Match Details: 17/03/1999
Hednesford Town 2 Yeovil Town 3
Nationwide Conference

Yeovil scorers: Pickard (41), Patmore (44), Pickard (77)
Attendance: 908

Yeovil Town Line-Up:
Tony Pennock

David Piper
Kevan Brown
Al-James Hannigan
Dean Chandler
Murray Fishlock

Steve Thompson
Steve Stott
Phil Simpson

Owen Pickard
Warren Patmore

Substitutes: Smith (not used), Pounder (not used), Keeling (not used)

Team Selection: One forced change to the team who won at Forest Green with Rob Cousins failing a fitness test on a knee injury prior to the game, losing both his midfield position and his captain’s armband to regular captain Steve Stott. This meant that Dean Chandler held his place in defence, despite having to play the whole game with a calf injury. Tony Pounder was drafted in as a substitute but, like the other two on the bench was not required.

First Half: Yeovil are notoriously slow starters, and their fans are often used to enduring 20 minutes of pressure at the start of the game before the opposition begin to get worn down. It’s normally a very patient waiting game. Not so in this match, Yeovil sprang to life right from the start and dominated proceedings, but without finding the net.
Phil Simpson produced the games earliest chance, when he guided the ball down, made room for himself by moving past a Hednesford defender, but his shot from a tight angle was well saved by Hednesford keeper Phil Morgan. Hednesford just weren’t in it, and their best chance of the half came when Al-James Hannigan sent a pass behind Dean Chandler letting Adie Mike clean through, but the Hednesford striker shot wide of Pennock’s right hand post.

For all of Yeovil’s pressure they seemed to be gradually letting Hednesford off the hook, and allowed the home side a period around the half hour mark of pressure that never quite seemed to come to anything in particular.

But with half time approaching, the match significantly went Yeovil’s way. In the move of the match, Warren Patmore knocked the ball down to Simpson whose long range pass was almost too long for Steve Thompson. Somehow, not only did Thompson get his boot on to it, he managed a first time cross that Murray Fishlock hit on the volley bringing an incredible reaction save from Morgan in the Hednesford goal.

This was the catalyst for moves that brought Yeovil two quick goals. Firstly, a 41st minute long through ball allowed Hednesford’s Andy Comyn and Yeovil’s Owen Pickard to chase. Comyn seemed to hesitate, possibly hoping his keeper would collect, and with Morgan advancing, Owen PICKARD kept his composure to produce a delightful chip from 20 yards into the empty net.

By the time Yeovil had their next attack, on 44 minutes, they were two goals up. Simpson was causing the home side’s defence real problems, and he skillfully nudged the ball over a defender and hammered a shot in from 15 yards. Morgan once again produced a fine save, but he couldn’t hold on to it, and as the ball came out, Warren PATMORE hammered the ball home to make Yeovil’s position look very comfortable.

Half Time : Hednesford Town 0 Yeovil Town 2

Second Half : Yeovil started the second half where they had ended the first, with waves of pressure. A long ball from keeper Tony Pennock was headed down to Pickard. He flicked the ball back to Patmore who volleyed over the bar from the edge of the area.
On 54 minutes, Hednesford replaced Ged Kimmins with Twynham, and three minutes later they had got a goal back. Paul Ware’s corner was met on the near post by Stuart Lake, and following a deflection of a Yeovil defender the ball looped up to the back post allowing Adie MIKE an empty goal to head into from one yard out.

Hednesford’s joy did not last for long. On 59 minutes Yeovil sent a long ball out of defence leaving Hednesford’s Lake to chase with Patmore. When Patmore looked to have got the better of the home defender, Lake stuck out a leg, and caught Patmore, leaving the referee with a very easy decision to make. With Patmore clean through and 30 yards from goal it was a straight red card, and it now looked as though Hednesford would crumble.

Confusingly, Hednesford, down to 10 men, then had their best spell of the game. Tony Pennock produced several excellent close range saves, and Hednesford’s Adie Mike was proving to be a real handful. It all looked as though Hednesford might snatch a surprising equaliser.

Perhaps Yeovil might have considered bringing on Darren Keeling to add extra speed to worry the stretched Hednesford defence, but by 77 minutes all thoughts of that were made irrelevant when Yeovil had their first serious attack since the sending off. Phil Simpson put Owen Pickard through, and as he and Hednesford keeper Morgan advanced for the ball, it was Pickard who got the first nudge squirming the ball out of reach of the keeper but not as far as the goal. With both players on the floor it was Owen PICKARD who was the first to react and he got to his feet and nudged the ball over the line to give Yeovil a 3-1 lead.

There was still time for Hednesford to give Yeovil a late scare though. When Kevan Brown left his leg trailing from a Twynham run, the referee adjudged it a penalty, even though the Yeovil players felt that the Yeovil defender had played the ball first. Neil DAVIS stepped up, and with five minutes remaining shot past Pennock’s outstretched right hand to take the margin back to a single goal once again.

The last five minutes were not as fraught as they might have been. Simpson, suitably, had Yeovil’s best remaining chance to extend the lead when he shot wide after Pickard had put him through. But Yeovil spent most of those minutes hanging around the corner flags leading to Lee Colkin getting booked for a frustrated foul on Steve Thompson.

And so after four minutes injury time the whistle blew, and the Yeovil players saluted the large travelling musical army who had sang and drummed their way through the whole of the second 45 minutes, and were able to celebrate Yeovil’s third consecutive victory and their ninth in the league on their travels.

Final Score : Hednesford Town 2 Yeovil Town 3

Verdict : Yeovil clearly deserved their win, but made it far more difficult than it could have been. There were times during the match where Yeovil’s pressure deserved a three goal margin, yet at one point, with the score at 2-1 and Hednesford a man down, it could have gone wrong. The third Yeovil goal steadied the ship, and despite the late Hednesford penalty, ultimately the comfortable win came Yeovil’s way.

Badger’s Man of the Match : Phil Simpson : For the second match running, Phil’s performance visibly improved, as he now seems to have settled into the side. He set up two out of three of Yeovil’s goals, and had there been any justice, he would have grabbed a couple of goals for himself. His excellent ball control and creative play must be giving Ben Smith plenty to work on if he is to dislodge Simpson from his place.