Venue: Huish Park
Tues 16th March 2004, 7.45pm kick-off.

Conditions: Cool, dry
Ground: Perfect

Scorers: Ricky Ravenhill (72, 0-1)

Attendance: 7,587 – including approx 600 Doncaster fans

Referee: Mick Fletcher (Worcestershire)
Assistant Refs: Bob Desmond (Wiltshire); Ron Ganfield (Somerset)

Yeovil: Pluck (10, foul), Johnson (53, dissent), Skiverton (75, foul)
Doncaster Rovers: Albrighton (21, unsporting behaviour), Doolan (32, unsporting behaviour), Foster (62, unsporting behaviour), Ravenhill (71, unsporting behaviour), Fortune-West (90, timewasting)

Line Ups

eovil Town : (3-4-1-2)
13. Steven Collis
2. Adam Lockwood 4. Terry Skiverton 5. Colin Pluck
16. Andy Lindegaard 6. Darren Way 8. Lee Johnson 3. Abdelhalim El Kholti
20. Gavin Williams
9. Kevin Gall 18. Kirk Jackson

7. Adam Stansfield (69, for Gall) 12. Hugo Rodrigues 24. Paul Terry 25. Simon Weatherstone 30. Jonathan Sheffield

Doncaster Rovers : (4-4-2)
1. Andy Warrington
30. Dave Mulligan 6. Mark Albrighton 23. Stephen Foster 3. Tim Ryan
16. John Melligan 5. John Doolan 19. Ricky Ravenhill 21. Michael McIndoe
14. Leo Fortune-West 26. Chris Brown

4. David Morley 8. Gregg Blundell (65, for Brown) 10. Adriano Rigoglioso 13. Barry Richardson 20. Paul Green

Robin Evans’ View Of The Game

Last summer when the fixture list was published perhaps four days in March stood out with the visits of the two third division rivals called “Rovers” to Huish Park. The local rivals from Bristol were soundly beaten last Saturday, and tonight former Conference rivals and current league leaders Doncaster looked to prove a sterner test for the Glovers.

The first few minutes of the match saw neither side really dominate, although Yeovil had slightly more possession but no chances. The first real effort on goal was a 7th minute shot by Ricky Ravenhill which went well over the bar. A minute later at the other end Terry Skiverton headed on a free kick, but it was too high for Kirk Jackson who could only glance his attempt well wide.

Colin Pluck received an early booking for bringing down Ricky Ravenhill, and Doncaster earned their first corner. A McIndoe free kick from a little outside the Yeovil penalty area was hit over the bar.

Yeovil earned a free kick for a foul on Adam Lockwood, which Skiverton headed on but Kevin Gall was unable to make a clean contact with the ball.

With nearly 20 minutes gone Kirk Jackson back heeled the ball to Gavin Williams, who charged toward the Doncaster goal. As he approached the area he was brought down by Mark Albrighton with a cynical challenge which should have left Donny with ten men, but for reasons I do not understand Mr Fletcher decided that a yellow card was sufficient for this professional foul by the last defender.

Steve Collis made his first save of the night from a header, and soon followed with stopping a long, weak shot from a fairly quiet McIndoe. With half an hour gone the game had been fairly even with no clear cut chances for either side.

John Doolan found his name in the referee’s notebook for a foul on Kevin Gall when they both jumped for a header. This was one of several fairly hard challenges, and with one or two niggly “off the ball” pushes it seemed that the referee would have step in to take control.

An excellent bit of defensive skill from Abdelhalim El Kholti saw him beat two Doncaster forwards near the corner flag, and clear the ball along the touchline from a position which looked very dangerous.

In added time at the end of the first half Colin Pluck, who had already been booked, was spoken to by the referee after a foul. The half ended with John Melligan shooting wide.

Half-time: Yeovil Town 0 – 0 Doncaster Rovers

Doncaster made the brighter start to the second half, but Gavin Williams responded with a good run although his final ball was a little too heavy and was collected by goalkeeper Andy Warrington.

Lee Johnson was the next player to be booked, apparently for a foul although at the time I had believed his caution to be for dissent. The referee awarded Doncaster a further 10 yards on their free kick, but they were unable to capitalise.

A good ball from Williams put Gall away on the right flank, but his cross was cut out for a corner which was met by the head of Jackson but comfortably saved by Warrington. Donny responded with a long shot from Doolan, but this lacked power and was wide of goal.

Doncaster captain Stephen Foster appeared to stamp on Kevin Gall, and although the incident was missed by the referee his assistant called him over to report. Incredibly, Foster escaped with a yellow card and again Doncaster survived with a full compliment of players.

Just after an hour of play Leo Fortune-West, who failed to impress, got his head to a rare McIndoe cross, but was well wide of target. Soon after Chris Brown broke through the Yeovil ranks, but a superb tackle by El Kholti dispossessed him at the expense of a corner. This was the last effort by Brown as he was replaced by Greg Blundell just a couple of minutes later.

A slip by Andy Lindegaard allowed McIndoe to beat him for probably the first time in the game. His cross was flicked on and found Melligan, but his shot was touched round the post by Collis for a corner.

As the final 20 minutes approached Yeovil withdrew Kevin Gall, who had failed to make much of an impact, and replaced him with Adam Stansfield. During the second half Yeovil had given away too many balls unnecessarily, and were too often second to the loose ball. Doncaster were using their strength to wrestle control of the midfield, and were beginning to look the more dangerous side.

Ricky Ravenhill was booked for a foul on Kirk Jackson, but then went from culprit to hero as he gave Donny the lead. A ball over the Yeovil defence was knocked back, by a player who to be offside from where I was sitting, and the ball fell to Ricky RAVENHILL on the edge of the penalty area and his shot beat the diving Collis. 0 – 1.

Yeovil responded with an immediate attack, and a Gavin Williams corner was headed in by Colin Pluck, but celebrations were short lived as referee Fletcher decided that there had been an infringement, although it appeared that Darren Way had actually been fouled against. With the game now in the last fifteen minutes Skiverton headed a Williams cross, but was off target, and the Yeovil captain was also booked for a challenge on Leo Fortune-West.

In the 79th minute the referee withdrew, presumably because of injury, and one of his assistants took over with fourth official Mr K Fuller now running the line alongside the main stand.

With the man who had failed to send off two Doncaster players for red card offences, and who had disallowed two Yeovil goals – one in each half – now off the field perhaps the Glovers luck would improve? Not so. Colin Pluck was again spoken to after another foul, and then Gavin Williams put the ball in the Doncaster net, but was judged to be offside (as he has been in the first half when he put the ball over Warrington into the goal).

In the four minutes of added time Leo Fortune-West was shown a yellow card for time wasting, and a Yeovil free kick was moved forward 10 yards to near the Doncaster penalty area. For the fourth time in the game the ball finished in the Doncaster net, but the new referee disallowed the goal and ordered that the free kick be retaken. The remaining few seconds were played out without the home side being able to create an equaliser.

Final score: Yeovil Town 0 Doncaster Rovers 1

This was definitely not a vintage Yeovil performance, and credit must go to Doncaster for their closing down and general effort in the second half. However, it is hard to accept defeat with anything approaching good grace when the referee “bottled” it on two clear red card decisions which could have changed the course of the game, and when goals from Gavin Williams and Colin Pluck were disallowed when Williams appeared to be about 3 yards onside when the ball was passed, and when the Pluck goal seemed to be cancelled out because Darren Way was being fouled at the time!

In my view Yeovil did not really play well enough tonight to win the game, but did certainly not deserve to lose it. My Yeovil man of the match would be, in agreement with the Vice Presidents, Andy Lindegaard. Tonight Lindy had the job of marking Michael McIndoe, and Yeovil fans know how dangerous he can be but tonight he was completely ineffective as he was consistently outplayed by the Yeovil man.

Robin Evans

Full-time: Yeovil Town 0 – 1 Doncaster Rovers