Match Details: 01/05/1999
Yeovil Town 1 Stevenage Borough 3
Yeovil scorers: Stott 52
Yeovil Town line-up:
Substitutes: Ben Smith (52 for Chandler), Phil Simpson (57 for Franklin), Tony Pounder (77 for Fishlock).
Team Selection: Damien Franklin retained his place up front alongside Warren Patmore after his heroics at Leek. For the first time at home this season Yeovil began a game using a 4-4-2 formation with David Piper and Murray Fishlock acting as wide men in a four-man midfield, with Hannigan and Chandler asked to take the unfamiliar full-back roles.
The game began in warm sunshine after yet another immaculately-observed minute’s silence, this time in memory of Sir Alf Ramsey who died earlier this week.
Rob Cousins evidently enjoyed scoring his first-ever goal for Yeovil against Leek on Thursday and he scared us all again by coming close with a powerful drive in the 3rd minute. However it was Stevenage who were enjoying most of the early play with Stevenage’s Lee Harvey in particular putting in some dangerous crosses which were causing the Yeovil defence problems. In the 12th minute the early pressure finally told when Stevenage were awarded a controversial free-kick just outside the Yeovil penalty area after a seemingly innoccuous challenge. Carl ALFORD used precision instead of power to evade the wall and the transfixed Tony Pennock to put Stevenage 1-0 up.
The away team went further ahead some 10 minutes later after the simplest of corner routines. The near post cross was flicked on by Alford to Jimmy STROUTS who made no mistake with a header from point-blank range. Stevenage were 2 up and in all honesty looked good value for their lead. Yeovil huffed and puffed to try and get back into the game but were continuouly being caught out by Stevenage’s well-marshalled offside trap and by the end of the half the Glovers had been restricted to some long-range efforts from Matt Hayfield, none of which threatened to embarrass keeper Elliott Jackson.
Half Time : Yeovil Town 0 Stevenage Borough 2
Stevenage began the second half looking to kill the game off and forced a series of corners, none of which the Yeovil defence looked entirely comfortable in dealing with. It was Yeovil who dragged themselves back into the match though after they were awarded a free kick wide on the left. The cross was partially cleared to Al-James Hannigan on the edge of the area. His snap shot could only be parried by the keeper and Steve STOTT snapped up the rebound to finish coolly and put Yeovil back into the match.
Ben Smith replaced Dean Chandler and Yeovil reverted to their more familiar 3-5-2 formation. Referee Mr North then decided that the game needed livening up and began his world-famous clown routine the regulars at Huish Park have come to know and dread by booking Ben, apparently for returning to the field without permission after treatment for an injury, though it’s hard to be certain.
Yeovil were coming more and more into the game now with Smith and Piper again combining well down the right, but again all too often they were being caught out by the offside trap, much to the frustration of the Huish Park crowd.
The game looked to be petering out tamely when Mr North’s unconscious instincts for comedy again came to the fore. Yeovil booted a long ball down the centre of the field – again. Patmore and Hayfield chased it – again. The linesman’s flag was raised – again. This time though Mr North decided to ignore his hapless assistant’s advice and waved play on, much to the bemusement of Stevenage’s keeper Elliott Jackson who had carried the ball out of his area to take what he thought was to be a Boro free-kick. Wrong! One booking for handball later had taught him that things are never what they seem when Mr North is in charge. Sadly for Yeovil Ben Smith could only fire the resultant free kick harmlessly over the bar.
Mr North saved his piece-de-resistance for the end. In the 86th minute Carl Alford found himself in acres of space in front of Yeovil’s goal with only a fellow Boro forward for company. The linesman raised his flag – and lowered it, raised it again – and lowered it. ALFORD didn’t need to be told twice what he had to do and put the ball in the net. At first it seemed that the goal had been disallowed, then allowed. Then disallowed again, then allowed. This was in the finest tradition of ‘Oh yes it is!’ – ‘On no it isn’t!’ pantomime, but the joke in the end was on the home team and the goal was allowed to stand. There was just time for Steve Stott to be cleanly tackled when bursting through on goal and Yeovil’s season was over, with a whimper instead of a bang.
Final Score: Yeovil Town 1 Stevenage Borough 3
Verdict: What can you say? No-one can accuse the players of lacking effort but this season something has gone wrong at home. Whether it’s the pitch or the tactics or the crowd that’s at fault (although no-one could blame the crowd today, they backed the team well) is something that can and doubtless will be debated. Colin Lippiatt attempted something different today by changing the formation, but that was no more succesful than anything else that’s been tried. On the day Stevenage thoroughly deserved their win and looked to be a better side. The frustrating thing for YTFC fans is that the league table tells a slightly different story.
Jon’s Man Of The Match – Steve Stott: Nobody in the green-and-white shirt had a great game today, but seeing as this was their 3rd game in 5 days after a very hectic end-of-season schedule that’s perhaps not too surprising. As usual Stotty led from the front and never gave up, nor did he allow others around him to drop their heads.