Venue: Huish Park
Sat 16th November 2002, 3pm kick-off.

Conditions: Overcast and cool, but dry.
Ground: Near perfect: thinning in goalmouths.

FA Cup 1st Round :
Yeovil Town 0 – 2 Cheltenham Town

Att: 6,455

Referee: Mr P Rejer

Yeovil: None
Cheltenham: Brough (44, unsporting behaviour)

Line up : (3-5-2)

1. Chris Weale

14. Roy O’Brien

4. Terry Skiverton

5.Colin Pluck

16. Andy Lindegaard

10. Nick Crittenden

6. Darren Way

11. Michael McIndoe

24. Abdelhalim El Kholti

12. Chris Giles

23. Howard Forinton

Substitutes: 9. Carl Alford (66, for Forinton), 13. Jon Sheffield, 18. Kim Grant (57, for Pluck), 19. Abdoulai Demba (83, for Lindegaard), 21. Steve Thompson

Cheltenham Town:
1. Steve Book, 17. Neil Howarth, 5. John Brough, 6. Mike Duff, 3. Jamie Victory, 14. Hugh McAuley, 28. John Finnigan, 26. Richard Forsyth, 16. Martin Devaney, 9. Paul Brayson, 19. Julian Alsop
Subs : 2. Antony Griffin, 8. Mark Yates (85, for Brayson), 11. Russell Milton, 12. Shane Higgs, 18. Damian Spencer

Scorers: Julian Alsop (8, 0-1), Martin Devaney (64, 0-2)

This report courtesy of Noddy Elms:


Cheltenham Town visited Huish Park this afternoon and in front of a 6455 crowd put on a first half display from which Gary Johnson needs to learn a number of lessons. While Yeovil can take much credit from a spirited workmanlike display they just could not compete with the ability of their visitors. Too often Yeovil conceded possession and failed to capitalise when in good positions.

To overcome his selection problems, three suspensions and two long term injuries, Yeovil boss Gary Johnson was forced to switch to a 3-5-2 formation: O’Brien returned to defence, Crittenden and McIndoe made up a more contemporary midfield, Lindegaard and El Kholti were drafted onto each wing, Giles returned to the starting line-up to partner Forinton; Johnson was even forced to name evergreen Steve Thompson on the bench for his first appearance on the bench this season.

The opening minutes set the scene for most of the first half: Yeovil worked and Cheltenham played. Giles in particular put himself about, annoying his opposite number, and Way tirelessly scurried in midfield. Yeovil’s work rate had to be phenomenal just to compete, but this was no more than an irritation to the confident Cheltenham.

El Kholti was tasked with subduing the dangerous Devaney on the Cheltenham right ring. The Yeovil man, starting his first game for the Glovers, appeared at a loss in a defensive role and, despite his athletic physique, was often muscled off the ball by a determined Cheltenham attack.

It was perhaps no surprise that the first Cheltenham strike came down their right wing. After seven minutes Howarth got behind El Kholti and his low cross was side-footed home from close range by an inrushing Julian ALSOP. Yeovil 0 Cheltenham 1.

Throughout the first half Cheltenham played high up the park, the Yeovil attack were forced to attack from deep and were often undermanned when approaching the danger area. The Cheltenham defence looked comfortable throughout and linked well with a midfield that moved the ball efficiently with almost automated precision. Yeovil were often forced back. Pluck was forced to back-peddle on 17 minutes but Brayson’s shot drifted wide. Chris Weale was on his best form and took three dangerous Cheltenham crosses comfortably. In reply Lindegaard had no luck down the right wing until the 26th minute, linking with Crittenden they found Forinton on the edge of the Cheltenham box. But the Yeovil striker hesitated and failed to get a shot on goal. Three minutes later Giles made good progress but was unable to find McIndoe or Forinton in the box. On 35 minutes Yeovil had their best chance of the half: Pluck’s long ball from deep found Forinton who broke away from the half way line. But with only the keeper to beat delayed his strike too long, and the opportunity was lost. Before the half time whistle Crittenden had a couple of shots, the first just wide, the second well over. Yeovil were back in the match, but one sensed that Cheltenham were comfortable.

Half time: Yeovil Town 0 Cheltenham Town 1.

The second half started as the first had finished: McIndoe broke from deep, eventually feeding Lindegaard on the right wing. Lindy’s first-time cross found Forinton in the box. But Forinton’s header was weak and comfortably collected by Cheltenham’s Book. The tide had turned and it was Yeovil who were now first to the ball. The next goal would prove significant, Yeovil appeared favourites to score it.

But, if luck has anything to do with football, today Yeovil were out of it. In a match where I cannot remember a single fifty-fifty decision going in their favour, lady luck was to deal Yeovil another body blow. Crittenden won a corner on 52 minutes and as the cross was cleared from the penalty area Pluck lay in a pitiful heap in the goal area. It was soon apparent that the Yeovil defender would not continue. Kim Grant replaced him, Giles moving back into defence.

Cruelly, as El Kholti found his feet and began making a positive contribution, Cheltenham grabbed the deciding goal. After 63 minutes El Kholti broke down the left and fed McIndoe inside, the Scotsman found Forinton out on the right wing. But, Howie was having a nightmare, and lost the ball. Cheltenham swept across to their right wing, Martin DEVANY broke past the last line of Yeovil defence and, despite Weale’s valiant attempt, the Cheltenham winger’s shot squirmed over the goal line. Yeovil 0 Cheltenham 2.

Carl Alford immediately replaced Forinton.

Cheltenham were now supremely confident and for ten minutes ran Yeovil ragged. But, with the clock ticking down Yeovil began to throw everything forward. El Kholti surged down the left wing time and again: feeding Crittenden to cross for Alford, but the big man’s header fell behind the onrushing McIndoe. Cheltenham replied but Alsop’s shot was high. Demba replaced Lindegaard and was immediately in the action, shooting wide from eighteen yards from an Alford flick-on. In the five minutes of added time Yeovil continued to push forward and had two good chances: El Kholti smacked a twenty five yarder onto Book’s left hand post; Demba got on the end of Crittenden’s cross despite Skiverton being better positioned.

Final score: Yeovil Town 0 Cheltenham Town 2.

No giant killing for Yeovil this year. All the analysis will not change that. But to ensure Yeovil achieve their primary objective: League status, they must surely try to emulate elements of Cheltenham’s performance today. Yeovil must eliminate elements of their own play that is unacceptable. Cheltenham highlighted those elements today. That must be today’s prize.

Noddy Elms

Internet Man of the Match Voting Result:

Player MOTM Score
Michael McIndoe 31 825
Darren Way 4 365
Abdelhalim El Kholti 1 190
Andy Lindegaard 1 105
Chris Giles 1 80
Roy O’Brien 1 70
Chris Weale 1 55

Overall match rating: 5.75 / 10
Performance: 5.5
Entertainment: 6

40 votes received.