Venue: Huish Park
Tuesday 11th March 2003, 7.45pm kick-off.
Conditions: Fresh and still, but dry.
Ground: Perfect with bare areas in goalmouths
Nationwide Conference :
Yeovil Town 3 Leigh RMI 1
Referee: Mr K Stroud (Dorset)
Leigh: Campbell (45, dissent), Maden (68, foul)
Line up : (3-4-1-2)
1. Chris Weale
2. Adam Lockwood
4. Terry Skiverton
5. Colin Pluck
24. Abdelhalim El Kholti
6. Darren Way
8. Lee Johnson
11. Michael McIndoe
20. Gavin Williams
25. Kirk Jackson
9. Kevin Gall
Substitutes: 10. Nick Crittenden (88, for Jackson) 14. Roy O’Brien (88, for Lockwood), 16. Andy Lindegaard (66, for Williams), 22. Steven Collis, 26. Neil Mustoe
Leigh: (3-5-2) 1. Stuart Coburn
4. Neil Durkin, 17. Martin Lancaster, 6. Neil Fitzhenry
7. Ian Monk, 5. Wayne Maden, 34. Mark Ford, 15. Phillip Salt, 3. Paul Williams
16. Keith Scott, 9. Neil Campbell
Subs : 21. Ged Courtney (83, for Scott) 2. Gerry Harrison (89, for Williams) 18. Gavin Bates 33. Stuart Whittaker 14. Andy Heald (33, for Monk)
Scorers: Kirk JACKSON (19 mins, 1-0), (21 mins, 2-0), Kevin GALL (36, 3-0), Keith Scott (41, 3-1)
This report courtesy of Noddy Elms:
Tonight’s game between Yeovil Town and Leigh R. M. I. will never be remembered for its excitement but it was another important step as Yeovil head for the dizzy heights of League status. In front of yet another massive Conference crowd of 5330, comprising of about twenty Leigh supporters, Yeovil dominated a first half and put the result beyond doubt before half time. Two goals by Kirk Jackson within two minutes and one goal by strike-partner Kevin Gall in the 35th minute totally demoralised a poor Leigh side. The only two surprises were that Leigh managed to pull a goal back before halftime, and that Yeovil failed to increase the score line after the break.
The game had been delayed for fifteen minutes as the season ticket holder’s had inexplicably insisted on entering the same turnstile, while other entrances remained unused. The delay seemed to subdue the expectant home support but the Yeovil faithful had little to worry about as a composed and patient home performance stroked the ball against little competition. An inept Leigh performance failed to inject the slightest semblance of spirit or fight from what appears to be a side accepting an inevitable drop through the Conference trap door.
Yeovil had dominated the opening spell as both Abdelhalim El Kholti and Gavin Williams forced themselves down each flank. Jackson had the first good chance with two consecutive shots from a Johnson corner as the Leigh defence tried to clear, Jackson’s final strike flew wide.
Gall’s speed was becoming a threat to the Leigh defence, but it was a good build-up after 11 minutes that gave Gall his first chance. Skiverton was enjoying much freedom at the back and he was involved in beginning many Yeovil’s attacks through the night. Gavin Williams collected Skivo’s long ball and found Jackson with his cross, Jackson nodded down to Gall but his overhead kick trickled wide of the Leigh post.
Leigh won their first corner after 12 minutes but from the clearance Yeovil put together one of the best moves of the evening. Jackson headed on a clearance and Gall fed Johnson on the edge of the Leigh box. Johnson, unselfishly, found McIndoe clear on his left but Macca’s shot struck Coburn. The ball fell to Johnson but he too could only hit Coburn. The ball spun away to McIndoe who hit the back of the net from a tight angle, but he had strayed offside and the ‘goal’ was ruled out.
But eventually Yeovil’s patience was rewarded on 19 minutes. Gavin Williams drifting in from the right fed Kirk JACKSON in the box, Yeovil’s top-scorer made no mistake with his right foot from twelve yards. Yeovil 1 Leigh 0.
Two minutes later it was Jackson again. This time a superb Skiverton ball found Darren Way overlapping down the left wing. Cutting back onto his right foot Way sent in a perfect cross and JACKSON seemed to have all the time in the world to rise and head powerfully inside Coburn’s left hand post. Yeovil 2 Leigh 0.
Yeovil, now supremely confident, continued to stroke the ball around as if in a training session. Leigh put up little resistance and it was only Yeovil’s unhurried approach that ensured the Yeovil crowd had to wait until the 35th minute for the next goal. Yeovil worked the ball into the heart of the Leigh box but looked to have overdone it. The Leigh defence made a mess of the clearance and Kevin GALL snapped up the loose ball, danced past two defenders and slid the ball past the stranded Coburn. Yeovil 3 Leigh 0.
Having enjoyed such dominance it was somewhat of a surprise when Leigh woke up and conjured up a low hard shot. Weale at full stretch could only push the ball away, Keith SCOTT was there to stab the ball home and remind Yeovil that the game was not over. But time showed that it was. Yeovil 3 Leigh 1. That spurred Yeovil on and El Kholti was unlucky with a powerful volley that flashed inches over the Leigh bar. Gavin Williams flashed a shot past the Leigh post before half time but Leigh hung on.
Half Time: Yeovil Town 3 Leigh RMI 1
Surely the second half could produce only two outcomes: either Yeovil would raise their game and inflict further damage on a poor Leigh side, or the visitors would come out for the second half, spurred on by their late goal and try to get back into the game. Neither was the actual outcome. Yeovil seemed content with their three points and Leigh seemed content to win free kicks near the Yeovil box, although their free kicks were as equally appalling as the rest of their play.
Yeovil could have added further goals but in maintaining their level of effort were not good enough to breach Coburn’s goal again. Both Gall and McIndoe collected one-twos in the box but their final shots were hurried and off-target.
Lindegaard replaced Gavin Williams as Yeovil switched back to a 4-4-2. Lindy’s speed beat Maden and the Leigh man entered Mr Stroud’s book. From the free kick Johnson sent in a powerful rising shot, but Coburn collected comfortably.
As the clock struck 75 minutes Yeovil seemed to “up” the pace. El Kholti played in Jackson and Gall to set Way free in the box, but Darren’s final strike crept inches past the wrong side of the post. Through a period of prolonged pressure Gall, Way, Lindegaard and Lockwood all had powerful shots that only came close. Johnson then collected Gall’s pass in the box and seemed destined to add to the Yeovil score, but the Yeovil man failed to hit the target.
With less than 10 minutes left Leigh’s Courtney replaced Scott. Crittenden and O’Brien replaced Lockwood and Jackson for Yeovil: Critts taking up his right wing position to generous applause, Lindegaard moved up front. Harrison then replaced Paul Williams in the Leigh defence.
In the end both teams achieved their half time objectives: Leigh, perhaps believing they were never going to take anything from this fixture, did no further damage to their goal difference; and Yeovil, took no further risks and ensured an important three points.
Final Score: Yeovil Town 3 Leigh RMI 1.
A word of praise for the man in black, Mr Stroud: he either had a very easy job, or made the job look easy. Well done either way.
Internet Man of the Match Voting Result:
Overall match rating: 7.88 / 10
41 votes received.