Venue: Belle Vue
Tuesday 16th September 2003, 7.45pm kick-off.


Scorers: Gavin Williams (35 mins, 0-1),

Attendance: 4,716 (including approx 200 Glovers)

Referee: Kevin Wright (Northamptonshire)
Assistant Refs: Rob Steans (Leicestershire) and Mark Astley (Greater Manchester)

Yeovil: Way (31 mins, unsporting behaviour), Jackson (51 mins, dissent), Johnson (60, unsporting behaviour)
Doncaster: McIndoe (90 mins, unsporting behaviour) Red Card: Fortune-West (79 mins, violent conduct)

Yeovil Town : (4-4-2)
1. Chris Weale
2. Adam Lockwood 14. Roy O’Brien 5. Colin Pluck 11. Ronnie Bull
20. Gavin Williams 8. Lee Johnson 6. Darren Way 10. Nick Crittenden
9. Kevin Gall 18. Kirk Jackson

Subs: 7. Adam Stansfield (81 mins, for Jackson) 13. Steven Collis 12. Hugo Rodrigues (87 mins, for Bull) 23. Jamie Gosling 24. Paul Terry (90 mins, for Crittenden)

Doncaster Rovers: (4-4-2)
1. Andy Warrington
18. Jamie Price 23. Stephen Foster 3. Tim Ryan 17. Chris Beech
7. Francis Tierney 5. John Doolan 20. Paul Green 21. Michael McIndoe
8. Gregg Blundell 14. Leo Fortune-West

Subs: 13. Barry Richardson 4. David Morley (89 mins, for Beech) 9. Paul Barnes (69 mins, for Blundell) 19. Ricky Ravenhill 11. Jamie Paterson (63 mins, for Tierney)

Jeremy Gear’s View Of The Game

Yeovil returned to Belle Vue, a happy hunting ground after a couple of memorable results in the last two seasons, and turned 3 straight defeats into 3 straight victories, firmly cementing themselves in the top four of division 3. If those 3 defeats were the results of jet lag following the opening games heady heights, then the last 3 games have confirmed that the club has acclimatised, consolidated and are more than suitably equipped to take on the best this league can throw at them, rubbishing recent claims by some that play off places were out of reach!

Starting with the same line up and formation as Saturday, for the first fifteen minutes or so Yeovil looked the more lively without really troubling the Doncaster goal. Kevin Gall’s pace had the Donny defence at full stretch and he and Gavin Williams linked well only to be flagged offside from the quick breakaway. Gall then tried his luck from the edge of the box but his powerful shot cleared the crossbar with a foot or two to spare, Nick Crittenden then had a go but his shot, whilst on target, packed no real punch and was easily saved by Warrington, the Doncaster keeper. On 22 minutes Ronnie Bull played a fine through ball into the path of Gall down the left, but the young Welshman, who by now was on fire would have been disappointed that his effort narrowly missed the target as he chipped powerfully over the near post. 2 minutes later his hard work and defending from the front was nearly rewarded as he chased a lost cause forcing keeper Warrington into a hurried clearance on the edge of his box which rebounded straight off the Yeovil striker and rolled the wrong side of the right hand post for a goal kick.

That proved to be the turning point for Donny who then in a 10-minute spell tried to wrestle back the initiative. Ronnie Bull was forced into making a hurried back pass in his own box, but the ball evaded Chris Weale and fortunately no Doncaster striker was alert enough to prod the ball home at the far post and the danger was cleared for a corner.

Yeovil then gave away a free kick 25 yards out, stood over the ball was a certain Scotsman, who up until this point was mainly anonymous from the game. In shiny silver boots and yes, those white sweatbands, he stepped up and hit the target but his shot lacked power and Weale collected with ease. Yeovil conceded 2 or 3 more free kicks in almost identical positions, ironically inviting McIndoe to score, but apart from one “Ronaldinio” like effort that had Chris Weale scrabbling backwards it was evident that he must have left his proper shooting boots back in the Huish Park changing rooms. To be fair though to McIndoe, who looked nervous, and to the Yeovil players any retributions for what ever went on in the summer did not overspill onto the pitch. Both parties should take credit for that… the pre-match instruction surely being that points are more important than cards!

The goal that gave Yeovil the points duly came on 35 minutes. Gavin WILLIAMS latched on to a loose ball on the right, took the ball in his stride and shot powerfully from 15 yards and despatched the ball low into the bottom left hand corner. As the half wore on Doncaster had a couple of strikes at goal themselves, one with venom that Weale did well to stop and recover.

Half-time: Doncaster Rovers 0 Yeovil Town 1

The second half started with Yeovil attacking the end they scored all the goals at last April. They almost, and should have scored the second of the night when Lee Johnson carried the ball out of his own half and fed Gall on the right, Johnson continued his run and picked up the return pass on the edge of the box and could not keep his shot down and it sailed narrowly over the bar.

A mix up on the edge of the box between Adam Lockwood and Weale almost led to Fortune-West scoring, Fortune-West was proving a handful and the back four coped with his aggressive methods well, and nearly always avoided his flailing arms, something the officials seemed to miss too!

By now the pressure was all coming from Doncaster who tried hard to break down a stubborn and resolute Yeovil defence. Colin Pluck won a crunching 50-50 on the edge of the box, but he fell to the floor clutching his right shin and stayed down for some considerable time, luckily, and as if to epitomise the battling performance he was back on again to marshal his defence.

McIndoe was now beginning to look like the player we once knew and he had a purple patch midway through the second half, his best moment being when he beat the defence down the left and whipped a terrific cross in that had Weale beaten all ends up, but like had happened before no one came in at the far post to finish. Fortune-West was then put through by, guess who, and he should have done better with only Weale to beat. On came Paul Barnes, the Conference golden boot winner to try and make the chances count, but to no avail. Gall and Williams linked well again on the break but Warrington made a great save from the former at close range to deflect the ball for a corner.

After 78 minutes, and following another foray into the Yeovil box, the linesman flagged and it seemed an age before the referee stopped play to have a chat with his assistant. It was no surprise then that yet another elbow from Fortune-West had been thrown, but this time spotted, which left Mr Wright little option but to flash a straight red card. Strangely, a chorus of boos were not just aimed at the ref but the home crowd showed their disapproval to their own striker as he left the pitch in disgrace.

Under pressure still, the first Yeovil substitution was made when Adam Stansfield replaced Kirk Jackson. The plan surely to capitalise with his pace on any breakaway, the best chance Yeovil had to increase their lead. A few more scary moments in the last 10 minutes, a melee in the box following a free kick conceded by Pluck, Lockwood gave the ball away again as Yeovil failed continuously to clear their lines. Long high balls were now being pumped into the box, so on came big Hugo Rodrigues to add some much needed height. He replaced Ronnie Bull, Pluck moved to the left.

The game opened up and Donny pushed hard, forcing more corners, Gall broke away and should have scored, shooting straight at the keeper, Yeovil continued to push on but had chances to slow the game by taking the ball into the corners and keeping possession, when they lost it so Donny pushed on, but as happened all night the back four coped.

3 minutes of injury time was signalled and you still felt there was another goal in this game. Paul Terry replaced Nick Crittenden as if to use up more time, eventually Williams got the ball into the corner flag, and eventually after a booking for a foul on him, the ref, at last blew his whistle.

Credit must go to Yeovil for this battling performance, 100% focus on the matter in hand, solid defending against a good side, who luckily never took their chances and enabled the Glovers to keep another clean sheet. It was a great example of holding onto a lead when away from home and under a fair bit of pressure from the home side. It’s another learning curved surpassed and the 200 or so fans will go home comfortable knowing full well that the recent defeats may well have been a strange blessing in disguise?

Jeremy Gear

Full-time: Doncaster Rovers 0 Yeovil Town 1

MOTM Vote Result:

Player MOTM Score
Gavin Williams 6 458
Adam Lockwood 7 408
Colin Pluck 4 275
Kevin Gall 2 150
Ronnie Bull 117
Kirk Jackson 2 108
Chris Weale 2 100
Roy O’Brien 1 100

Overall match rating: 7.4 / 10
Performance: 7.7
Entertainment: 7.1

24 votes received.