Venue: Damson Park
Saturday, 15th April, 3pm kick-off

Pitch: In pretty good nick for this stage of the season
Conditions: Dry and bright

Attendance: 1813 (176 away supporters)

Scorers: Josh Kelly 23, 28, Zanda Siziba 53, Owen Bevan 83


Yeovil Town: None
Solihull Moors: J Clarke, J Kelly

Referee: Farai Hallam

Yeovil Town (5-3-2)

Substitutes: Andrew Oluwabori (for Max Hunt, 29) Zanda Siziba (for Jordan Maguire-Drew, 45) Reo Griffiths (for Jordan Young, 45) Grant Smith, Scott Pollock

Solihull Moors: Boot, Beck, Clarke, Donawa (for Mills, 77), Gudger, Howe (for Jones, 60), Kelly, Morgan, Stevens (for Wood 81), Tiensia, Whelan Substitutes: Howell, Roberts

Match Report

Yeovil Town managed to turn round a dire first half performance to earn a point at Solihull Moors this afternoon. Second half goals from Zanda Siziba and Owen Bevan cancelled out Josh Kelly’s first half double.

The result see’s Yeovil cut adrift by eight points behind Aldershot with just nine points left to play for.

Here’s how Coatesie saw it…

First half

After the opening exchanges between a team all but relegated and another with nothing to play for came to the anticipated amount – very little – the it was Solihull Moors who settled in to their rhythm the quicker.

On six minutes, a misplaced pass in midfield gifted the ball to hosts’ striker Jake Stevens whose effort was turned around the post by Will Buse, making his first start of the season. That sparked a flurry of attacks with Solihull captain Callum Howe arriving at the back post to head against the outside of the post before a long range effort from full-back Junior Tiensia warmed the palms of Buse. I’ve seen hot knives have more trouble tackling a block of butter than Solihull had getting through our defence.

Going forward, the script for this one was identical to almost any other you have read for Yeovil Town this season. A lot of play through the midfield, plenty of running around from Jordan Young and Malachi Linton up front, but zero in the way in terms of efforts to trouble Ryan Boot in the hosts’ goal.

The breakthrough came after just 23 minutes, Justin (‘The Boy’) Donawa found James Clarke on the overlap, he pulled it back to Josh KELLY who tucked away the opener. Former Yeovil striker Mark Beck, who looks every bit the head on a stick he did when he played for us, indicated the direction he expected his former employers were heading. Hard to argue.

If that was game and set, match was soon to follow. Four minutes after the first goal, along came the second when Stevens’ shot was blocked by one of a scrum of Yeovil defenders – and the referee adjudged it had hit a hand. Hard to say from my angle but there was not too much by way or argument from the visiting defence. KELLY stepped up and sent Buse the wrong way from the spot. Game. Set. And you have to feel, match.

Assistant manager Chris Todd was the man on the touchline with manager Mark Cooper suspended for too many booking this season. I therefore assume it was Todd (maybe after a text message from Cooper) that introduced Andrew Oluwabori in place of Max Hunt with Owen Bevan moving across to the right side of defence after 29 minutes.

Ten minutes from half-time a rare foray in to the box saw efforts (such as they are) from first Matt Worthington and then Jamie Reckord. Pot shots would probably be a better way to describe them.

In fact, the nearest we got to a meaningful effort came at the start of the one minute of first half injury time was mercifully awarded and Oluwabori broke forward down the left, beat at least two players on his own and then fired over the top.

Resigned dejection is the best way to describe the noise from the away end which met the referee’s whistle. So, so soft.

Half time: Solihull Moors 2 Yeovil Town 0

Second half

The half-time break saw striker Reo Griffiths and midfielder Zanda Siziba replace two of our Jordan’s – Young and Maguire-Drew. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll be in no doubt what the view of the manager and many of their own team-mates think of the two players who joined the fray. A ‘Hail Mary’ is what you call that, I think.

Whatever it was, Siziba was straight in to action with a ball in from the left wing which almost found one of Oluwabori or Linton at the back post. As it was it didn’t find either of them.

But, it was the two half-time arrivals who combined to create a goal which at least gave the long-suffering away support something to cheer about. Griffiths showed great close control down the left side before laying it back to SIZIBA who finished coolly in the corner.

It would not be an exaggeration to say the desire of that pairing, both quite obviously brought in by owners-in-waiting SU Glovers, has been openly questioned. But on the basis of their effort in even the opening ten minutes, you have to question why it’s taken until everything was lost (in this game and this season) for them to be thrown in.

That seemed to add some of the spark which was so sadly lacking in the first half and, lo and behold, a little attacking intent led to some efforts on goal. Firstly, Oluwabori’s 65th minute effort was turned over by goalkeeper Ryan Boot, and then Linton saw two breakaways see him denied by the keeper.

On 73 minutes, it is almost inexplicable how the game was not level. A clever free-kick from Charlie Cooper bamboozled goalkeeper Ryan Boot and came back off the post. Griffith and Oluwabori were both in close attendance, but the quality of the effort caught them as unawares as the keeper and neither were able to turn the loose ball home.

You could literally see the confidence return to the likes of Oluwabori and Siziba as the game progressed. They tried things and they came off, it was like shackles coming off them. I enjoyed it, it was great to see, but my mind keeps going back to why it’s taken until now for it to happen.

Play swung straight to the other end with Kelly breaking clear of the Yeovil defence but curling his effort wide. Defensively, we still looked suspect but our attack was (for once this season) proving the best form of defence.

Ex-Glover Tom Whelan put a chance over with 80 minutes gone, but three minutes later Yeovil were deservedly level and again it was a goal which owed a lot to the skill and intent of Griffiths. It was the on loan Doncaster Rovers man’s footwork which kept the ball alive inside the box and broke to Owen BEVAN to thunder home his first goal for the club for the edge of the box.

The irony that Griffiths, whose desire was publicly questioned by his manager in the week, and Siziba, whose name fits the Tequila-themed chant far better than Dale Gorman’s ever did, were at the heart of both goals was not lost on anyone in the away end at Damson Park.

But Yeovil did not seem in the mood to stop at two goals. The attacks kept coming, I know, I’m thinking the same as you are – where has that been all season?! Linton battled, Oluwabori looked a constant threat with that magic ingredient of confidence injected in to him, and Siziba was involved in most of what was good.

The best chance in six minutes of injury time fell to Oluwabori, following good play by Griffiths, but the on loan Peterborough United player could not get his effort on goal.

So, a point it was. Not enough for today, not enough for the season, not enough to secure survival on the National League which will almost certainly be extinguished at the hands of Wrexham on Tuesday night – but something to shout about. You’ve got to take what cheer you can.

Full time: Solihull Moors 2 Yeovil Town 2

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1 year ago

Wrexham nerves Tuesday might save us from an absolute mullering but it’s difficult to see any other result than confirmed relegation.
Would love it if we had one of our famous days out and the other sides lost.
On a brighter note W*ymouth threw away a lead to lose 2-1 and now need to win their 3 remaining games and hope Dulwich don’t.
Wherever we are, we’ll always be above them ?