Venue: The Avenue, Dorchester Town FC
Sat 20th September 2002, 3pm kick-off.

Conditions: Overcast but bright.
Ground: Lush, but bare in goalmouths.

Nationwide Conference :
Yeovil Town 3 – 0 Halifax Town

Att: 2,126

Referee: Mr M Russell

Yeovil: Pluck, (33, unsporting behaviour). Red Card: Demba (70, violent conduct), Skiverton (71, violent conduct)
Halifax: Parke (34, dissent), Garnett (40, unsporting behaviour), Kerrigan (71, dissent), Elliott (74, unsporting behaviour). Red card: Butler (68, professional foul)

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

13. Jon Sheffield

2. Adam Lockwood

4. Terry Skiverton

5. Colin Pluck

10. Nick Crittenden

6. Darren Way

8. Lee Johnson

11. Michael McIndoe

20. Gavin Williams

23. Howard Forinton

19. Abdoulai Demba

Substitutes: Luke Buckingham, 9. Carl Alford, 14. Roy O’Brien (79, for Forinton), 15. Steve Reed, 16. Andy Lindegaard

Halifax: (3-4-1-2) Butler, Asher, Grayston, Stoneman, Garnett, Elliott, Clarkson, Mallon, Quailey, Quinn, Parke.
Subs : Morgan, Midgley (62, for Clarkson), Kerrigan (46, for Quinn), Fitzpatrick (46, for Parke), Haigh

Scorers: Nick CRITTENDEN (41, pen, 1-0), Gavin WILLIAMS (42, 2-0), Nick CRITTENDEN (73, pen, 3-0)

This report courtesy of Noddy Elms:

Yeovil will celebrate taking full points from Halifax today, but celebrations will be muted pending Mr Russell’s video review of the disgraceful events that erupted on 65 minutes. Yeovil entered the game suffering a keeper crisis: Weale and Collis both serving suspensions. The Yeovil bench looking decidedly underage: Youth players Buckingham and Reed filling two spots. However, Yeovil opened the second half with a 2-0 lead when Yeovil won the game’s second penalty. Halifax keeper Butler was the culprit and duly given his marching orders, a carbon copy of Chris Weale’s dismissal two weeks earlier. However, whereas Weale’s exit was dignified Butler incited what can only be described as a free for all.

In a shameful performance Butler arrogantly confronted Mr Russell, petulantly throwing his gloves to the ground, then his shirt in Demba’s face. Half the players on the pitch became embroiled in the fracas as either antagonist or mediator. In the melee it appeared as if the Yeovil captain threw a punch, but there was so much going on it was difficult to focus on one individual. As it was, Mr Russell singled out Demba and Skiverton: the former must be the subject of Mr Russell’s video review and a reversal of his decision. Skiverton may not be so lucky. If Butler’s intention was to incite trouble for fellow professionals he succeeded, but must be subject to extreme punishment.

Five minutes after the incident began Nick Crittenden strolled up to the penalty spot and fired his second goal past Halifax’s makeshift keeper to put Yeovil in an unassailable 3-0 lead.

In contrast to previous matches at The Avenue, and the imminent second half, today’s first half was unusually subdued. Both teams spent the first few minutes playing cat and mouse, probing to discover any weaknesses in their opponents armour. The first penalty area action fell to Halifax’s Quailey, but his hook shot crossed the face of Sheffield’s goal with little danger. The best chance of the opening minutes fell to Demba inside the Halifax penalty area, latching on to William’s excellent through-ball he kept his shot low when, perhaps, a chip would have been better, Butler successfully blocked. Six minutes later it was again Demba whose glancing header drifted past the far post after an excellent cross by Forinton on the left-hand goal line.

At the other Colin Pluck was on hand to cover when Quailey got the better of Skiverton. Halifax’s Parke and Yeovil’s Pluck maintained an endless confrontation, Mr Russell adjudged both men guilty at times and both eventually ended up in his book.

Around the twenty-minute mark Halifax enjoyed a continued period of pressure, but Sheffield was rarely troubled. It comes as no surprise that Halifax have a low goal scoring record this season. Their strikers were forced to operate from deep and were often poorly supported from midfield. In general the Yeovil defence were in control, rarely did the Halifax attack get the better of Messrs Lockwood, Skiverton and Pluck. Only rarely was Sheffield allowed the opportunity to suggest he would be invincible if called upon.

Yeovil were frequently breaking powerfully down the left wing through McIndoe: the Scotsman linked with Lee Johnson to set up a good shooting opportunity for Darren Way, but Butler held his shot well. McIndoe and Williams produced a dangerous cross, but again the Halifax keeper collected well under pressure. The umpteenth left wing attack eventually produced the opening goal after 42 minutes. Although Yeovil would argue they had been on the wrong end of some of Mr Russell’s decisions, the penalty awarded when Demba fell over in the Halifax box was, let’s say, generous. Not surprisingly Halifax protested but this only resulted in Bennett finding his name in Mr Russell’s book. Nick Crittenden smashed his penalty down the middle to open the scoring: Yeovil 1 Halifax 0.

Within two minutes Yeovil doubled their lead. If the first was fortuitous, the second was fantastic. Breaking up a Halifax attack Lockwood set Crittenden down the right wing. Crittenden found Gavin Williams outside the Halifax box. The Halifax defence, still groggy, left Williams plenty of time to pick his spot. From twenty-five yards his left footed shot curled onto the inside of the Butler’s right hand post and nestled into the back of Butler’s goal: Yeovil 2 Halifax 0.

Despite only one minute of added time there were further goal-mouth opportunities for both teams: Forinton’s shot should have been on target, Sheffield collecting Stoneman’s shot comfortably.

Half Time: Yeovil Town 2 Halifax 0.

At the beginning of the second half Halifax replaced Quinn and Parke with Kerrigan and Fitzpatrick, but Yeovil opened brighter, and were the first to threaten: Forinton heading over to conclude a Johnson free kick. At the other end Skiverton hacked the ball away after a rare Pluck error. Lockwood then skied the ball into the Halifax box and surprisingly Demba managed to beat Butler to the dropping ball, but unfortunately his header drifted wide of the post.

The Yeovil back three appeared in complete control. Just when it appeared that Halifax would make no further progress Sheffield was called upon to save low down at his right hand post, Quailey getting in front of the Yeovil defenders to deflect a cross goal-wards.

No sooner had Halifax made their third substitution: Midgley for Clarkson, when Butler was sent off and Halifax trailed 3-0. When the game restarted McIndoe was on the receiving end of an Elliott challenge that earned the Halifax player a yellow card.

With the Yeovil defence one short, Crittenden and MacIndoe dropped deeper to form a back four. Forinton had exhibited tiredness and was shortly to be substituted by O’Brien when Williams moved up front.

With both teams under par The Avenue became a big pitch and the game swung from end to end. Both sides created opportunities but Yeovil continued to control the game. Kerrigan, the Halifax substitute, had more than one half chance: heading over the Yeovil bar, forcing Pluck to block his shot in the six yard box, and, the best of all, heading over with Sheffield struggling to cut out a back post cross. Despite three, five, no five, or was it three minutes, of added time no further goals materialised.

Final Score: Yeovil Town 3 Halifax Town 0.

Football today challenges players on a number of levels: physical as well as mental. Regardless of the level of intimidation players must remain in control. That applies to Yeovil players as well as Halifax players. Away from the heat of battle one or two players may accept they lost control. They, and their team will eventually pay the price for that loss of control. Those players that did not lose control should not pay the price. I am sure Mr Russell will ensure that is the case.

Noddy Elms

Internet Man of the Match Result:

Player MOTM Score
Gavin Williams 16 551
Colin Pluck 6 239
Michael McIndoe 4 195
Abdoulai Demba 3 171
Darren Way 4 156
Nick Crittenden 2 151
Lee Johnson 4 127
Terry Skiverton 1 98
Howard Forinton 1 39

Overall match rating: 8.4/10
Performance: 8.1
Entertainment: 8.7

41 votes received.