Match Details: 03/04/1999
Yeovil Town 1 Welling United 3
Nationwide Conference

Yeovil scorers: Appleton (85)
Attendance: 2,903

Yeovil Town line-up:

Malcolm Rigby

David Piper
Kevan Brown
Al-James Hannigan
Dean Chandler
Tony Pounder

Steve Thompson
Steve Stott
Phil Simpson

Owen Pickard
Warren Patmore

Substitutes: Tonkin (32 minutes for Brown), Keeling (51 minutes for Patmore), Appleton (77 minutes for Pickard)

Team Selection: All change at the back again for Yeovil with Malcolm Rigby making his Yeovil debut in place of broken rib victim Tony Pennock. Al-James Hannigan and Kevan Brown returned from injury and suspension, Tony Pounder replaced the suspended Murray Fishlock and Rob Cousins was missing, again because of a suspension.

First Half: This was a game Yeovil had to win if they were to keep their Conference title hopes alive, but they were rocked back on their heels after only 4 minutes by struggling Welling. Zeke Rowe won the ball off Dean Chandler – fouling him in the process in the opinion of the vast majority of the crowd – and fed The Wings new transfer-deadline loan signing Ritchie HANLON who received the ball in the Yeovil penalty area with his back to the goal and indulged in some neat ball juggling to turn and shoot past Malcolm Rigby with the Yeovil defence looking on in apparent admiration.
Yeovil’s obvious nerves weren’t helped when the dangerous Darren Adams forced Rigby to make a good save a minute later and a Dean Chandler error nearly let Adams in again shortly afterwards. Welling were clearly fired up for the game, were quicker on to the ball than the home side and were causing the Yeovil team all sorts of problems with their direct style of play. However, what was probably the turning point of the gam e came after 11 minutes. In what was virtually their first attack of the match Yeovil had what seemed a perfectly good goal disallowed for offside. Pounder crossed from wide on the left to Patmore who thundered his header past Knight in the Welling goal. Patmore was clearly on-side when the ball was kicked but the assistant referee’s flag was raised and the goal struck off.

Just afterwards Yeovil came close when Phil Simpson hit a 30-yard screamer following the ball breaking free to him from a Yeovil corner, but his shot took the faintest of deflections to miss the upright by inches. Despite these efforts Welling were still forcing the pace of the game and were looking the more likely team in front of goal and in the 23rd minute Darren ADAMS put the away team 2 goals in front when he picked up a loose ball some 25 yards from the Yeovil goal and hit an unstoppable shot into the top corner of the net.

Yeovil were now looking a tired team with Patmore and Brown in particular struggling with injuries a nd it was no surprise when Kevan Brown was replaced in the 32nd minute by reservist Anthony Tonkin. The Glovers pressed the Welling goal for the rest of the half but without creating any real chances other than a couple of speculative efforts by the ever-willing, but clearly struggling Warren Patmore. Phil Simpson and Welling’s Neil Trebble were booked for a spot of handbags at dawn on the stroke of half-time.

Half Time: Yeovil Town 0 Welling Utd 2

Second Half: Yeovil began the 2nd half by changing from the usual 5-3-2 formation to a more adventurous 4-3-3 but with little discernable effect other than to make Welling’s breaks from defence more comfortable than they might otherwise have been. Darren Keeling replaced the injured Patmore in the 51st minute and Yeovil attempted to put the Welling defence under pressure but their sole tactic for much of the half seemed to consist of pumping high balls forward which the Welling backline dealt with easily.
The home side forced a series of free-kicks just outside Welling’s penalty area on several occasions but variously Pounder, Simpson and Thomson all failed to make Welling keeper Glen Knight make a save. Owen Pickard was booked for what seemed to be dissent and in the 76th minute Welling killed off any lingering hopes of a Yeovil comeback. The Wings were awarded a penalty after Al-James Hannigan pulled the shirt of a Welling forward and Darren ADAMS converted from the spot for his second goal of th e game and to put Welling 3-0 up. The penalty decison was correct according to the laws of the game but wrong in the context of the match, as the inconsistent referee had ignored countless similar offences previously.

Another reservist, Arthur Appleton replaced Owen Pickard to make his Conference debut and at last, now it was too late, Yeovil began to put some decent football together, eschewing the high ball route and passing along the floor to much better effect. The consolation goal came in the 85th minute when Arthur APPLETON crowned an impressive first 15 minutes of Conference football by heading home a near post corner. Welling keeper Knight saved well from a Keeling header a minute later and the game petered out in a late flurry of Welling substitutions.

Final Score: Yeovil Town 1 Welling Utd 3

Yeovil looked a tired team today and in hindsight would have been better advised to have rested certain players rather than risk playing them with injuries. They never came to grips with the pace of Welling’s game and too many players performed at a level far below what they are normally capable of. Only the three debutants, Rigby, Tonkin and Appleton could have been pleased with their games. Rigby was not at fault for any of Welling’s goals and looked a capable stand-in for Tony Pennock. Anthony Tonkin showed that he is ready to make the step up from the reserve team and Arthur Appleton must surely be given an extended run in the first team soon. Yeovil have now dropped 29 points at home this season, a statistic that will not please the fans, players or management and surely means that the Conference title, this season at least, is now beyond them.

Jon’s Man of the Match: Anthony Tonkin : One of the few Yeovil players to emerge with their reputations enhanced after the game, Tonkin did everything that could be expected of him and looked cool, competent and unflustered on the ball. He seemed equally at home as part of a 3 man central defence in the 1st half as he did as an orthodox left back in the 2nd half. A fine Conference debut.