Venue: Kassam Stadium
Sat 11th October 2003, 3pm kick-off.
Scorers: Steve Basham (13, 1-0)
Attendance: 6,301 – including 1,331 Glovers fans
Referee: Frazer Stretton (Nottinghamshire)
Assistant Refs: Steve Rubery (Essex) and Stephen Tomlinson (Hampshire)
Yeovil: Williams (83, foul)
Yeovil Town : (4-4-2)
1. Chris Weale
2. Adam Lockwood 4. Terry Skiverton 14. Roy O’Brien 5. Colin Pluck
20. Gavin Williams 8. Lee Johnson 6. Darren Way 10. Nick Crittenden
9. Kevin Gall 18. Kirk Jackson
Subs: 7. Adam Stansfield 12. Hugo Rodrigues (46, for O’Brien) 13. Steven Collis 17. Jake Edwards (60, for Gall) 24. Paul Terry (67, for Way)
1. Andy Woodman 18. Matthew Bound 29. Jon Ashton 21. Paul McCarthy 2. Scott McNiven 27. Paul Wanless 8. James Hunt 12. Dean Whitehead 3. Matthew Robinson 17. Jefferson Louis 23. Steve Basham
Subs: 7. Chris Hackett 19. Daniel Brown 4. Derek Townsley (88, for Basham) 5. Andy Crosby (45, for McCarthy) 11. Mark Rawle (68, for Louis)
Badger’s View Of The Game
Gary Johnson was forced into changes for the Glovers first league match against Oxford United for 41 years, when both clubs were Southern League rivals. Ronnie Bull was out due to a medial ligament injury sustained in training during the week, whilst Hugo Rodrigues lost his place from last week’s game at Cheltenham. Thus Terry Skiverton and Colin Pluck earned recalls, with Pluck taking up the left-back role. Kevin Gall, despite limping off in the Wales U21 match on the previous evening, was a surprise start alongside Kirk Jackson.
One of the Glovers problems so far this season has been that whoever has scored first has won the game this season, and a number of early goals against have contributed to those statistics. The last thing Yeovil needed therefore was to concede an early goal, but it happened once again. There was an element of fortune to the goal as Paul Wanless shot a free-kick on the edge of the area straight into the Yeovil wall, but the ball squeezed behind the wall into the path of Steve BASHAM and the former Southampton striker turned with his back to goal and lashed the ball home from ten yards out, leaving the Glovers 77 minutes to break the pattern that has defined their season so far.
Yeovil’s first chance came 15 minutes into the match as a Lee Johnson throw-in was headed on by Adam Lockwood, and Kirk Jackson’s shot from the edge of the area went a foot wide of the post. But Oxford were dominating the opening period of the match, with direct play into the Glovers penalty box. Matthew Robinson in particular was getting plenty of space from a full-back position and he took advantage of some slack defending to pick up the ball 30 yards out and run at the Yeovil defence, firing a shot just wide. Chris Weale showed the best side of his game when he stopped Steve Basham doubling the lead by tipping a header around the post.
Yeovil gradually weathered the early Oxford storm and after half an hour finally began to impose a bit more of their style on the game. A Lee Johnson free kick was smashed into the Oxford wall, but referee Frazer Stretton really should have pulled up an Oxford defender for blatant encroachment from the wall.
The lack of action by the match referee was infuriating both sides. Whilst he seemed to blow up for what seemed to be fair challenges, others seemed to be let go, such as when an Oxford player almost played leap-frog with Darren Way in an attempt to win a header. The Oxford player’s fall had the home fans screaming for a free kick but Yeovil pointed to Way being held down. The referee chose to take no action at all.
Adam Lockwood forced Andy Woodman to push a header from a corner over the bar as Yeovil finished the half strongly but there was little doubt on the first half of play that Oxford deserved their lead. The Glovers had barely used the wings during the first half, and had been muscled off the ball, by an Oxford side that were cunning in the way that they pushed and jostled their opposition to try and put them off their passing game. In the main, their game plan was succeeding.
Half-time: Oxford United 1 Yeovil Town 0
Just before the break, Roy O’Brien had received lengthy treatment on a knee injury, and he did not return for the start of the second half, being replaced by Hugo Rodrigues. Yeovil were to have the lion’s share of the half, although Rodrigues had to do his bit to keep the scoreline at a single goal – heading the ball off his own goal-line 5 minutes into the half after Chris Weale had moved out of his goal to punch the ball clear. Scott McGiven’s first-time lob saw Hugo in a perfect position to clear under his own crossbar.
Nick Crittenden tested keeper Andy Woodman from 20 yards out, whilst Gavin Williams provided a flicked header from a short right-wing cross, as Yeovil now looked to be in the ascendancy. Kevin Gall made way on the hour mark for Jake Edwards with the Welshman having had one of his quietest games for Yeovil. Presumably Gary Johnson saw height and muscle-power as being more likely to undo Oxford, given Gall’s anonymous showing in the match, perhaps excused by his showing for Wales U21s on the previous night.
Paul Terry was Yeovil’s third substitution when he had to replace Darren Way, who had received a head injury for his sins and required stitching. Adam Stansfield could count himself very unlucky in that he appeared to be the player warming up prior to Way’s head cut. Yeovil continued to press, but their attacks seemed to either result in half-chances or long range optimism. Jake Edwards tried his luck with two strikes from the edge of the area, but both went about a yard wide of the target. For all of the Glovers possession and pressure, there was little there to really frighten Oxford into a panic attack.
For such a physical match, it was slightly surprising that it took 83 minutes to see the first card produced. Gavin Williams brought down Scott McGiven as the right-back made a run up the flank, with the booking probably being justified in that McGiven was in full flight. The Glovers attacks finally fizzled out and despite Terry Skiverton and Adam Lockwood making frequent forward runs in the final five minutes, little was to show of it as Yeovil failed to carve out clear-cut chances; ultimately the reason why they were to come home with nothing for their efforts.
Full-time: Oxford United 1 Yeovil Town 0
MOTM Vote Result:
Overall match rating: 6 / 10
25 votes received.