A season to forget for so many reasons came to an end for Yeovil Town with a defeat against play-off hopefuls $tockport County at Huish Park.

It was a 23rd minute own goal from Michael Kelly that sealed it. The defender’s outstretched leg turned a shot from the visitors’ midfield talisman John Rooney past a helpless Adam Smith in the Yeovil goal.

But, the story here was not the scoreline or even the performance in many ways, it was an opportunity to celebrate the life of club captain Lee Collins whose family were present to join his team-mates.

On top of this, we said farewell to defender Carl Dickinson and midfielders Charlie Lee and Jimmy Smith, who were all playing their final matches for the club before going on to pastures new.

It felt like the end of an era with the exit of some of the key players who have symbolised the side Darren Sarll has put together since the club’s relegation out of the League – but perhaps the most welcome thing it symbolised was the end of a long, difficult campaign.

Perhaps even more sadly, there was no sign of out-of-contract top scorer Rhys Murphy whose future appears to be away from Huish Park.

Here’s how I saw it…..


FIRST HALF

The only change from the previous weekend’s defeat at Altrincham, saw Alex Bradley return to the side after a three-match suspension to replace the injured Josh Neufville.

There was no place in the $tockport starting line-up for former Glovers’ hero Paddy Madden, missing with an ankle injury, but the big-spending visitors did field a strong side as they sought three points to secure third place in the National League.

Before the match, there was an emotional minute’s applause in memory of club captain Lee Collins, who tragically died in March, with the Yeovil team joined by Lee’s family who were among the mascots for the game.

In the fourth minute, there was a further mark of respect for Lee as applause rang around the ground in memory of our number 4.

It  took until the 12th minute of a competitive opening for either side to muster a chance. Lawson D’Ath‘s long ball found Joe Quigley down the right and he unleashed a thunderous shot which $tockport keeper Ben Hinchcliffe did well to turn aside for a corner.

Reuben Reid found himself on the ball inside the box soon after but could not pull the trigger quickly enough to test Hinchcliffe.

On 22 minutes a corner floated to the back post looked to be destined for the head of Charlie Lee, only for Quigley to try and get his head on it and take it away from his team-mate. To put it mildly, Lee was not happy his the striker and less than a minute later, $tockport went ahead.

On 23 minutes, John Rooney, the brother of former England captain, Wayne, picked up the ball on the edge of the box and jinked his way forward before getting off a shot which deflected off the outstretched leg of Glovers’ defender Michael KELLY and flew in to the net.

On 32 minutes, a neat piece of play by Yeovil found Reid at the far post but his header was not powerful enough, but despite a decent number of chances for the home side, the visitors bossed possession and looked imperious on the ball.

For Yeovil, it was a frustrating first half from Reid and Quigley up front with neither managing to strike  up a partnership with each other. We really cannot underestimate the importance of getting a replacement for Rhys Murphy this summer.

A minute from half-time, D’Ath pulled up with an injury which physios very quickly applied ice to his knee, before he was led off the pitch on a stretcher.

Soon after Quigley was left with an obvious head wound after a collision with Ash Palmer. Referee Scott Tallis, who grip on the game had been slowly unraveling throughout the half, was happy to let the incident go until Yeovil keeper Adam Smith ‘informed him otherwise’, to put it one way. Palmer ended up in the book for the foul and Smith for dissent.

Then in an apparent effort to one-up himself, the referee gave a foul against Lee for a coming together inside the box which looked more like a foul against the midfielder – and then booked it.

Half time: Yeovil Town 0 $tockport County 1 (Kelly o.g.)


SECOND HALF

It could have been the perfect start to the second half when, just a minute after the restart when Jimmy Smith‘s ball in to the box was met by a header from Quigley whose effort came back from the underside of the bar and away. In the words of Ben Barrett on the Gloverscast WhatsApp group – how’s your luck?

Rooney put a half-volley just over on the hour mark with $tockport still looking in control, and it was not long until Rooney was in the thick of it again working an opening for Ryan Croasdale who steered a shot wide.

As clear-cut chances go, that effort on the 67th minute was probably about as much as either side saw.

Alex Reid had put a half-chance well over at one end whilst for Yeovil there was plenty of possession midfield, some huff, some puff, but nothing that worked Hinchcliffe in the visitors’ goal.

Emmanuel Sonupe replaced Chris Dagnall and youngster Toby Stephens came on for the frustrating Reid, but despite refusing to stop pressing Yeovil could not create a threatening opportunity.

And that was that. The National League season we have been hoping could over for weeks is finally over. Enjoy your summer, folks.

Full time: Yeovil Town 0 $tockport County 1 (Kelly o.g.)


 

Yeovil Town: A.Smith, Kelly, Sass-Davies, Dickinson, Bradley, Lee, Knowles, D’Ath (for J.Smith, 44), Dagnall (for Sonupe, 74), Quigley, Reid.
Substitues (not used): Evans (GK), Stephens, Heaton.
Bookings: A. Smith, Lee

 

$tockport County: Hinchcliffe, J.Jennings, Hogan, Palmer, Rooney, Keane, Southam-Hales, Croasdale, Reid, Walker, Cardwell (for Bennett, 80).
Substitutes (not used): Fitzsimons (GK), Minihan, Bennett, Williams, Newby.
Bookings: Palmer, Southam-Hales.

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