Venue: York Street
Wed 23rd October 2002, 7.45pm kick-off.

Conditions: Cold, with unpredictable breeze
Pitch: Excellent

Nationwide Conference :
Boston (Cheats) United 4 – 2 Yeovil Town

Att: 1,323

Referee: Mr FG Stretton
Assistants: Mr P.Kirkup, Mr D. Whitestone
Fourth Official: Mr A. Clyde

Yeovil: Lockwood (90, unsporting behaviour) Red card: Johnson (90, foul and abusive language)
Boston: Greaves (35, dissent)

Line up : (3-4-1-2)

12. Jon Sheffield

2. Adam Lockwood

4. Terry Skiverton

14. Roy O’Brien

10. Nick Crittenden

6. Darren Way

8. Lee Johnson

11. Michael McIndoe

20. Gavin Williams

16. Andy Lindegaard

19. Abdoulai Demba

Substitutes: 1. Chris Weale, 9. Carl Alford (77, for O’Brien), 12. Chris Giles, 18. Kim Grant (64, for Demba), 23. Abdelhalim El Kholti (77, for Lindegaard)

Boston (Cheats) United: 1. Paul Bastock, 2. Mark Clifford, 3. Ben Chapman, 6. Mark Greaves, 12. Matthew Hocking, 27. Lee Thompson, 7. Tom Bennett, 28. Alex Higgins, 11. Mark Angel, 8. Tony Battersby, 10. Simon Weatherstone
Subs : 29. Nick Conroy, 26. Ray Warburton (90, for Greaves), 15. Neil Redfearn, 18. Anthony Elding (61, for Battersby), 14. James Gould

Scorers: Tony Battersby (59, 1-0), Lee Thompson (71, 2-0), Terry SKIVERTON (73, 2-1), Carl ALFORD (80, 2-2), Mark Angel pen (90, 3-2), Simon Weatherstone (90, 4-2)

This report courtesy of Chris Angulo:

After coming back from 2-0 down to level the scores late in the game, Yeovil fell to two 90th minute goals, the first of those a highly debatable penalty which ultimately led to a red card to Lee Johnson for foul and abusive language, as Boston (Cheats) United ran out 4-2 winners of the LDV tie at York Street.

Both teams fielded full-strength teams, with Gary Johnson opting to stick with Andy Lindegaard up front and Roy O’Brien on the left of defence. Terry Skiverton and Abdoulai Demba returned in place of the injured Colin Pluck and Howard Forinton respectively. In truth, it was a game played in second gear in front of a subdued and fairly poor turnout of 1,323, including 40-50 travelling Yeovil fans, until the final 20 minutes as Yeovil began to chase the game when Skiverton’s 73rd-minute headed goal handed them a lifeline. The 4-2 final scoreline wasn’t really a fair reflection in terms of excitement.

The first half was a scrappy affair, with neither team stamping any real authority on the match. Yeovil were attempting their usual flowing passing, but it wasn’t working, players were caught way out of position, and the final ball was often very poor. Cheats United for their part were content to play on the counter-attack, passing it amongst themselves well enough, and waiting for the opportunity to lump it up to Simon Weatherstone.

The 20 or so Cheats United fans who bothered to sing all night attempted to bait the travelling Yeovil contingent with imaginative chants like “Football League, la la la”, and, er “Football League, la la la.” This was met with chants of “Cheats, Cheats, Cheats” and “You’re going down with the Swansea”. Towards the end, the Cheats United fans managed “We only sing when we’re cheating” which pretty much summed up their attitude to the whole affair of illegally-gained promotion. Cheats United fans have hardly covered themselves in glory after the whole incident, choosing instead to believe that illegal payments could not have helped them secure the services of players who would otherwise be out of their grasp. They are enjoying their 12-month stay in the Football League, and the players seem to have adapted well to life in the Third Division, if their unadventurous, skill-free policy of hoofing the ball upfield to Simon Weatherstone is anything to go by. If there is any justice, their stay in the Third Division will be a short and painful one, although there is the possibility that there are two teams even worse than them in that division. The most disappointing aspect of the evening was probably the fact that Yeovil failed to assert their authority on such an unimaginative team. They frequently did not show the same pace or fluidity of passing that has often been the case in the Conference this season, the defending and passing were at times very sloppy. It was quite possibly the case that the team are less concerned with the LDV Trophy than they are with gaining promotion.

The first event of any note came in the 13th minute when a clearly offside Weatherstone outran O’Brien, and his 20-yard strike was touched onto the crossbar by Jon Sheffield. Yeovil were also creating a few chances: in the 17th minute Johnson released Demba, who was denied by a fine last ditch tackle. Andy Lindegaard had two chances in two minutes, as in the 20th Bastock made a good save at his feet and in the 21st, Way set him one on one with the keeper, the referee playing the advantage after a Cheats United handball, but he perhaps showed his lack of experience as a striker, and played his first touch far too near Bastock who again saved at his feet.

In the 22nd minute, Angel had a similar opportunity for Cheats United, but shot high and wide when one-on-one with Sheffield. In the 30th minute Lockwood stood off Thompson, whose soft shot did not trouble Sheffield. Two minutes later, an unmarked Weatherstone deflected a cross with his head, but again Sheffield was well placed to make a comfortable save. He was called into action again a few moments later, also from Weatherstone, but his hooked volley from a free kick was comfortably saved. Yeovil’s inability to close down or break up attacks was costing them possession but Cheats United were not doing a lot with it, showing no real creativity or imagination, happy instead to look for the long ball to Weatherstone, and their passing was often equally wayward.

In the 41st minute, Williams did well to beat two Cheats United defenders, but his cross / shot was easily saved by Bastock. Two minutes later, a Cheats United attack was broken up, Williams played an imperfect ball forward for Demba to chase, Demba did well to beat the defender to it, but his first touch took the ball straight to the keeper, which more or less summed up Yeovil’s half, and the game as a whole. As the referee blew for half time, Yeovil fans muttered amongst themselves about the possibility of extra time and the likelihood that one goal would settle the match.

Half Time, Cheats United 0, Yeovil Town 0

The second half continued in much the same way as the first left off, with a shot from Battersby hitting the press box behind the goal in the 48th minute. In the 53rd minute, Skiverton came close to breaking the deadlock for Yeovil as his header from a corner skimmed wide across the face of the goal. A minute later, a slide-rule pass from midfield by Gavin Williams just evaded Darren Way who was bearing down on the keeper.

Yeovil were noticeably lacking in width, as Crittenden and McIndoe were sitting very deep, McIndoe often acting as left back, but still Cheats United’s wide players were not closed down. Indeed it was from the Yeovil left that Cheats United’s first goal came in the 59th minute, and it was no real surprise when it arrived. McIndoe failed to make a tackle on the right wing, and O’Brien stood off Tony BATTERSBY, allowing the debutant as much time as he needed to head past Sheffield.

A minute later Demba had the chance to level with a free header from a corner, but his attempt was well off-target. Both sides then made changes as Demba made way for Kim Grant and Cheats United scorer Battersby was replaced by Anthony Elding.

Yeovil were showing a little more urgency, but they were still not able to produce the killer final ball, as McIndoe demonstrated in the 58th minute when he put an unchallenged cross into the arms of Bastock. Two minutes later and Cheats United were 2-0 up, this time Lee THOMPSON finding himself in acres of space after a poor clearance by McIndoe and his deflected shot beat Sheffield. A minute later it was almost three as O’Brien failed to deal with Elding, but the striker’s shot was placed well wide.

In the 73rd minute, Yeovil gave themselves a lifeline. A Lee Johnson shot was deflected for a corner, which McIndoe floated in deep to the back post. Terry SKIVERTON met it with less than his usual power, but still Bastock could not keep it out as it bobbled over the line. The tannoy gave the goal to Skiverton, then corrected it to Lockwood, but it didn’t appear Lockwood had got a touch, if he had it was already over the line.

Within a few moments, Gary Johnson played his final hand, as Alford and El Kholti came on for O’Brien and Lindegaard, and Yeovil effectively switched to two at the back in search of an equaliser. As soon as the 80th minute the gamble paid off, and Yeovil were level. Lee Johnson was given permission by the referee to take a quick free kick on the edge of the area as Cheats United were still organising their defence, Skiverton flicked it on and Carl ALFORD buried it at the far post. Having somewhat softly surrendered a two-goal lead, Cheats United woke up as both teams went in search of a winner. In the 81st minute, a near own-goal by McIndoe under pressure from a forward was well saved by Sheffield, and two minutes later Williams did well to beat two men and put Lee Johnson through, but Bastock cleared. In the 85th minute Williams was involved again, as he burst through and side-footed past Bastock, who just got a touch to it for a Yeovil corner. Kim Grant shot well wide when in space from the resultant corner.

In the 89th minute, the match turned in controversial and somewhat bewildering circumstances. Anthony Elding was well put through on goal but shot wide from the edge of the area under pressure from El Kholti. The referee however, had spotted an infringement, and having already played advantage in order for Elding to shoot, decided to award a baffling penalty for an incident which occurred outside of the area if it occurred at all. In the ensuing melee, Lee Johnson was shown the red card for foul and abusive language. It has since been reported that the remark made by Johnson was “that was a f***ing joke.” If every utterance of such language was responded to with a red card, there would be no players, management, or fans, inside any football ground in the country, in addition to which the comment would appear to have been accurate. Gary Johnson was furious with the referee, and Lee Johnson, a player who has come under fire in the past for his temperament but has curbed it well in often difficult situations this year, looked genuinely distraught as he trudged off the pitch in disbelief.

Mark ANGEL dispatched the penalty in decisive fashion, and the game was over as a contest. Cheats United brought Ray Warburton on for Mark Greaves, and Adam Lockwood was booked in injury time for a foul on the right wing, although the Cheats United player who had theatrically thrown himself to the ground soon got up once the card had been issued.

The final say went to Cheats United’s Simon WEATHERSTONE. A long crossfield ball found him in plenty of space and his first-time strike from 20 yards was enough to seal the game and give the scoreline a somewhat flattering look.

Final score: Boston (Cheats) United 4 Yeovil Town 2

Ultimately, few Yeovil fans will lose any sleep over being knocked out of the LDV Trophy, when we have much bigger fish to fry this season. However, the manner of the defeat, and even more so the opposition, were both very disappointing. Yeovil never really hit top gear, and in many ways it is disappointing to lose to such standard, predictable, unadventurous Third-Division fare such as Cheats United. How long they will remain Football League remains to be seen.

Chris Angulo

Internet Man of the Match Voting Result:

Player MOTM Score
Gavin Williams 2 400
Terry Skiverton 3 378
Darren Way 2 244
Adam Lockwood 1 200
Nick Crittenden 1 178

Overall match rating: 6 / 10
Performance: 5.5
Entertainment: 6.6

9 votes received.