Venue: Huish Park
Sat 27th September 2003, 3.00pm kick-off.

Conditions: Cloudy, mild
Ground: Perfect

Scorers: David Graham (15 mins, 0-1), Jo Kuffour (67 mins, 0-2)

Attendance: 7,718 (including approx 1,500 Torquay fans)

Referee: Iain Williamson (Berkshire)
Assistant Refs: Jon Cordy (South Gloucestershire) and Malcolm West (Cornwall)

Yeovil: None
Torquay: Woods (73 mins, unsporting behaviour)

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

Subs: 7. Adam Stansfield (71 mins, for Jackson) 12. Hugo Rodrigues (57 mins, for Pluck) 13. Steven Collis 23. Jamie Gosling (66, for Bull) 24. Paul Terry.

Torquay United: (4-4-2)
1 Arjan Van Heusen
4 Lee Canoville, 28 Michael Williamson, 18 Steve Woods (C), 17 Brian McGinchey
8 Jason Fowler, 14 Matt Hockley, 6 Alex Russell, 11 Kevin Hill
12 Jo Kuffour, 10 David Graham

Subs: 21. Kevin Dearden 29. Joe Broad (85 mins, for Canoville) 16. Jimmy Benefield 15. Kevin Wills 19. Graham Killoughery

 Robin Evans’ View Of The Game

The first real league derby for Yeovil Town for such a long time. A good crowd from Torquay made the fairly short trip to Huish Park and with both sides starting the day in the top six an interesting encounter was in prospect.

Yeovil started brightly, and Nick Crittenden made the first of his many runs forward in the opening seconds. With just a minute on the clock a clearance from Torquay goalkeeper Van Heusen fell to Kevin Gall a little inside the Torquay half, and the keeper must have breathed a sigh of relief as Gall’s attempted chip sailed just over the bar.

Torquay bounced straight back with a couple of breaks, and David Graham shot across the Yeovil goal as early as the third minute. It was apparent from early on that both he and fellow striker Jo Kuffour could be a bit of a handful, which later proved to be the case.

Good work from Nick Crittenden earned a first corner for the home side after 6 minutes. Lee Johnson took the corner, which Lee Canoville headed away having reached the ball just before Roy O’Brien. A second corner followed almost immediately, which illustrated Yeovil’s early pressure and possession which was counter balanced by Torquay’s quick and dangerous breaking.

A Johnson free kick on 9 minutes found the head of O’Brien, but Van Heusen saved well diving to his right. Good work from Gall on the right saw a good low cross, but no-one was there to finish the move. After a foul on Adam Lockwood another Johnson free kick was again won by O’Brien, and the visiting defence were definitely under pressure.

Just a minute later a ball from the Torquay back four found Jo Kuffour, who beat Crittenden and ran at the stretched Yeovil defence. A perfectly weighted pass left David Graham with only the advancing Weale to beat and he finished clinically to give the Devon side the lead. 0 – 1.

With the Glovers trying to come to terms with going behind Kuffour broke again and ran to the edge of the penalty area, again passing to Graham, who on this occasion shot over.

Yeovil pressed back, with a nod on from Kirk Jackson allowing Gavin Williams to shoot from the edge of the area, but his effort lacked any real power. Ronnie Bull made some useful runs down the left, but was on hand to make a superb defensive tackle on Kuffour in the 25th minute, conceding a corner which Alex Russell took and Chris Weale claimed well. Action at the other end a couple of minutes later saw a Lockwood throw from the right headed on by Jackson towards Gall, but Williamson’s blatant penalty area shove on Gall was missed by the officials.

Yeovil continued to pressurise, and a Crittenden cross played on by Jackson was virtually taken off of Williams’ toe by a defender. With just over half an hour gone a cross from Matt Hockley at the other end was met by Graham with a spectacular overhead kick, which Weale did well to keep out diving low to his right.

A good attacking spell from Torquay was followed by another Yeovil attack which saw a Bull throw crossed by Crittenden, and flicked on by the head of Jackson but to the right of the post. Torquay defended in numbers, but broke quickly in support of the front two.

The 39th minute almost saw a bizarre own goal as a ball from Lockwood was flicked on by Jackson on the edge of the Torquay area. Brian McGinchey thundered the attempted clearance against fellow defender Michael Williamson, and the ball rebounded hard and fast toward the Torquay goal but straight into the hands of a grateful Van Heusen. Torquay returned the ball to the other end, and Weale was twice in action in quick succession firstly diving to the right to keep out a volley and then collecting the ball from the resulting corner.

With half time fast approaching Nick Crittenden broke away on the right, and was held back on the touchline. Referee Mr Williamson spoke to culprit Steve Woods but did not produce a card. In the last good chance of the first period Crittenden put Gall through on the left of the area, and his superb cross was met by Jackson with a powerful and on-target volley, but Van Heusen saved very well from point blank range.

 Half-time: Yeovil Town 0 Torquay United 1

Yeovil needed to start the second half well, but it was Torquay who came racing out of the blocks with an immediate attack. Yeovil soon retaliated, and after some good work Jackson went down in the Torquay area but the ball went to Gall whose shot from the right was stopped by the legs of the seemingly unbeatable Van Heusen for a corner.

After an off the ball incident Mr Williamson called Colin Pluck and Matt Hockley over for a lecture, but did not book either, before restarting with a drop ball,

The Glovers exerted pressure for a while, with Lee Johnson distributing the ball well from midfield. The 50th minute saw a great Gavin Williams run take him through the Torquay defence and into the area, before unleashing a shot which the Torquay glovesman again stopped at close range. A murmur seemed to pass through the home crowd that this just wasn’t going to be Yeovil’s day.

Following more pressure and another corner, good work from Gall allowed Jackson to shoot from the right side of the penalty area but yet again the keeper’s legs separated the ball from the back of the net. Two more corners followed, but in between a collision between Colin Pluck and Torquay captain Steve Woods saw both players on the floor. Pluck left with blood pouring from a nasty looking head wound to be replaced by Hugo Rodrigues. Woods left the field for attention, before returning with his head bandaged.

Rodrigues soon made his presence felt, heading on Johnson’s corner. Throughout the game he would continue to win headers in and around the Torquay penalty area, while Roy O’Brien seemed to be performing a similar task in the Yeovil defence. A good cross from Gall was headed toward goal by Crittenden, but straight into the arms of Van Heusen. Lockwood found Gall, but he shot wide of the target.

In an effort to change the shape of the side and the game Gary Johnson replaced Ronnie Bull with Jamie Gosling. Had the goal a minute later been an equaliser this would have been seen as a masterstroke, but unfortunately it was Torquay who doubled their lead. After some good passing by the visitors, Lee Canoville crossed low across the area from the right and Jo Kuffour flicked the ball with his heel past the helpless Weale. No doubt the Yeovil backroom staff will be concerned over issues of marking, but it has to be said that this was – for the second time in the game – a fine finish. 0 – 2.

With twenty minutes remaining the final Yeovil substitution saw Adam Stansfield come on for Kirk Jackson. With some urgency needed by the home side Crittenden – surely the best player in green and white on the day – ran past two Torquay defenders before being pushed over by Woods, and action which saw the wounded skipper (who was lucky not to have been booked in the first half) also becoming the only player carded in the match.

Another good spell of Yeovil pressure saw a shot from Darren Way tipped over by Van Heusen. From the resulting corner Kuffour broke away, and his shot clipped the outside of the post before the raised flag for offside was spotted. Torquay breaks continued to punctuate the Yeovil attacks, and a fine cross from Kevin Hill narrowly missed the head of an advancing forward.

Into the last ten minutes and Yeovil finally found the net, as a Gavin Williams through ball found Kevin Gall. His initial effort rebounded from the bar, and although he slotted home at the second attempt, celebrations were shortlived as the referee awarded a foul against him for the initial approach.

With five minutes left on the clock Joe Broad returned to Huish Park as an opponent when he replaced the useful Canoville. He nearly saw his new club hit a third as Graham was allowed a shot after a stumble from the otherwise excellent O’Brien, but this time the scorer of the opening goal failed to find the target.

A late flurry saw Rodrigues head straight at the keeper, and then a long ball from Gosling was played on by Gall to Stansfield who was judged offside – one of many such decisions to go against the home side.

In the four minutes of stoppage time Yeovil found the net once more, when Gall’s shot was blocked but the rebound was fired home. I think it was Stansfield who had the final shot, and I think the decision was offside. It may have been another player, and it may have been a foul that was given – all that is certain is that the referee did not allow it.

Final score: Yeovil Town 0 Torquay United 2

A difficult game to summarise as Yeovil did not play badly. Torquay finished very well twice; Yeovil, whether by poor finishing, great goalkeeping, or simple bad luck, didn’t.

I must give credit to our visitors. Torquay played well today, and showed some nice touches and very good finishing. However, to a certain extent I do tend to favour simple luck. As a Glovers fan sitting behind me pointed out on several occasions, when the ball came loose after a Yeovil attack it just seemed to go to a Torquay player; when the ball came loose after a Torquay attack it just seemed to go to a Torquay player. On one notable occasion a visiting defender fired a ‘get it away anywhere’ ball out from the edge of the area. Four Yeovil players were around the centre of the field; one Torquay player was. The ball fell to him.

Robin Evans