Pre-season friendly :
Yeovil Town 2 – 1 Portsmouth

Att: 1,668

Line up : (4-4-2/4-3-3/3-4-3 at various times!)

Jon Sheffield

Nick Crittenden

Terry Skiverton

Roy O’Brien

Anthony Tonkin

Darren Way

Lee Johnson

Michael McIndoe

Andy Turner

Barrington Belgrave

Carl Alford

Subs used: Colin Pluck (for McIndoe), Chris Weale (for Sheffield), James Bent (for Belgrave), Chris Giles (for Alford), Andy Lindegaard (for Crittenden).

Portsmouth : 1. Chris Tardiff, 2. Jason Crowe, 3. Justin Edinburgh, 4. Scott Hiley, 5. Darren Moore, 6. Lewis Buxton, 7. Lee Bradbury, 8. Michael Panopoulos, 9. Peter Crouch, 10. Garry Brady, 11. Courteney Pitt . Subs: 12. Kevin Harper, GK: Alan Knight, 14. Jamie Vincent, 15. Stefani Miglioranzi, 16. Nigel Quashie, 17. Gary O’Neil, 18. Rowan Vine.

Scorers: Courtney Pitt (1, 0-1), Darren WAY (36, 1-1), Colin PLUCK (69, 2-1)

This report courtesy of Fe7:

Talk on Friday at Yeovil Town was of Jamaican Internationals. But, it was Jamaican style weather that should have preoccupied both Johnson and Rix’s preparations. Temperatures climbing to the 30’s made Huish Park like a cauldron, frequent replenishment of liquids would be imperative.

Gary Johnson’s preparations have encountered better and better opposition. With comfortable wins over non-league opponents, a win at third division Exeter, and a home draw against second division Peterborough. This match, at home to first division Portsmouth, would be the biggest challenge yet. Surely Portsmouth with its array of multi-million pound internationals would sweep aside Yeovil today?

Today, both stands were open, a total gate of 1668, with over a hundred Portsmouth supporters in the Bartlett Stand.

Back to the game.

The Yeovil side had a very familiar look, with the exception of Skiverton returning in place of Pluck. The Portsmouth side, with the exception of Moore and Crouch, looked smaller than the average division one side.

Yeovil kicked off.

The first Portsmouth attack resulted in an innocuous diagonal cross from the right into the Yeovil box which eluded all four defenders. Crittenden looked completely bemused on the far side and Pitt steaming in from the wing latched onto the ball to hammer it passed Sheffield, giving him no chance.

Unbelievably: Yeovil 0 Portsmouth 1 (1 min)

For the first twenty minutes Portsmouth dominated the game. Playing the ball neatly across the back-four, out of defence and up the park. On more than one occasion the diagonal ball into the box caused Crittenden difficulties. Had Rix done his homework we wondered? Portsmouth looked comfortable and in control, Yeovil were holding out. All eleven Portsmouth players seemed more skilful, and fitter than Yeovil’s. On the rare occasion that Yeovil gained possession this was either quickly lost or resulted in a weak attempt on goal.

Good work down the left by Belgrave led to Yeovil’s best opportunity of the half, Turner’s cross-cum-shot flew over the bar as the Portsmouth goal-keeper back-peddled.

Although outplayed for the first twenty minutes Yeovil had worked very hard to contain Portsmouth, and as time ticked on came more and more into the game. As the half ticked by, Yeovil entered their best spell of the game, Skiverton putting himself about in the box, Belgrave and Crittenden working well down the wing.

On 36 minutes Yeovil produced the best move of the afternoon. After an umpteenth attempt to put Pitt in behind Crittenden the ball bounced through to Sheffield. He set Crittenden away down the right. A welcome gaping gap appeared in the Portsmouth defence some forty yards in front of him. Way had seen the same gap and was charging towards it. Crittenden threw a masterful ball over Way into the gap in front of him and Way charged on. As he caught up with the ball – seeing the Portsmouth keeper advancing – Way volleyed the ball from a good thirty yards. The Main stand occupants could see it was heading towards the far left hand corner. Was it too high? Was it too wide? It seemed to take an age, but, NO!!!! The ball thumped into the back of the Portsmouth goal. The Main stand went crazy – what a goal.

Unbelievably: Yeovil 1 (36 mins) Portsmouth 1

The remainder of the half was overshadowed by frayed tempers. This culminated in the referee recommending that MacIndoe and Brady be substituted after their bout of push and shove. While Brady had been pretty ineffective – MacIndoe had run the show for the last ten minutes and one felt Yeovil had suffered the major loss.

Pluck’s introduction required a Yeovil reshuffle. He slotted into the centre of defence with Skiverton, O’Brien moved to right back and Crittenden fill the mid-field vacancy.

The first half petered out.

The half time whistle blew, Yeovil Town 1 Portsmouth 1.

Yeovil started the second half confidently, gaining a number of corners in quick succession. Portsmouth, losing the initiative, began to look shaky.

A free kick by Johnson put Tonkin in down the left, his cross towards Skiverton in the box is met by the Portsmouth goalkeeper, the ball breaks to Belgrave whose shot from outside the box flies over the cross-bar. Skiverton is left prostrate in the penalty box, but rejoins the game after a couple of minutes treatment.

During such breaks Yeovil players are keen to take on liquids. Surprisingly Portsmouth do not appear so concerned.

After 69 minutes a determined run by Turner down the left wing wins a corner. Johnson takes the corner – and in so doing completely out-foxes the Portsmouth defence by slipping over. The cross comes into the Portsmouth area at a much lower trajectory than the Portsmouth defence expect. Skiverton, aware of this brilliant plan is quickly onto the ball and returns it to Johnson. Having drawn the Portsmouth defence to the near post Johnson delivers a pinpoint accurate cross to the penalty spot where Pluck, steaming in from the edge of the box, catapults himself headfirst towards the ball. Making a perfect connection, the ball flies past the outstretched helpless hand of the Portsmouth keeper and jubilantly smashes itself into the back of the net. Joy, elation,

dream-on, YESSSSSSSSSS, Yeovil 222222222222 Portsmouth 1.

Bent and Giles soon replaced Belgrave and Alford to compound Portsmouth’s misery.

Portsmouth, only now, hurried themselves in an attempt to get back into the game. But, all too often, they were frustrated by the effective offside trap operated by the Yeovil defence.

Lindegaard replaced Turner to provided crosses to Giles and through-balls to Bent. But both just fail to capitalise.

Weale and Poole replaced Sheffield and Crittenden.

With minutes to go good interplay between Johnson and Way from a free-kick produces a curling cross into the box, a scramble results and Giles on his knees in the six-yard box gets his head to the ball only to knock it across the goal. Bent, at the post, tries to play it back to Giles but it is gathered by the Portsmouth keeper.

Unbelievable: Final score: Yeovil 2 Portsmouth 1

For the first twenty minutes Portsmouth went off like a steam train – they looked a class above Yeovil. Pitt was tricky on their left wing, and Moore was imposing in defence. However, Yeovil worked hard during this period and ground Portsmouth down. The heat took its toll, and Yeovil proved they were better prepared. Still can’t understand why Portsmouth took on so little water. Crittenden in his uncomfortable left back position proved he is class anywhere on the pitch. His through ball to Way was sheer Beckham. Way’s finish was none the less supreme. Match of the Day has just missed Goal of the Season.

From there on in Portsmouth were always second best. Yeovil dominated the last minutes of the first half and all the second half. MacIndoe’s departure illustrated the benefits of an adaptable squad: Crittenden, having made the first goal from the left back position, relished going home to midfield, and was equally effective.

It was only right that Yeovil took the honours with their second goal – it was a joy to see one of the new boys hit the net.

Having beaten Portsmouth with fifteen minutes to go – Johnson, rightly, introduced the youngsters. Whereas Alford had battled hard all afternoon – and he must do that to get his fitness back – and that had taken their toll on the Portsmouth defence. With the introduction of the youngsters Portsmouth were twisted this way and that by their speed and ability.

Sheffield in goal for Yeovil looked collected and very sound throughout.

Apart from the first twenty minutes the back four looked in control. I thought O’Brien was outstanding: using all his talents to cope with both Crouch, who was about a foot taller, and Pitt, who was about 50 mph faster.

The midfield worked hard and chased for the first twenty minutes when they were up against it. Then controlled from there on. MacIndoe was again outstanding. As for the forwards, this was a different game then Peterborough. Opportunities were few and far between. Both strikers worked hard, Belgrave chasing back in defence on more than one occasion. Alford worked hard, but is still some way from being fully fit.

At the end of the day Yeovil coped better with the heat – and were probably fitter. The steam train that was Portsmouth to start with ran out of water. When do we cane a Premiership club? Roll on next Thursday.