Match Details: 17/03/1999
Yeovil Town 2 Leek Town 0
Nationwide Conference

Yeovil scorers: Patmore (30), B.Smith (58)
Attendance: 2,442

Yeovil Town line-up:

Malcolm Rigby

David Piper
Dean Chandler
Kevan Brown
Paul Steele
Murray Fishlock

Rob Cousins
Matt Hayfield
Ben Smith

Darren Keeling
Warren Patmore

Substitutes: Arthur Appleton (for Keeling, 73 mins), Tony Pounder (for Hayfield, 76 mins), Lee Groves (for B. Smith, 81 mins)

Team Selection: Yet again Colin Lippiatt was forced by a combination of injury and suspension into making changes throughout the side. Up front Darren Keeling replaced Owen Pickard; with Ben Smith and Matt Hayfield making their first Conference starts for some time in the midfield, replacing the missing duo Stott and Thompson. Rob Cousins again moved up from the defence to take the third midfield spot. In the defence Paul Steele made only his second Conference start in place of Al-James Hannigan and Malcolm Rigby retained his place in goal.
First Half : Click here for a larger image of Warren Patmore.Yeovil made most of the early running in the pleasant Spring sunshine spoilt only by a slightly chilly breeze. After an inconclusive opening spell David Piper combined well with Ben Smith on the right before sending over a cross which found Murray Fishlock unmarked in the penalty area, but his volley went wide of the goal. Then an intelligent Dean Chandler through ball found Fishlock in space wide on the opposite wing but Darren Keeling just failed to make contact with Fishlock’s cross.
Click here for a larger picture of Dean Chandler and Murray Fishlock.25 minutes had passed before Leek managed their first shot on goal after some good work by the dangerous McAuley, but the game erupted into controversy shortly afterwards. David Piper lofted a high ball into the Leek penalty area which Warren Patmore contested with Leek goalkeeper Gary Ingham. PATMORE won the battle in the air and headed into the empty net for what was announced to be his 100th goal for Yeovil. In celebration he ran the entire length of the pitch and jumped into the terrace amongst the celebrating home fans! Meanwhile the Leek players were surrounding referee Mr Desmond complaining bitterly about Wazza’s challenge on the goalkeeper. It has to be said that from where I was sitting it seemed they had a case, but in fairness the referee had an excellent view of the incident and had no doubt that Wazza’s challenge was legal. In the event Leek’s no 4, Dale Hawtin, took his sense of grievance too far and was sent off, presumably for foul and abusive language.

Yeovil continued to press for the remainder of the half but all too often were being caught out by Leek’s offside trap. Leek themselves were coming into the game more, but without ever really looking threatening. The closest either side came to scoring again came just before half-time when Ben Smith rattled a first-time volley against the cross-bar after a break on the right by Darren Keeling.

Half Time: Yeovil Town 1 Leek Town 0

Second Half: Click here for a larger image of Matt Hayfield.As at the start of the game the second half began quietly with Leek taking what intitiative there was but without ever being able to get top-scorer Hugh McAuley into any positions where he could do any real damage. By contrast in what was their first attack of the second half Yeovil extended their lead in the 58th minute. Matt Hayfield put in an early cross from the right which found Warren Patmore in the box. His powerful header was well saved by Ingham but he could only push the ball into the path of Ben SMITH who fired into the bottom right corner of the net.
A couple of minutes later Darren Keeling beat 2 Leek defenders in a good run toward the box but scuffed his shot weakly at the goalkeeper. This was to be his last real contribution in what was a generally disappointing game for him and he was replaced by Arthur Appleton in the 73rd minute.

Click here for a larger image of Arthur Appleton.Yeovil seemed content to rest on their laurels for the remainder of the game. Leek theatened briefly when Rigby misjudged a Paul Steele defensive header, allowing it to bounce off the cross-bar for a corner, but atoned by making an excellent intercepting punch when it seemed that McAualey would have a free header on goal. Arthur Appleton again impressed in the short time he was on with his direct play and it was great to see reserve player Lee Groves make his first Conference appearance this season. Rob Cousins scared us all by having a shot saved, and a shot on target at that, but the game petered out quietly in the end.

Final Score: Yeovil Town 2 Leek Town 0

Verdict: A home win is a home win! Yeovil did enough to beat what was a poor Leek side comfortably enough but without really impressing against what was a 10 man team for most of the game. There again considering Colin Lippiatt was forced into making so many changes before the game it’s perhaps not surprising the performance was a bit disjointed at times. I’m not complaining though – we’ve dropped so many points at home already this season that a win – any win – is very welcome.
Jon’s Man Of The Match: Paul Steele Good performances from David Piper, Murray Fishlock and Matt Hayfield, but I’ve gone for Paul. Considering this was only his second Conference start this was an assured performance. Paul dominated in the air at the back and his passing out of defence was excellent. He always appeared to be in the right place at the right time and never seemed to be hurried. He looks to be a very promising player.