Match Details: 27/03/1999
Hayes 1 Yeovil Town 1
Yeovil scorers: Pickard (5)
Yeovil Town line-up
Substitutes: Smith (not used), Pounder (90 minutes for Piper), Keeling (59 minutes for Pickard).
Team Selection: Yeovil were missing regular central defenders Kevan Brown and Al-James Hannigan through hamstring injuries, so Dean Chandler kept his place and reservist Paul Steele, signed earlier this season from Western League club Chippenham, made his first-team debut.
First Half: The game kicked off 15 minutes late as the Hayes coach didn’t arrive at Huish Park until 2.45pm and for the first 45 minutes it seemed that the Hayes team were still mentally, if not actually physically, on the bus. Yeovil were completely dominant and had numerous chances to score more than the one goal they actually managed by half-time, but were frustrated by a combination of poor finishing and good goalkeeping by Hayes keeper Russell Meara.
Yeovil began the match strongly and forced 2 corners in the first 5 minutes. From the second corner Meara saved a powerful Warren Patmore header but the ball rebounded straight to b who made no mistake from close range, keeping up his excellent recent goalscoring record. The home crowd sat back to await the seemingly inevitable flood of goals to follow, but somehow, despite the almost constant wave of attacks from The Glovers for the rest of the half the second goal which would surely have opened the floodgates for more, failed to come.
Yeovil’s build-up play was often excellent, but when the final effort on goal came in all too often the target would be missed. Simpson, Fishlock, Thompson and Pickard all came close during the half but in truth Russell Meara wasn’t called upon to save as often as he should have been. Perhaps the closest Yeovil came to extending their lead came just before half-time when a Murray Fishlock shot was blocked on the line, the ball rebounding to Patmore who’s lob grazed the crossbar with Meara beaten. The solitary Hayes threat to the Yeovil goal came from a corner in the 28th minute which was fisted away by Pennock, but apart from that it really was all Yeovil and the 1-0 half-time lead was scant reward for their first-half superiority.
Half Time: Yeovil Town 1 Hayes 0
Second Half: Hayes made a substitution at the break, Ben Hodson replacing Matt Cattlin. The second half began where the first half left off with Yeovil completely on top. Owen Pickard was looking particularly dangerous and in the first few minutes of the half had a shot cleared off the line after a Steve Thompson effort was blocked and a few minutes later he forced an excellent save by Meara after a deft flick following a Fishlock cross. Immediately afterwards Pickard shot fractionally wide following a quickly taken free-kick, but that was to be his last contribution to the game as a groin injury forced his substitution, Darren Keeling replacing him in the 59th minute.
Then came the most controversial moment of the match: Warren Patmore made a clean break from the halfway line and bearing down on goal with only Hayes keeper Meara to beat was pulled back by Hayes defender Alvin Watts. It appeared a clear red-card offence but referee Mr French contented himself with showing the yellow, much to the home crowd’s disgust. From the resultant free-kick Steve Thompson drove the ball wide of the goal.Rob Cousins clears off the line after Pennock and Steele collide. © Ray Peplow 1999.
Gradually Hayes were beginning to come more into the game and the action switched from end to end. Yeovil suffered their first scare after a seemingly harmless high ball into the Glovers penalty box was dropped by Pennock after he collided with teammate Paul Steele, the subsequent shot being blocked on the line by the ubiquitous Rob Cousins. With 20 minutes until the final whistle Yeovil were now coming under more and more pressure and were defending in depth and as the game wore on, defending in increasing desperation. Hayes were winning more and more balls in the air and Tony Pennock was forced into an outstanding reflex save after a close-range header from Nathan Bunce. Shortly afterwards Murray Fishlock cleared off the line with Pennock beaten after a scramble in the Yeovil penalty area.
Yeovil weren’t completely finished as an attacking force and with the game drawing to a close Darren Keeling provided a cross for Warren Patmore to head just over the bar. The final few minutes though belonged to Hayes as they piled on the pressure in search of an equaliser. Tony Pounder replaced David Piper in the 90th minute but in the 3rd minute of injury time the blow fell just as the home crowd, who had been magnificent in support of their team throughout the game, were beginning to celebrate victory. Hayes were awarded a free-kick wide on the right after what seemed a very innocuous challenge. The ball was fired into the penalty box and Ben HODSON stunned the Huish Park faithful by rising unchallenged to power a header into the back of the net.
Final Score : Yeovil Town 1 Hayes 1
Verdict : Yeovil will be disappointed not to have taken all 3 points from this game after their complete domination of the first three quarters of the match. If they could just have applied the killer touch in front of goal then the game would have been over as a contest by half-time. In truth however, so well did Hayes turn the game around in the final quarter that in many ways Yeovil could consider themselves lucky to escape with a point! In the final analysis though this was yet more points dropped at home – points lost that Yeovil may well rue in the race for the title.
Jon’s Man of the Match: Tony Pennock : After being a virtual spectator for most of the game Tony kept his side in it during the final quarter, making several important saves and one brilliant reflex save in particular. What we didn’t realise at the time was that he did it while playing in great pain and is today having x-rays on suspected broken ribs. In my view he wasn’t at fault for Hayes’ equaliser which seemed to me to be a failure of marking rather than an a goal-keeping error.