Match Details: 24/07/1999
Yeovil Town 1 Dorchester Town 1
1. Tony Pennock
2. Jamie Pitman
3. Murray Fishlock
4. Kevan Brown
5. Paul Steele
6. Rob Cousins
7. Matt Hayfield
8. Steve Stott
9. Jason Eaton
Substitutes (all used): Phil Simpson, Dave Piper, Tony Pounder, Darren Keeling.
Football was never meant to be played on a day like this. In sweltering temperatures that topped 80°F in the shade, Yeovil and Dorchester attempted to make a game of it but ended up scrapping out a dour 1-1 draw in from of a patient 574 spectators.
Yeovil were driven down to their bare bones by several holes left in the first choice line-up. Warren Patmore was away at a wedding where he was Best Man, whilst Terry Skiverton, Dean Chandler, Steve Thompson and David Norton all failed to make the line-up leaving Yeovil with only 15 players for their teamsheet. Dorchester, as predicted, lined up with plenty of “rejects” in their team, with James Dungey, Jeff Maclean, Andy Harris, Neil Coates and Owen Pickard all making returns to Huish Park.
In fact it was Dorchester who really should have been ahead on half time through Pickard. Minutes before, Danny O’Hagan had missed a relatively easy chance to put The Magpies a goal up, but around the half hour mark, Owen Pickard was left in space but his comically tame shot from inside the six yard box surprised probably even Tony Pennock as he grasped the ball and Murray Fishlock saw that the ball was cleared. Quite possibly Pickard needed to be told which colour his new team played in!
Two minutes before half time, it was Yeovil’s turn to have their first incisive attack. Adrian Foster showed a quick set of heels to the Dorchester defence and his shot from just inside the area left James Dungey stranded in the Dorchester goal and the ball pinged off his right hand post and back into play.
The second half started in a way that made you think that exciting things were going to happen. David Piper had replaced an unhappy looking Murray Fishlock, with Jamie Pitman swapping wings to allow Piper his traditional spot, and on half time Phil Simpson replaced Matt Hayfield. Simpson looked impressive on the ball, and it looked like his creativity might unlock the Dorchester defence, but that final ball just couldn’t be delivered to Eaton or Foster.
And so Lippiatt rang the changes again, with Pounder and Keeling replacing Stott and Eaton, although that didn’t last long as Foster limped off shortly afterwards allowing Eaton to partner Keeling. The latter again looked interested and willing to fight for his place, but bar long shots from the likes of Smith and Foster and headers from Pounder and Steele, nothing much was happening.
Just when the fixture had 0-0 written all over it, a controversial moment struck. Paul Steele, who once again looked excellent, appeared to be elbowed in the face whilst jumping in the air and as he and another Yeovil player lay prostrate on the floor, the referee, Mr Steve Habgood, memorable for many a past Huish Park controversy, allowed play to go on, and seemed almost embarrassed as Matthew GROVES slotted home, with the referee pointing to the trainers rather than signalling the goal. Yet the scoreboard ticked over and everyone trotted back for kick-off.
True to previous form Mr Habgood showed his refereeing prowess by continuing to give the next three minutes worth of decisions all to Yeovil. Lucky for us then, because one of them was a free kick outside the Dorchester area, and as Dorchester reserve keeper Chris Higgs still seemed to be meddling with his wall positioning, up stepped Ben SMITH to bend the ball round the wall and place the ball into the corner for his fifth goal of the friendly fixtures, just as the clock ticked round to the 90 minute mark.
So not so many positive things to report for Yeovil today. Plus points were that Ben Smith, Phil Simpson, Jamie Pitman and Paul Steele all look worthy members of Lippiatt’s squad, and the midfield team selection must in particular be posing a headache for the Head Coach given that he has yet to compare them with Thompson and Norton.
On the down side, like last season, Yeovil horribly missed Warren Patmore. Although it is difficult to rate Eaton or Foster ahead of one or the other, the lack of Patmore is a huge hole in the Yeovil line-up and proof that Yeovil still need to keep hunting for a big commanding striker, or look for a different set of tactics when Patmore does not play. Finally, also on the worrying front, the continual niggles that Murray Fishlock is experiencing must be ringing alarm bells in the club as although Pitman and Pounder are capable of covering that position, you wouldn’t like to see Murray out too often this season.
Final Score: Yeovil Town 1 Dorchester Town 1