Nationwide Conference :
Yeovil Town 1 – 2 Margate

Att: 2,577

Line up : (4-4-2)

Chris Weale

Adam Lockwood

Tom White

Colin Pluck

Anthony Tonkin

Nick Crittenden

Darren Way

Lee Johnson

Michael McIndoe

Carl Alford

Scott Ramsay

Subs: 12. Gary Haveron GK. Stephen Collis 14. Andy Turner 15. Tommy Schram (sub 46 mins for Pluck) 16. Chris Giles (sub 68 mins for Ramsay)

1 Lee Turner, 2 Gary Blackford, 3 Paul Lamb, 4 Bill Edwards, 5 Graham Porter, 6 Lee Williams, 7 Mark Munday, 8 Gareth Graham, 9 Jay Saunders, 10 Phil Collins, 11 Akpo Sodje
Subs: 12 Simon Beard (sub 31 mins for Sodje), 14 Ian Hilaire, 15 Steve Hafner (sub 68 mins for Blackford), 16 Mike Azzopardi, 17 Charlie Mitten (GK).

Scorers: Sodje (15, 0-1), Alford (45, 1-1), Graham (58, 1-2)

This report courtesy of Fe7 with another from Richard Gibson further down:

Awful. As a football contest, there was little contest, and to be honest little football. Yeovil failed top produce the determination, quality, skill and teamwork that we all demand.

To be true, the first few minutes flattered to deceive. While going through the motions there was a sense that it just wasn’t going to happen. True, McIndoe added the energy that had been missing lately, but it was not high octane. Crittenden pleased, but was constrained. The Westland stand sang all night as if a rehearsal. It didn’t seem to matter.

The opening minutes even raised the spirits. But, from then on the event went quickly downhill. To be honest, Yeovil Town were the biggest culprits. Margate couldn’t believe their luck to take the lead after 17 minutes. Not that they were particularly the poorer of the two teams, far from it, it is just that they appeared to come out to take a 0-0 draw. To take the lead was Christmas and birthday rolled into one. From the rest of the first half damage limitation was the name of the game. The referee acquiesced by continually stopping and starting play, giving the game a huge degree of sterility, and failing to inject any urgency when Margate persistently dragged their heels.

The only relief for Yeovil Town supporters came from the irony that Margate’s time wasting tactics allowed enough extra time at the end of the first half for Yeovil to equalise.

They did not make the same mistake in the second half.

Back to the game.

Weale replaced Sheffield who suffered a groin injury on Saturday. Skiverton was again left out of the squad due to the facial injury sustained at Barnet.

Lockwood kept his place at right back despite his looming three-match ban. McIndoe returned from suspension, Turner being relegated to the bench, Lindegaard excluded completely. Lindegaard’s exclusion was the first mistake of the night. Since his return to the squad against Scarborough Yeovil have enjoyed six games, four victories, two draws, and no defeats. A similar record extends back over the last eighteen months. Tommy Schram joined the Yeovil bench but his inclusion failed to coax any excitement from the Yeovil crowd.

Margate kicked off but it was Yeovil who applied most pressure in the opening minutes, Crittenden immediately won the first corner on the right. McIndoe’s corner was dangerous, forcing Margate’s keeper Turner to punch clear in a crowded box. The referee awarded a free kick.

Weale got good distance on his kicks, Crittenden laid such a clearance back to Alford, his shot was well saved by Turner, turning the ball away for a corner. McIndoe’s second corner was again deep into a crowded box, but eventually safely gathered by Turner.

Yeovil had certainly started much brighter and positive than previous matches. Most notably the back four were camped on the half way line and the Margate were defending deep.

Yeovil were lucky to stay on level terms on seven minutes when a weak back pass left Weale exposed, he managed to block the first attack, but had to rely on his defence to finally clear the ball. Retrospectively, the writing was, perhaps, on the wall.

Yeovil continued with the better possession but failed to threaten the Margate goal, Way’s shot being the best of Yeovil’s chances. Margate’s attacks were continually caught by Yeovil’s offside trap. This merely exacerbated the delays creeping into the game.

Out of the blue Sodje cut in from the left wing, ran twenty yards unchallenged, and struck a low right foot shot that curled away from Weale. Weale seemed slow to follow its progress and could only succeed in diverting the ball into the inside of the side netting as he attempted to push it away: Yeovil 0 Margate 1; 15 minutes gone. Margate continued more confidently as Yeovil attempted to compose themselves.

Although Ramsay’s shot went close, and Lockwood’s header just drifted past the post, off sides, whistles and time delaying tactics erased the rest of the first half as a contest. Yeovil, despite their lack of height in midfield, continued to play head tennis with the taller stronger Margate midfield, and not surprisingly it was Margate who, more often than not, came away with the ball. Often, Yeovil pumped balls up to the Alford or Ramsay, again with similar results.

Johnson won himself a yellow card for remonstrating with the referee after a challenge on Alford in the Margate box. The remonstration, like much of the Yeovil performance, was relatively weak and Johnson was unfortunate to be punished.

McIndoe produced a good shot that Turner spilled, but no Yeovil striker was on hand to take advantage. Lockwood did well to cross to the near post but again no Yeovil striker was there to challenge.

McIndoe won a corner on 45 minutes and Johnson’s in-swinging corner found Alford‘s head and the ball limped over the goal line to make the score Yeovil 1 Margate 1. Again the goal was somewhat of a surprise.

Before the half closed McIndoe sent a right foot shot screaming over the bar.

Half time: Yeovil 1 Margate 1.

At half-time Tommy Schram replaced Colin Pluck, Lockwood moved across into the central partnership with White as Schram took up the right back position. Schram was immediately into the game breaking from just inside his own half to the edge of the Margate penalty box and unleashing a powerful right-foot shot that was blocked for a corner.

The second half settled down to a pattern of Yeovil pushing forward, Schram, White and Lockwood continually sweeping up Margate’s attacks. Tonkin broke down the left and sent a left foot shot across the Margate goal, but the ball drifted wide of the far post. Although Yeovil had created few clear-cut chances in the first half, the Margate defence seemed to cope even more effectively with Yeovil’s rather feeble attempts in the second. Margate were content to rely on the odd break, moved the ball around well in midfield, and managed to cause the Yeovil defence anxious moments.

Not for the first time a quick Margate break split the Yeovil defence. Weale did well to block the first shot, but as luck would have it, the ball fell kindly for Graham whose accurate shot hit the target off the underside of the cross bar, Weale struggling to regain his position. Yeovil 1 Margate 2.

From then on the flaws in the Yeovil performance became more and more apparent. With confidence, low the intricate build up that Yeovil try to produce went even more astray. Crittenden, on the right, failed to produce the form that has raised spirits at Huish Park this season. Mix-ups in the Margate penalty area went unpunished as keeper and defender squabbled over the ball.

Although only 65 minutes had elapsed, one got the feeling that Yeovil had produced their best. To that end Giles replaced Ramsay, but in keeping with the rest of the night’s events, Giles failed to ignite a damp Yeovil performance.

Quick breaks continued to cause the Yeovil defence problems. Such a break and a foul led to a second booking for Johnson and subsequently an early bath. A few minutes later, White fell to a similar fate. An Alford free kick that ended in the back row of the Copse Road end seemed to encapsulate Yeovil’s misery. As sections of the Yeovil crowd drifted away, the remainder hung for the inevitable.

Final score Yeovil 1 Margate 2.

As in Saturday’s game Yeovil were poor, lacking the ability to break down a stubborn defence, failing to put together cohesive skilful play, or in fact, create any danger in the penalty box. One must ask: what the hell do they do in training sessions?

On a positive note Tommy Scram looked a useful addition to the squad – sound at the back, looking better breaking forward.

Promotion 2001-02? Getting very difficult.

Just when you thought reliving that match once couldn’t be any worse, now relive it twice, courtesy of Richard Gibson:

With Yeovil wanting to keep their unbeaten run going but having to face a team second in the league to do it, everyone was hoping they would find that “Magic Formula” to put three past the Margate keeper and make sure the gap between the leaders Dagenham, and ourselves didn’t grow much bigger.

In the first 15 minutes of the match Yeovil looked a changed side, they looked strong in attack, even stronger in defence and we looked like a team that could be contenders for the conference title.

Midfield seemed a power struggle with Yeovil seemed to be winning, Yeovil seemed a have a spring about their step which we were yet to see at Huish Park. Chances came and went for Yeovil and no-one seemed to be able to create chances in to the all important goals.

After quarter of an hour gone, Margate number 9 Akope Skodje popped up in midfield and was allowed to run straight at the defence as if there wasn’t one and struck a long curling shot that tucked in the bottom left hand corner of the net. Chris Weale didn’t have a chance of getting to it, and Yeovil were behind at home again.

So with Yeovil chasing the game the team seemed to find what they had been lacking before and started to pile players in the area which they didn’t do when the match was a level pegging.

Yeovil’s first real chance came in the shape of a Lee Johnson free-kick which was whipped in straight on to the head of Adam Lockwood, who put it wide of the post. Lee Johnson was then booked when a Margate player unfairly challenged Alford and he went over to protest.

Then Yeovil seemed to step down a gear and let Margate dominate possesion, until in the dying seconds of the first half Carl Alford connected with a Lee Johnson corner which was perfectly placed for Alford to nestle it past the keeper in to the bottom of the net.

Yeovil Town FC 1 – 1 Margate FC

One half-time substitution for the home team, was Tommy Schram replacing Colin Pluck who picked up a neck injury during the first half.

Yeovil came out in the second half as they did in the first, showing real team spirit and throwing caution to the wind as they tried to get the goal that would put them into a deserved lead. Unfortunately Margate managed to claw back the majority of possesion and started to once again put pressure on the, at times very weak Yeovil defence.

Then Margate took the lead in the 57th minute through Gareth Graham, when Chris Weale made and excellent save, however the rebound fell to Graham who fired the ball in to the back of the net.

With Yeovil lacking the confidence to keep pushing forward, Yeovil started to send the ball down route one. The balls never seemed to be reaching the Margate area and Yeovil weren’t creating chances for the strikers to get on the end of.

The next injury during the match was to the referee who seemed to tweaked a hamstring, and he was treated for 2-3 minutes.

The match ended as controversially as it had been throughout with the referee only allocating only one minute injury time and playing only 25 seconds of that minute. The referee was a disgrace and used his only interpretations of the rules to suit himself.