Venue: Spotland
Saturday 9th August 2003, 3pm kick-off.


Scorers: Kevin Gall (26 mins, 0-1), Paul Connor (45 mins, 1-1), Lee Johnson (55 mins, 1-2), Kevin Gall (67 mins, 1-3).

Attendance: 4,611 (including approx 2,000 Glovers)

Referee: Mark Warren (West Midlands)

Assistant Refs: Richard Holdsworth (W Yorkshire), Mo Matadar (Lancashire)

Yeovil: Hugo Rodriguez (57, unsporting behaviour), Jamie Gosling (62, dissent).
Rochdale: Simon Grand (17 mins, unsporting behaviour), Chris Shuker (27 mins, unsporting behaviour), Sean McClare (31 mins, unsporting behaviour), Paul Connor (45 mins, dissent), Daryl Burgess (54 mins, unsporting behaviour).

Line up : (3-4-1-2)

1. Chris Weale,
2. Adam Lockwood, 14. Roy O’Brien, 5. Colin Pluck,
23. Jamie Gosling, 8. Lee Johnson, 20. Gavin Williams, 6. Darren Way (capt), 10. Nick Crittenden,
9. Kevin Gall, 18. Kirk Jackson

Subs: 3. Abdelhalim El Kholti (79 mins, for Gosling), 7. Adam Stansfield, 13. Steven Collis, 16. Andy Lindegaard (65 mins, for Williams), 12. Hugo Rodriguez (41 mins, for Pluck)

Rochdale: 13. Matthew Gilks, 2. Wayne Evans, 6. Daryl Burgess, 26. Simon Grand, 3. Michael Simpkins, 7. Leo Bertos, 8. Christopher Beech, 4. Sean McClare, 17. Patrick McCourt, 9. Chris Shuker, 27. Paul Connor,

Subs: 1. Neil Edwards, 15. Robert Betts (71 mins, for Bertos), 19. Kevin Townson, 18. Lee McEvilly (71 mins, for Beech, 10. Matt Doughty (46, for Williams).

Jeremy Gear’s View Of The Game

The best things come to those who wait

When Yeovil Town demolished Doncaster 4-0 back in April the Glovers fans were gifted a very early Christmas present. That present sat tantalisingly under the tree throughout the summer, until today when the green army made its division 3 bow at the tidy Spotland. At 3pm the present was eagerly unwrapped and what popped out was the most wonderful box of tricks.

Gary Johnson’s belief in last seasons squad was evident in the fact that only the captain, Terry Skiverton with a ankle injury, and that left winger were missing from a familiar starting line up. Nick Crittenden started on the left, and Jamie Gosling slotted comfortably into the middle.

12 months ago at Dorchester, against Gravesend and Northfleet, the Glovers went 2-0 down, and this after a good pre-season. I wonder if this was mentioned in the Gaffers pre-match team talk. In Yeovil’s first 20 minutes of league football, they showed no complacency, as good as friendly matches are there is no substitute for the real thing, if anything they looked slightly nervy, if not a little bemused at the way the ball zipped so quickly across the wonderful playing surface. Early pressure from Rochdale forced a number of corners, all dealt with efficiently, but you could sense already that the standard of football one step up was certainly of a higher quality, Johnson and Way had so little time to dwell on the ball in the middle of the park.

As the half crept on Colin Pluck, on the left of the back 3 neatly put Crittenden away, with only the keeper to beat he shot wide of the right post attempting to curl the ball into the top corner.

Little Shuker, Rochdale’s number 9 was looking a tricky opponent and the dangerman, but all his threats were nullified by the superb Lockwood and O’Brien. On 24 minutes the moment we had waited for suddenly came, Gavin Williams down the right, who was having a fine game jinked deep into the Rochdale half before threading the ball through to Silver boots Kevin Gall, who took it in his stride before unleashing a powerful, unstoppable drive into the top left. What price his silver boots turning gold come May?

This gave way to wild celebration in the Perfit stand. The 2000 plus travelling supporters, so vocal throughout went mad. Any suggestion that the hooped design was still controversial can be laid to rest as I’ve never seen so many replica shirts jump up and down!

As the half wore on Yeovil by now had come to terms with their new surroundings, Colin Pluck was substituted, with a back injury, Plucky looked like a player who had missed out on the best part of a pre-season. He was replaced by the new crowd favourite, Hugo Rodrigues, who was unconvincingly good, if you know what I mean.

As the half drew to a close, a bit of slack defending let the lanky Paul Conner through, he slotted the ball home and promptly got himself booked for diving into the crowd. A bad time to concede a goal as the pundits say. It could have been worse as Chris Weale, whose handling was exemplary all day, held on to a goalbound shot low down to his left.

Half-time: Rochdale 1 Yeovil Town 1

The second half started brightly as a mix up in the dale defence gave Gall a half chance, but his lob fell just wide. The pundits were wrong, that late goal didn’t spur on Rochdale as much as it did Yeovil. On 53 minutes a rather harsh decision and an even harsher booking gave the Glovers a free kick some 20 yards out. When Lee Johnson has the ball in these situations, don’t look away, if you did you’ll have missed his goal, as the ball rolled nicely in at the keepers left hand post before he, and his defence was ready.

Gosling and Hugo went into the refs book, who, to be fair had a good game, although you may get a different opinion from the home fans.

By now, the Glovers had carried on where they had left off last term. Their opponents looked to have run out of options, Yeovil’s fitness told as they began to make the ball do the work. Johnson, once again pulled the strings in the middle, and sprayed the ball around with ease. The hugely impressive Gavin Williams was replaced by Andy Lindegaard, and as he strolled of the pitch Gary Johnson gestured to him to get off quick, he obviously saw that another goal was coming and to slow the tempo up would only benefit Rochdale. He’s no mug is Gary, for only two minutes had passed as Kirk Jackson ran powerfully into the penalty box before unselfishly squaring to Kevin Gall who tapped the ball into the gaping net with assurity. The away fans raised the roof with a rendition of “oo ah, it’s a massacre”…. wonderful!

El Kholti replaced Gosling, Crittenden moved into the middle and “Gary” took up his position on the left. He looked on fire, to me he is the natural replacement for the errant Scotsman.

As the game came to its conclusion, Kevin Gall missed a chance for his hat trick as he narrowly lobbed over from 20 yards. The whistle blew and that was that. A super display by all and sundry. It’s very difficult to single out players in a squad like this but Weale, O’Brien, Lockwood, Johnson, Williams and Gall were magnificent, red hot like the conditions.

A fine way to start this campaign then, if you don’t have your ticket for Carlisle yet, go get them quickly, you’re in for a treat, as someone once said “oh I wish it could be Christmas every day”…. Wizard!!!

Jeremy Gear

Full-time: Rochdale 1 Yeovil Town 3

MOTM Vote Result:

Player MOTM Score
Kevin Gall 38 648
Adam Lockwood 27 426
Roy O’Brien 16 297
Lee Johnson 2 119
Kirk Jackson 5 90
Chris Weale 66
Darren Way 35
Hugo Rodrigues 1 24

Overall match rating: 8.7 / 10
Performance: 8.3
Entertainment: 9

91 votes received.