Match Details: 31/07/1999
Yeovil Town 0 Fulham 3
1. Tony Pennock
2. Darren Keeling
3. Murray Fishlock
4. Kevan Brown
5. Terry Skiverton
6. Rob Cousins
7. Matt Hayfield
8. Steve Stott
9. Warren Patmore
Substitutes (used): Jamie Pitman, Dave Piper, Jason Eaton, Tony Pounder, Paul Steele, Phil Simpson.
Another Saturday, another sweltering hot day at Huish Park as Fulham brought a first team full of stars as part of the testimonial match for former Yeovil and Fulham manager, Alec Stock. Before the game Alec was presented to former players he had played with or managed, plus the players of both teams.
Yeovil started with a orthadox formation, but amazingly fielded striker Darren Keeling as a right wing-back, leaving both Jamie Pitman and David Piper on the bench. It was difficult to comment on the success or otherwise of this selection, given that he was up against the talented Rufus Brevett with whom Keeling had a serious battle, with Brevett coming off the best most of the time. Dean Chandler was initially part of the starting line-up, but pulled a muscle during the team warm-up and withdrew from the squad for that day.
Despite the early Fulham pressure it was Yeovil who thought they had taken the lead. Following a clever moving involving Patmore and Stott, Hayfield was left in space and shot home, but he was marginally offside and the linesman signalled for the free kick.
Straight from this kick, Fulham took the lead. A quick run down the left wing by Brevett allowed Paul PESCHISOLIDO to nudge a near post ball home from close range, giving Fulham a ninth minute lead.
Fulham extended their lead by a similar route when Stan COLLYMORE evaded his marker and headed home a powerful 37th minute left wing cross. At this stage Fulham were rampant and it was only class defending by Pennock, Fishlock and Brown and balls that flashed across goal but were never connected with that stopped Fulham knocking up a serious scoreline.
Half time came and the Keeling experiment was dropped. It was difficult to draw anything out of this. One the one hand, Keeling had a bad time and it looked like something that should never be tried again, but on the other hand was it possible to draw any conclusions when it was Rufus Brevett and not a Conference winger that he was trying to keep quiet ? If this experiment is to show any genuine fruit, it needs to be tried against a lesser side to give Keeling a chance to succeed.
Jamie Pitman firmed things up in that hot position, replacing Keeling, whilst there were direct swaps during the break with Eaton replacing Foster and Simpson replacing Smith. Yeovil controlled the ball far more in this half and with Pennock under little pressure, the third Fulham goal came at a point where Yeovil might have hoped for a goal themselves.
The goal came in cruel circumstances. Referee, Mr North (yes, him!) had been having a dreadful game, halting the play at every opportunity, and he deemed that Murray Fishlock had fouled Stephen Hughes near the corner flag where it looked to many others that Murray had played the ball. The former Arsenal man struck his own free kick and a far post header by Andy MELVILLE pretty much sealed the game.
Yeovil used their three remaining substitutes just after the third goal when David Piper, Tony Pounder and Paul Steele replaced Steve Stott, Murray Fishlock and Matt Hayfield. Paul Steele had a particularly impressive 22 minutes as he shut out Stan Collymore winning every aerial ball aimed in his direction. But the final fifteen minutes proved too much for both sides and the game ended at a pedestrian pace.
Rob Cousins heads clear of Stan CollymoreFrom a positive point of view, Yeovil were able to match Fulham in midfield , and were solid in defence bar the first half right back position. Where Fulham looked superior was in their attack. But when you play Stan Collymore and Geoff Horsfield as your striking pair, is that really surprising ?
Adrian Foster looked strong on the ball, and held off the Fulham defenders well. Warren Patmore was dominant in the air but was far too often penalised by the over-fussy Mr North. Ben Smith looked sharp, but like Keeling seemed to be too keen on dribbling the ball out of his own defence, whilst the central defensive team selection has now been severely complicated by the impressive Paul Steele giving Lippiatt now a real choice of five players to fit into three positions.
Final Score: Yeovil Town 0 Fulham 3