Venue: Deva Stadium
Sat 2nd November 2002, 3pm kick-off.

Conditions: Heavy rain, fairly windy
Pitch: Fair, but bare patches in goalmouths

Nationwide Conference :
Chester City 2 – 2 Yeovil Town

Att: 3,821

Referee: Mr M Atkinson. Assistants: Mr P Brabin, Mr C Grundy. Fourth Official: Mr C G Brown

Yeovil: Lockwood (31, dissent), Williams (78, foul)
Chester: Davies (42, foul), Sugden (57, foul), Blackburn (73, foul)

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

1. Chris Weale

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

19. Abdoulai Demba

23. Howard Forinton

Substitutes: 9. Carl Alford, 13. Jon Sheffield, 16. Andy Lindegaard (77, for Demba), 18. Kim Grant (76, for Forinton), 24. Abdelhalim El Kholti

Chester City: (4-4-2)
1 Wayne Brown
22 Lee Woodyatt, 25 Scott Guyett, 5 Phil Bolland, 17 Carl Ruffer
26 Jon Brady, 20 Ben Davies, 7 Chris Blackburn, 14 Paul Carden
27 Daryl Clare, 15 Ryan Sugden

Subs : 19. David Cameron, 12. Michael Brown (65, for Brady), 28. Chris Tate (78, for Sudgen), 9. Michael Twiss, 11. Steve Brodie

Scorers: Daryl Clare (23, 1-0), Nick CRITTENDEN (51, 1-1), Howard FORINTON (55, 1-2), Daryl Clare (90, 2-2)

This report courtesy of Robin Evans:

Once again the Glovers faced a “top of the table” clash against the side placed third in the Conference. Southport were in third place when they visited Huish Park in what was expected to be a close game, but ended as a landslide. Doncaster Rovers occupied third spot on their visit to the west country. The point they earned took them above Chester on goal difference, leaving the Deva side in third place for today’s meeting.

Yeovil started the game positively and earned a free kick as early as the second minute. Howard Forinton impressed particularly with many nice touches, including a good run in the eighth minute getting behind the Chester defence to push the ball across the six yard line. Clearly the visitors had no intention of holding back, and the home side obviously shared these intentions. Unusually, Chester appear to have named five outfield players on their bench with no substitute keeper.

Honours were fairly even in the opening spell, as both sides tried to attack. A long shot from Davies was blocked , but he fouled a Yeovil defender when going for the rebound. Daryl Clare, making his much publicised debut for Chester, had his first effort on ten minutes after turning on the edge of the Yeovil area. The shot was stopped by Chris Weale diving to his right.

Chester earned the first corner of the match after twelve minutes, and followed it with two more in fairly quick succession during a good spell for them. Chris Weale commanded his area comfortably, and came out to collect several early high balls; one slipped through his grasp, due to the wet conditions, but he quickly regathered. Roy O’Brien also impressed in the defence with both head and foot, and went on to have a very fine game.

After about a quarter of an hour the constant rain became considerably heavier. The wind had also picked up, and conditions were difficult for both sides although the wind favoured Chester.

Michael McIndoe made a good run before being challenged heavily by Guyett. The referee spoke to the defender at length, but no card was produced. The resulting free kick was taken by Lee Johnson, and Chester keeper Brown was forced to punch the curling ball away. Chester came back with Carden shooting over the bar, before Williams, Johnson, Forinton and Crittenden worked well on a Yeovil move which ultimately resulted in a goal kick for the home side.

McIndoe shot wide on the right hand upright for Yeovil, but Chester attacked and forced a throw in down toward the corner flag. Carden took the throw, and after play on the left hand side of the area the ball was pushed across to Daryl CLARE who had enough space to fire to the left of Chris Weale and give Chester the lead.

Yeovil pushed up in an effort to get back into the game with Howard Forinton playing in Nick Crittenden, whose long shot was wide. A foul by Clare on Lockwood gave a free kick producing a good move with Gavin Williams feeding Demba, but the home defence were equal to the task.

Chris Blackburn beat McIndoe in midfield and ran toward the Yeovil goal, but the Yeovil defence were able to block his effort.

Chester pressed forward and earned a throw deep in the Yeovil half. While the throw was waiting to be taken, the referee pulled Adam Lockwood aside and produced a yellow card – presumably for something he had said. This will prove costly as with four bookings already this season a one match suspension will mean he misses the FA Cup tie against Cheltenham.

Although the latter part of the first half favoured the home side Yeovil still had their moments, with Nick Crittenden in particular making one excellent run, and Williams and McIndoe also looking sharp. At the other end the Yeovil defence coped with the difficult conditions with Weale and O’Brien outstanding.

In the 37th minute Daryl Clare stepped up to take a free kick a little way outside of the Yeovil penalty area. His shot gave Weale no chance and thundered against the crossbar, before bouncing back into play giving the Glovers defence some shaky moments.

Gavin Williams was beginning to find some room to play in midfield, and was brought down heavily twice in the last few minutes of the first period. On 42 minutes Ben Davies was the culprit and was booked. During the two minutes of stoppage time Ruffer was the offender but no caution was given.

The first half had been fairly even, but perhaps shaded by Chester City.

Half time: Chester City 1 Yeovil Town 0

When the teams came out for the second half many of the players had changed into clean shirts, but Chris Weale was wearing a red jersey to replace the yellow one worn in the first 45 minutes.

Reminiscent of the cup tie at Bath, the wind had dropped considerably over the interval thus reducing the advantage which we had hoped for. Nevertheless, Yeovil started the second period far more positively than the home team, and in the 51st minute a McIndoe throw from near the corner flag was pushed across the area by Forinton. The Chester defenders seemed to scramble for the ball but failed to clear and the ball ran loose for Nick CRITTENDEN to slot into the net. A scrappy goal, but Yeovil were now flying.

Just a minute or so after the goal there were loud appeals as Gavin Williams went down in the penalty area, but the referee waved away the claim. Yeovil continued to press and resulted in a goal which defied the scrappiness of the equaliser by oozing class.

Nick Crittenden broke down the right wing and passed to Demba. He controlled well and played the ball to Howard FORINTON, who turned at the edge of the area and blasted his shot past keeper Brown in a move which would have graced any premiership match.

With Yeovil now clearly on top Ryan Sugden earned a booking for clattering Adam Lockwood just a minute after his side fell behind. The visitors continued to press with a Crittenden cross being touched by Demba but held by keeper Wayne Brown. Chester did not give up, and a Brady cross was headed wide by Carden.

Darren Way almost settled matters just after the hour mark when he broke away and unleashed a fine shot which Brown did well to tip over the bar for a corner. Way had played well throughout the match, but as Chester tried to advance in looking for an equaliser he found more space and on several occasions made attacking runs deep into the opponent’s half.

Mark Wright made a change as Mike Brown came on to replace Jon Brady. Brady had been a member of the Woking side destroyed at Huish Park in front of the Sky cameras in September, and had in my opinion been the best player in the Woking side that night. Any pleasure at seeing him withdrawn was short lived however, as Brown hassled and probed the Yeovil defence for the remainder of the game and was possibly the best player on the field for the final 25 minutes.

Yeovil pressed on and Williams had a couple of good efforts held or blocked. Mike Brown had a good effort blocked by a packed away defence just after 70 minutes.

Darren Way was fouled by Blackburn, who was booked for the challenge, and then went on to see a good long shot go to the right of the Chester goal with a quarter of an hour remaining.

Kim Grant and Andy Lindegaard were introduced to replace front men Forinton and Demba. Gavin Williams received a yellow card for a foul, and like Lockwood now faces a one match ban for the Cheltenham game.

In the final substitution of the match Chester brought on Chris Tate instead of Ryan Sugden for the last 13 minutes plus stoppage time.

The final period of the game saw extensive Yeovil pressure including a McIndoe free kick when Lindegaard was brought down, and a fine Lindegaard cross virtually cleared off the line by the Chester defence.

In the 89th minute passes from Lee Johnson to Andy Lindegaard to Kim Grant allowed Kim, who had impressed since being brought on, to run at the Chester goal and his shot went over the bar.

Then in the final minute of normal time a long ball over the Yeovil defence caught them on the back foot, and Daryl CLARE stole the half a yard he needed to outrun them and slot the ball past the approaching Chris Weale. The second half had been almost all Yeovil and one moment of opportunism gave Chester a share of the spoils.

Final score: Chester City 2 Yeovil Town 2

I’m sure that when leaving the ground this seemed like two points lost to both the players and fans. However, but for the width of the crossbar it could easily have been a 0 – 2 deficit at half time, and I think most of us would have happily taken a draw at the interval. The Glovers can also take pride in the quality of their performance in the second half, which would have produced a hatful of goals against all but the top few Conference sides.

The unbeaten run stretches to 15 league games, Yeovil sit proudly on top of the Conference, and with 25 games still to go and this difficult away game out of the way we have much to be happy about.

Robin Evans

Internet Man of the Match Voting Result:

Player MOTM Score
Darren Way 13 629
Roy O’Brien 11 451
Howard Forinton 3 194
Gavin Williams 4 160
Michael McIndoe 2 97
Nick Crittenden 97
Chris Weale 2 86

Overall match rating: 7.6 / 10
Performance: 7.4
Entertainment: 7.8

35 votes received.