Venue: Whaddon Road
Sat 4th October 2003, 3pm kick-off.

Conditions: Cool, breezy
Ground: Cutting up

Scorers: Martin Devaney (4, 1-0), Mark Yates (15, 2-0), Kevin Gall (40, 2-1), Paul Brayson (46, 3-1)

Attendance: 4,960 – including approx 1,500 Glovers

Referee: Andre Marriner (West Midlands)
Assistant Refs: Phil Gibbs (West Midlands); Richard Smith (West Midlands)

Yeovil: Rodrigues (24, foul), El Kholti (45, foul)
Cheltenham: Yates (51, diving)

Yeovil Town : (4-4-2)
1. Chris Weale
2. Adam Lockwood 12. Hugo Rodrigues 14. Roy O’Brien 11. Ronnie Bull
20. Gavin Williams 8. Lee Johnson 6. Darren Way 3. Abdelhalim El Kholti
9. Kevin Gall 18. Kirk Jackson

Subs: 7. Adam Stansfield 13. Steven Collis 17. Jake Edwards (46, for Jackson) 23. Jamie Gosling (59, for Bull) 24. Paul Terry (28, for Rodrigues)

Cheltenham Town:
12. Shane Higgs 14. David Bird 27. Darren Jones 24. Kevin Amankwaah 3. Jamie Victory 16. Martin Devaney 8. Mark Yates 4. Richard Forsyth 11. Grant McCann 22. Graham Fyfe 26. Bob Taylor

Subs: 1. Steve Book 7. Lee Howells (79, for Fyfe) 9. Paul Brayson (45, for McCann) 20. Luke Buttery 21. Ben Cleverley

Jeremy Gear’s View Of The Game : Yeovil Not at the Races

Cheltenham, home of national hunt racing, always on show the best thoroughbreds, today on the lush green turf down at Whaddon Road, the lesser known of the towns two sporting venues were two teams resembling something more like cart horses!

This has to go down as one of the seasons worst performances, against one of the worst sides Yeovil have played to date in division 3. That said whatever the Robins lacked in footballing ability today they more than made up for it in spirit. Boss Bobby Gould’s programmes notes called for his players to “love it, and rather than panic be inspired” all this after the dreaded vote of confidence from his Chairman. Yeovil’s gaffer on the other hand and in stark contrast had just won his the clubs first honour of this season after securing September’s manager of the month award.

The defining moments of this game came in the first few minutes of each half. The killer blow coming in the 1st minute of the second, when Brayson, on as a second half substitute scored with his first touch following a powerful run down the left from Jamie Victory, making it 3-1 to the hosts, and that was the way it stayed.

After only 4 minutes of the first period Cheltenham scored the first goal of the afternoon when the Yeovil defence, so solid of late allowed a long ball to bounce and Martin DEVANEY punished that hesitancy with a low shot low down into the bottom left hand corner. 10 or so minutes later their lead was doubled, when Mark YATES and Adam Lockwood challenged on the near post following a whipped in cross, the ball appeared to come off Lockwood and Weale scrambled into action but could only help the ball into the net. The goal was accredited toYates.

Yeovil then came close to reducing the deficit when in the 17th minute Jackson was deemed to be offside when the travelling 1500 or so fans thought he had scored a perfectly good goal. Seconds later, Lee Johnson with a trade mark quick free kick, dinked the ball into the box and Gavin Williams timed his run to perfection only to see his goal bound effort bounce back of the post and to safety.

Cheltenham’s approach was via the long ball method and as they rained down into the danger zone big Hugo Rodrigues never looked comfortable dealing with them, or the “clever” veteran Bob Taylor, once of West Brom. He eventually went into the book for a foul on the edge of the box, from which the resulting free kick fortunately bounced of the wall. Taylor was a handful and fell to the ground again, Rodrigues went unpunished but Gary Johnson had seen enough and took off the Portuguese player before he was sent off, not for being in any way malicious but up against the wily Taylor he was walking a tightrope. Paul Terry moved into the right back position, and Adam Lockwood took up the central defensive role in the 4-4-2 formation.

The next fifteen minutes saw Yeovil play the best football of the half, indeed the game. Darren Way had a great run down the left and into the box, he crossed from the by-line to the far post, the ball eventually found Kevin GALL 10 yards out and he hammered the ball into the net to score his first goal since August 16th. Richly deserved for all his work rate of late, and one that would hopefully re-launch his assault on the leading scorers chart.

Yeovil looked like scoring again when Ronnie Bull clipped a fine ball to Darren Way, down the right channel this time, and his powerful strike brought a great save from Shane Higgs who could only parry it to Williams,he really should have hit the target from the same spot as where Gall scored moments earlier.

Into injury time Abdel EL Kholti picked up a booking for flying in on Grant McCann, Gary Johnson questioned the fourth official but he really had no case. Yeovil could have been punished further as from Fyfe’s free kick Victory met the ball sweetly but his bullet header went just over.

Yeovil though, had finally found their line and length so to speak, surely now they would come out into the second half sunshine and produce the kind of football we have become accustomed to, an early goal and then some more was probably Gary Johnson’s instructions.

Half-time: Cheltenham Town 2 Yeovil Town 1

Two changes during the interval, Jake Edwards signed up until the end of the season replaced Kirk Jackson, who if he reclaims his place in the starting line up next week at Oxford, needs to get in where it hurts a bit more, for a big guy he needs to make more of a nuisance of himself and give opposing defenders a bit more to think about. Paul BRAYSON replaced the recipient of El Kholti’s earlier misdemeanour, and if we weren’t punished then, we were 55 seconds later as the substitute finished off Victory’s pass and swept the home side into a 3-1 lead with his very first touch. A goal which blew apart Yeovil’s game plan and completely knocked the wind right out of their sails.

The ascendancy was with Cheltenham now, Yates went down in the box, the ref blew, reached for a card and thankfully showed it to the Cheltenham captain for diving. I would like to see that one again on slow mo, for a minute I thought he had given the penalty, which I have to say, looked the favourite. A minute or so later Roy O’Brien scrambled a goal bound effort away from goal.

Yeovil introduced their 3rd and final sub on the hour mark. Surprisingly Jamie Gosling replaced Ronnie Bull. Not like for like though, Gosling moving out to the right hand side of midfield, EL Kholti dropping back to left back, and Gavin Williams moving up field to form a 4-3-3 pattern. EL Kholti was called into action straight away and a poor back header almost let Cheltenham in, Chris Weale saving to spare the blushes all round.

With more emphasis on attack, and into the final furlong Yeovil pressed, from a corner O’Brien forced Higgs into a great save from his lob outside the box, a minute later he was called into action again, this time Johnson let fly with a great shot from 25 yards. Next to try, with an even better attempt was Williams, who contested Lockwood for Yeovil best player on the day, he rattled a screamer which clattered the bar and deserved to go under it.

As the finishing line approached it was clear this was not going to be Yeovil’s day. The whistle blew and Cheltenham headed off for the winning enclosure.

A 5th defeat then, Yeovil still have plenty of fences to jump, but to get over them safely, and to still be in the chasing pack come May the conference champs need to overcome this inconsistency. Frankly on today’s performance, some of the squad players are not strong enough, whether they develop, or whether the management keep the faith remains to be seen, but on a disappointing day, it got worse, the final scores gave us news of a Mcindoe Hat-trick against a struggling Bristol Rovers side, I never thought I’d say it, but how we could have done with some one like him out their today!

Jeremy Gear

Full-time: Cheltenham Town 3 Yeovil Town 1

MOTM Vote Result:

Player MOTM Score
Darren Way 7 433
Lee Johnson 4 348
Gavin Williams 5 261
Kevin Gall 1 200
Adam Lockwood 2 165
Abdelhalim El Kholti 2 122
Ronnie Bull 1 78
Roy O’Brien 1 70

Overall match rating: 4.6 / 10
Performance: 4
Entertainment: 5.2

23 votes received.