep which has cost us so many times this season still appears to be there. And, if Cooper’s wild gesticulating was anything to go by, the new manager saw it too.
As the home side grew in confidence, the scars of the season so far on Yeovil’s confidence began to show. Substitute Josh Fawole poked an effort wide and with ten minutes to go Ryan Galvin’s speculative header hit the bar.
With two minutes to go Gavin Hoyte was given a free header from a corner which he should have done better before Fawole was denied by a well-timed tackle from Owen Bevan.
To say the second half was attritional would have been an understatement, but just when you thought Cooper’s reign may begin with a win, the fourth official held up six minutes of injury time. My heart wavered at that, I admit.
And in the fifth minute of time added on, Yeovil paid the price for their defensive second half display when Roarie Deacon tumbled under a tackle from Ollie Hulbert. From the angle I was at it did look like some of Hulbert’s boot connected with Alabi’s but the attacker was on his way down long before the contact was made.
When home supporters outside the ground tell you that it was never a penalty you know your luck is out. BOOTY fire the spot kick expertly in to the corner and the spoils were settled.