Venue: Sincil Bank
Sat 8th May 2004, 3pm kick-off.
Conditions: Dry, overcast
Ground: Good, firm
Scorers: Adam Stansfield (47, 0-1), Jake Edwards (71, 0-2), Aron Wilford (82, 1-2), Simon Yeo (87, 2-2) Gavin Williams (89, 2-3)
Attendance: 8,154 – including 1,172 Glovers
Referee: Lee Mason (Lancashire)
Assistant Refs: Alan Greaves (South Yorkshire); David Storrie (West Yorkshire).
Yeovil: Johnson (65, foul)
Lincoln City: Fletcher (39, dissent), Bailey (57, foul), Richardson (62, foul) Marriott (86, timewasting)
Yeovil Town : (4-3-3)
13. Steven Collis
16. Andy Lindegaard 12. Hugo Rodrigues 4. Terry Skiverton 2. Adam Lockwood
24. Paul Terry 8. Lee Johnson 6. Darren Way
20. Gavin Williams 9. Kevin Gall 25. Simon Weatherstone
32. Ryan Northmore 7. Adam Stansfield (46, for Gall) 10. Nick Crittenden (59, for Lockwood) 15. Steven Reed 17. Jake Edwards (46, for Weatherstone)
Lincoln City : (5-2-3)
1. Alan Marriott
15. Simon Weaver 14. Matthew Bloomer 4. Ben Futcher 2. Mark Bailey 6. Ben Sedgemore
11. Peter Gain 17. Kevin Ellison
27. Gary Fletcher 28. Marcus Richardson 30. Francis Green
3. Kevin Sandwith 8. Richard Butcher (73, for Sedgemore) 9. Simon Yeo (73, for Green) 19. Dave Wattley 22. Aron Wilford (81, for Richardson)
Badger’s View Of The Game
Gary Johnson’s threat to his players that there would be major shake-ups for the game at Sincil Bank didn’t quite materialise, with just a couple of changes to last week’s team that lined up against Hull City. Perhaps that was in part down to injury – the long line of players that walked around the ground prior to kick-off to a standing ovation from the 1,200 Glovers fans showed just how Yeovil’s squad has been stretched in recent weeks. Colin Pluck and Dani Rodrigues were forced to drop out of the sixteen following last week’s injuries and that meant that Simon Weatherstone partnered Kevin Gall up front, whilst Adam Lockwood switched to a left-back position.
Unsurprisingly the Glovers started the match by taking the game to Lincoln, whose only real object was to avoid a five goal defeat. Hence most of the play was in Lincoln’s half, although with Gall and Weatherstone trying to win the ball against 6’6″ defender Ben Futcher this was not going to be a game to play the ball in the air to the duo. Hugo Rodrigues had clearly been given a free role to move up and down the park as he saw fit, and the Portuguese giant provided the aerial presence that the front duo lacked.
Early chances though largely involved moves outside the penalty box. Simon Weatherstone shot wide after he had exchanged a one-two with Darren Way. Then Way himself tried from 20 yards but without success. Weatherstone got on the end of a great flick-on by Hugo Rodrigues after Kevin Gall had put the ball in the box, but put his chance wide with a dubious linesman’s decision saving his blushes as the Lincoln fans laid into him for daring to once play for their local rivals Boston.
News came through that Northampton had taken the lead at Mansfield, and the Lincoln fans took delight in informing their opposition of the scoreline. Things were at that point very much outside the Glovers control as they sought to break the deadlock.
Lincoln were predictably keeping plenty of men behind the ball and their only real chances of the opening period were from set pieces. Ben Futcher and Marcus Richardson both flicked headers the wrong side of opposite posts but bar that Yeovil were very much in control.
The problem for the Glovers was that of turning control into clear-cut chances. Both Weatherstone and Gall seemed to be a bag of nerves and both scuffed chances that deserved to land in the back of the net. Kevin Gall’s sliced shot after an excellent cross-field pass by Weatherstone summed up the first 45 minutes when he stumbled over the ball seeing his attempt tickle wide of the post.
Lincoln got their best chance of the half just before the teams broke up for the half-time break. Peter Gain’s shot was deflected by Steve Collis and the whole of Sincil Bank seemed to commence celebrations for the opening goal until the ball, seemingly in slow-motion, bobbled wide of the post for a corner.
Half-time: Lincoln City 0 – 0 Yeovil Town
Gary Johnson decided over the break that Gall and Weatherstone were not going to be the men to win the game, and so Adam Stansfield and Jake Edwards got their chance to prove to the boss that they were still worthy of a chance in next season’s squad.
The result had a rather immediate effect with the Glovers grabbing the lead within 60 seconds of the game recommencing. Hugo Rodrigues picked up a loose ball in the penalty box, which Lincoln keeper Alan Marriott could only parry and Adam STANSFIELD made his first touch since coming on count as he bundled the loose ball home to put Yeovil 1-0 up and send 1,200 supporters into delerium.
The Glovers continued to control the game but had a set-back on the hour mark when after releasing a long ball up field, Adam Lockwood was clattered with Lincoln’s Mark Bailey landing a studs up waist high “tackle” straight into Lockwood’s side with the ball now yards away. Somehow referee Mr Mason, who otherwise had a good game, saw this as only worthy of a yellow card. Yeovil’s medics considered it worse and Lockwood was stretchered off, with Nick Crittenden as the immediate replacement.
During the lengthy hold-up, Paul Terry had run across to the Yeovil fans with a signal from the bench. Mansfield had equalised and Terry’s gestures to the supporters were greeted with wild celebrations … heaven only knows what Adam Lockwood was thinking of the noise, given that he was just being loaded up onto his stretcher. Thus we saw the first “invisible goal celebration” ever witnessed at a Yeovil Town match.
The Glovers powered forward on the crest of a wave, and there was little surprise when they extended their lead with 72 minutes gone. Another ball into the penalty box saw Hugo Rodrigues once again win his aerial challenge, and when the loose ball dropped, Jake EDWARDS was the first to pounce and he slammed the ball into the back of the net with the help of the underside of the crossbar, and Mark Bailey, who was stood on the goal-line – ironic given that he shouldn’t have been on the pitch.
Almost immediately, Adam Stansfield could have made it 3-0 when his volley looped over keeper Marriott but landed wide of the target. But then there was confusion both on and off the field. Word was received from the bench that Northampton were 2-1 up, but a couple of minutes later, a shout went out from one of the lower row seats in the away end, and the whole of the Yeovil travelling support jumped up, convinced that it was Mansfield that were 2-1 up! Players revealed afterwards that they presumed the celebrations to be a Mansfield equaliser at 2-2 – having already been made aware of the Northampton goal, and so for five minutes confusion reigned until the Lincoln supporters dutifully informed us all that things were not going to plan at Field Mill. 2-1 to Northampton it definitely was.
Gary Johnson pressed the gamble button and pushed Hugo Rodrigues permanently up front hoping to grab a few late goals to turn the screw on Lincoln, but home manager Keith Alexander, from his banished position in the stands had his own different ideas and sent on Simon Yeo and Arron Wilford to freshen things up. Both were to make significant contributions to the game that rocked Yeovil back on their heels.
First Lincoln broke down the right through Gary Fletcher, whose cross was met by Yeo who shot at goal. Steve Collis parried the ball well but straight into the path of Arron WILFORD who nodded the ball straight back and into an empty net.
Perhaps then, the Glovers should have regrouped and decided to hold out for the 2-1 win but before they could do that, Lincoln delivered what seemed to be a killer blow just three minutes later. Catching Yeovil on the break, Fletcher again did the spadework, this time shooting direct at goal. Once again Steve Collis was equal to the initial shot but could do nothing about the loose ball which Simon YEO tapped into an empty net with the Glovers defence nowhere to be seen.
It seemed as though that would finish Yeovil. Half the team sank to their knees in disbelief, and it seemed like it was all over. But when you’re in a fix, you always produce the joker card and there’s little doubt that Gavin WILLIAMS holds that title within the Glovers playing squad. After Lincoln conceded a foul on Andy Lindegaard out on the right wing, Williams stepped up from 25 yards and showed some coolness and class by slotting the ball into the far corner of the net and through a crowd of players to give the game it’s final twist.
Not even three minutes worth of injury time could allow Lincoln a route back into the game and the only thing the Glovers could do on the final whistle was to wait and hope for a Mansfield equaliser that never came, despite the Field Mill game continuing long beyond the end of the exciting game at Sincil Bank. So near, and yet so far … Yeovil had missed out on a playoff position on goal difference, and just seven points off an automatic spot … that will tell Gary Johnson how marginal the squad improvements may need to be in order to turn this season’s near miss into something to hope for at the start of next season. the squad
Full-time: Lincoln City 2 – 3 Yeovil Town
MOTM Vote Result:
Overall match rating: 8.6 / 10
38 votes received.