Match Details: 29/04/1999
Leek Town 4 Yeovil Town 2
Yeovil scorers: Chandler 10, Franklin 20, 58, Cousins 33,
Yeovil Town line-up:
Substitutes: Rob Smith (for Dean Chandler 67 mins), Tony Pounder (for Murray Fishlock 67 mins), Ben Smith (for Steve Stott 84 mins).
Team Selection: Murray Fishlock and Steve Stott both made significant differences to the strength of the team by returning from injury. With Al-James Hannigan dropping out injured, Rob Cousins moved from midfield back into defence whilst Stott took over Cousins’ midfield position. Lippiatt presumably decided that the midfield needed toughening up, and so Phil Simpson displaced Ben Smith. Meanwhile, genuine striker Damien Franklin replaced stand-in striker Tony Pounder whilst Fishlock took back his place from Anthony Tonkin, who was not available anyway, due to outside commitments.
The smallest crowd Yeovil have played under for many a year, plus some unusual names on the scoresheet witnessed by just 50 travelling Yeovil supporters, gave for a lively light-hearted evening at Harrison Park against an already relegated Leek Town.
Yeovil took the lead with their first chance of the match. A corner kick was dummied by Simpson, then struck by Fishlock and as the kick evaded both Warren Patmore and Damien Franklin, it landed at the feet of Dean CHANDLER, whose first time volley from eight yards out was hit low past the keepers left hand for an early 1-0 lead.
Straight from kick-off though, Yeovil were caught napping. Leek marched up the other end of the field, and Mike Heverin’s shot could only be parried by Tony Pennock straight to Lee MORGAN and he drove the ball straight past a stranded Pennock to even the tie up barely 30 seconds after the deadlock had been broken.
Stangely enough, the third attack from either side also produced the third goal, but the move came out of nothing, and would be a contender for Yeovil’s goal of the season, were it not that so few people saw it. Leek’s John Diskin, who had an awful game, was trying to shield a ball out of play for a throw-in on Yeovil’s right wing. Damien Franklin chased a lost cause and did a sliding tackle to rob Diskin of the ball. He left Diskin for dead with his pace, beating him a second time, then on a 40 yard run in from the touchline, FRANKLIN calmly slotted the ball home left footed, under the keepers body from 10 yards out, for a 2-1 lead after 20 minutes.
Yeovil continued to pressurise and Leek were looking a very fragile team at the back. Murray Fishlock made a good run down the left wing and his cross was flicked on by Patmore but David Piper’s lob was comfortably saved by Gary Ingham in the Leek goal.
On 32 minutes Dean Chandler was booked for alleged use of the elbow when jumping high for a ball with Mike Heverin, one of the few Leek players to come out with credit on the night. A minute later Yeovil extended their lead. Damien Franklin won the ball in midfield and delivered a perfect defence splitting pass to Matt Hayfield on the right wing. Hayfield shot from close range, but the keeper parried it and in came Rob COUSINS to nudge home the ball from eight yards to give him his first Yeovil goal after four seasons with The Glovers. His celebration showed how delighted he was at breaking his duck.
One more good chance fell to Yeovil before half-time. A Chandler long throw produced excellent close control by Warren Patmore in the penalty area, and his subtle flick fell to Phil Simpson, but keeper Ingham produced an excellent close range save from four yards. Then Kevin Riley got booked for a foul on Rob Cousins,and whilst Mike Heverin produced a good close range save from Tony Pennock right on half time, the 3-1 lead was little more than Yeovil deserved.
Half Time : Leek Town 1 Yeovil Town 3
Second half: The second half took off initially as it had ended, with that man Damien Franklin a thorn in Leek’s side. On 55 minutes he took Leek on his own, beating four players and when he shot was parried by Ingham, Warren Patmore dribbled in the rebound. Somehow, the linesman contrived to give Patmore offside, although it seemed a very dodgy decision from these eyes, as it would imply that Patmore was offside from Franklin’s initial shot, which looked to be far from the case.
But three minutes later, Yeovil extended their lead further. A through ball from Matt Hayfield again looked a lost cause for Damien Franklin. But knowing how badly John Diskin had dealt with his previous goal, he chased, and when Diskin left the ball for keeper Ingham, both contrived to miss the ball completely and FRANKLIN waltzed straight between goalkeeper and defender, picked up the loose ball and dribbled into an empty net to make the score 4-1.
To make a woeful night for Diskin worse, he received a yellow card shortly afterwards for disputing a foul on Warren Patmore. Yeovil made a double substitution on 67 minutes, with Rob Smith and Tony Pounder replacing Dean Chandler and Murray Fishlock respectively. And really, that was pretty much the signal for the end of Yeovil’s attacks as they put their feet up with three points already won.
Yeovil’s tiredness led to Leek coming back into the game though, and backed by some superbly humourous chanting from the band of Leek supporters behind the goal (why can’t the Huish Park faithful give their team backing like this when their team are 4-1 down ?) Leek’s players responded superbly. Neil Ellis put a short pass through to Mike HEVERIN, who turned smartly in the area, and shot from 10 yards out past Pennock for a 75th minute consolation goal.
Yeovil’s last remaining attack came when Steve Stott, excellent in midfield unleashed a ripper of a shot that went wide from 25 yards, threatening to decapitate the Yeovil supporters behind the goal. “Was it something we said Steve ??” He came off with six minutes remaining for Ben Smith to produce a few party pieces, including a sublimely arrogant back-heel flick to Hayfield during one aborted attack. But the game finished with Yeovil tired, and it took two excellent saves from Tony Pennock, one a shot that he did well to tip over the bar, and then a second from the resulting corner, when he did well to block from close range.
Final Score: Leek Town 4 Yeovil Town 2
Verdict: Superb entertainment value, as Yeovil relaxed away from the pressure of a home crowd and produced attractive passing football until they tired around the hour mark. By this time the damage had been done against a very weak looking relegated Leek side, and the comical feature of the night was seeing all four Yeovil goals scored by players who had yet to score for the first team this season.
Badger’s Man Of The Match –Damien Franklin: And not just for the two goals either. He ran the slow Leek defence ragged, and could have got far more than the two opportunist goals he did get. Damien also supplied Rob Cousins’ goal, and for a player who has looked out of his depth on other occasions in the Conference, suddenly he looked streets ahead of everyone else on the park.