Venue: Huish Park
Saturday 15th Feb 2003, 3.00pm kick-off.

Conditions: Dry following a sharp morning frost.
Ground: Mixed although on the whole in reasonable condition

Nationwide Conference :
Farnborough Town 2 Yeovil Town 4

Att: 2,114

Referee: Mr G.Lewis (Cambridge)

Yeovil: Darren Way (48 mins, foul), Abdelhalim El Kholti (58 mins, foul)
Farnborough: Rocky Baptiste (15 mins, dissent), Stuart Reeks (48 mins, foul), Gary Patterson (67 mins, foul).

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

1. Chris Weale

2. Adam Lockwood

4. Terry Skiverton

14. Roy O’Brien

24. Abdelhalim El Kholti

6. Darren Way

8. Lee Johnson

11. Michael McIndoe

20. Gavin Williams

25. Kirk Jackson

16. Andy Lindegaard

Substitutes: 9. Kevin Gall (58 mins for Lindegaard) 18. Kim Grant 22. Steven Collis (GK) 23. Neil Mustoe (89 mins for Way) 26. Jimmy Aggrey (88 mins for O’Brien)

Farnborough: 1. Tony Pennock 27. Stuart Reeks 17. Gary Patterson 24. Darren Annon 11. Tony Taggart 15. Dean Green 8. Lenny Piper 7. Geoff Pitcher 19. Gary Butterworth 18. Ken Charlery 22. Rocky Baptiste
Subs : 13. Mark Osborn (GK) 28. Ronnie Girvan 9. Joff Vansittart (49 mins for Green) 12. Danny Potter (81 mins for Baptiste) 29. Paul Harkness (81 mins for Piper) .

Scorers: Lee Johnson (0-1, 14 mins), Gary Butterworth (1-1, 29 mins), Michael McIndoe (1-2 pen, 65 mins), Kirk Jackson (1-3, 74 mins), Kirk Jackson (1-4, 90 mins), Joff Vansittart (2-4, 90 mins).

One of the real tests of a title-chasing side, is how they perform when events swing for them or against them on a given weekend. Last weekend saw Yeovil open up a nine point gap at the top, but could they keep that momentum going, or would a touch of complacency kick them back to square one again?

Gary Johnson made one forced change to the side that had thrashed Kettering 4-0 the previous weekend, with the suspended Colin Pluck being replaced by the ever-reliable Roy O’Brien. Recent signings Kevin Gall and Neil Mustoe had to sit patient and wait their turn, with both being kept on the bench.

It was a scrappy start, with neither side really getting their foot on the ball and it didn’t take Gary Johnson long to get itchy feet. A Rocky Baptiste cross had been met by Ken Charlery, and the experienced striker forced Chris Weale into a double-save, as Boro got in behind the Yeovil defence. Johnson’s reaction was to immediately drop the 3-4-1-2 formation and shuffle around Abdelhalim El Kholti and Gavin Williams to revert to a 4-4-2 formation, in an attempt to firm things up a little.

That change seemed to pay instant dividends when Farnborough failed to pick up Gavin Williams on the edge of the penalty area. Sensing danger, the Boro defence lost their shape, and a loose ball fell to Lee JOHNSON, who drilled the ball low into the corner of the net from 12 yards out. Yeovil’s first real chance of the game, but they had made it count with just 14 minutes on the clock.

Johnson Jnr’s tail was most certainly up, and he seemed to be at the centre of nearly every Yeovil move thereafter, with quick passing between himself and Williams nearly setting up a second for his Welsh team-mate, but Williams stabbed the ball wide. Johnson himself tried a long-ranger that went just wide, whilst Tony Pennock did well to smother a Kirk Jackson attempt from a corner.

But it was Farnborough who drew the next blood. The Yeovil defence were perhaps guilty of allowing Gary BUTTERWORTH a little too much room when advancing from around 25 yards out, and the former Rushden skipper unleashed a real screamer, that perhaps took a slight deflection and gave Chris Weale no chance. The home side sensed that they stood a real chance, and Lenny Piper and Rocky Baptiste did their best to try and emphasise that point. But the half ended with neither side really imposing themselves, and both keepers were as a result left fairly unoccupied.

Half Time: Farnborough Town 1 Yeovil Town 1

Despite Farnborough opening up with the first chance of the second period – a Baptiste attempt on the angle that Weale saved comfortably – it was the Glovers who just about edged things as the second half started. Lee Johnson was in on the act with another long-range drive, and he was joined by attempts from Michael McIndoe and Darren Way.

On-loan Woking defender Stuart Reeks got involved with two niggly looking incidents close to the touch-line. First he tangled with Darren Way, resulting in both players getting booked. Minutes later he landed Abdelhalim El Kholti in the book although quite what the left-back had done was not clear.

If that and several other referring decisions made by Mr Lewis were baffling and irritating at times, then his linesman seemed to be engaged in some oneupmanship. Shortly after Kevin Gall replaced Andy Lindegaard, Kirk Jackson got the ball in the penalty area, and attempted to cut towards goal. Darren Annon seemed to have it covered with a comfortable sliding tackle, but inexplicably, the main stand linesman flagged for a penalty and despite three minutes worth of protests from irate Boro players and lengthy consultations between the linesman and the referee, the kick was awarded, and Michael McINDOE cooly slotted home to put Yeovil 2-1 up.

Farnborough looked distraught, and they seemed to lose their composure badly, with supporters and players remonstrating alternately with linesman and referee instead of getting back into the game. It was therefore little surprise when nine minutes later, Yeovil extended their lead. Fortunately, this one was a very classy move, as Kevin Gall picked the ball up on the halfway line and threaded his striking partner Kirk JACKSON with great precision. Jackson ran through, Tony Pennock parried his first attempt, but Jackson was able to slot the rebound into an empty net.

Thereafter Yeovil relaxed and finally played the kind of football they had been unable to produce in the first half. The lead was extended further when Kirk JACKSON grabbed his second of the afternoon and his ninth strike in 12 games for the Glovers. He slotted home from close range after he had been fed by Michael McIndoe to put Yeovil into a commanding 4-1 lead just on the 90 minute mark.

Farnborough got a bit of pride back when Joff VANSITTART headed home a Geoff Pitcher cross, with some slightly slack marking in the Yeovil back line, but Yeovil’s 1,200 or so travelling supporters didn’t care too much, particularly with news of a 90th minute equaliser at Morecambe seeing second placed Chester City dropping two points in the title race. That meant Yeovil’s lead at the top extended to form an eleven point gap that will leave the quartet of chasing clubs really needing to pull out the stops to claw back an increasing advantage for Gary Johnson’s men.

Final Score: Farnborough Town 2 Yeovil Town 4

A second view on the game comes from Jeremy Gear:

Macca buries a ghost!

15 minutes into the second half, As soon as the linesman held the flag against his chest indicating a penalty, Michael McIndoe clasped the ball tightly against his and was fully intent, Stuart Pearce like, on burying his own Bristol Rovers Ghost from a couple of seasons ago. It was a hotly disputed penalty on Farnborough’s behalf, and the large, but strangely subdued Yeovil following did not, like many Yeovil players vigorously appeal. Tony Pennock, hugely respected by the travelling fans was furious, whilst he charged towards the officials touchline, Darren Way and Lee Johnson appeared to talk Macca out of taking the spot kick, like so many around me they seemed to have little confidence in his ability to score. I’m sure, that even by his own admission, McIndoe will agree his finishing has been woeful of late, but spurred on by his cool finish against Kettering last week Macca was never going to concede. How little faith, hard and low, despatched with aplomb to Pennocks right, this surely was another nail firmly driven into Yeovil’s conference days coffin!

How different it could have been, the game should have been put beyond all doubt in the first 25 minutes of the game, Following Lee Johnson‘s superb, low strike from the edge of the box early in the first half it was the same old Yeovil who created many good scoring opportunities by carving out chances with neat approach play, even if not as fluent as weeks gone by. Gary Johnson would surely have made this point crystal clear at half time as on the half hour, Boro’s Gary Butterworth collected the ball, ran through the Glovers midfield with ease, and unleashed an unstoppable shot from distance which gave Chris Weale in goal no chance! A goal not to dissimilar to that of Doncaster’s at Huish Park earlier in the season.

During the half time interval, 4 of the 5 Yeovil substitutes warmed up, Kevin Gall, the Welsh Under 20’s international remained in the dressing room. It was therefore a surprise to see him on the bench still for the resumption of the game. Many thought he would start from the offset here, but the manager has showed tremendous faith in the Lindegaard and Jackson pairing, and lets be honest, its born fruit. It was however, no surprise that on 60 minutes, like last week, Gall replaced Lindegaard, who for all his terrific effort, is not a natural centre forward … yet!

Within moments of entering, Galls speed took him into the box, this gave Macca that moment! After what seemed an age, the referee, who had a poor game, eventually pointed to the spot, cue the courageous Scot!

Farnborough still offered plenty, Rocky Baptiste the main playmaker looked dangerous, but in truth, an unsettled and new Boro side rarely threatened to get much else from this game. Yeovil were never really tested to the full but needed to take their chances. This they did when on 74 minutes Kirk Jackson rounded Pennock and slotted the ball coolly into the corner of the net. Never going to be beaten now, the Yeovil fans burst into full song en-masse. It was unusual to see a large away crowd so quiet for once, nerves maybe, but the uninspiring Cherrywood Road surroundings must take the most of the blame, as has been said before, there is more atmosphere on the moon!

Not wishing to criticise, I for one would like to see Macca create more from the left flank, sometimes, in my opinion he does overcomplicate matters when the simplest of things is possible. In the 90th Minute he did the simple and most effective thing, the game was settled when Kirk Jackson flicked in McIndoe’s low cross from a fine run on the left. I reckon we’ll see a different Macca from now until the end of the season, the one that was linked with Southampton … stay away Strachan!

Two sour notes to end on, another sloppy goal conceded at the death, when Jimmy Aggrey, only just on as a replacement for Roy O’Brien, should have done better than allow Joff Vannistart to head home making the final score 4-2. And that man Patterson’s disgraceful challenge on Darren Way late in the second half. It was worse that Kettering’s Mckenzie’s challenge on Jackson last week. Patterson should have walked in my opinion, we were glad when Darren got up and did just that, for a moment it looked like he may have been cruelly injured … by that man again!

Yeovil did the business again today, not a stunning performance, but to score Four away from home, against a dogged side, on a flat but sticky toffee pudding pitch is all that we can ask, I think the fat lady may just be thinking about popping down the shops to buy some strepsils, maybe, just maybe she ought to consider clearing her throat!

Internet Man of the Match Voting Result:

Player MOTM Score
Lee Johnson 29 658
Darren Way 10 142
Kirk Jackson 6 323
Gavin Williams 4 150
Abdehalim El Kholti 2 96
Roy O’Brien 31
Terry Skiverton 27
Adam Lockwood 1 19

Overall match rating: 6.8 / 10
Performance: 6.6
Entertainment: 7

52 votes received.